I sat at coffee this morning with two women (later two more women arrived but by then we'd changed topics). One recently had a stroke and the other, last summer, had her hip replaced. No, I don't hang out with 85 year olds. They're both 50. And I dared to talk about pain for a moment.
Because, see, my jaw? It isn't better after all. It was better, it was. Most of February, if I remember correctly, was pain free. March wasn't 100% but it was ok. I was seeing the cranial-sacral therapist once every two weeks and in between I was taking my vitamin D and probiotic and boswellia (frankincense, an anti-inflammatory that doesn't tear your stomach up). I felt like I was on the road to recovery. It all started with a correction of my bite, which had been wrong for about 10 years, at least. Probably more like 15. Now my teeth come together the right way, but my masseter muscle is inflamed. Things were getting better, and now they are not.
Last Monday, I went to the CST and it didn't go very well because I had to bring Billy with me and he was a spazz. Jumping around, climbing on the table. So we didn't get much done, and I really needed stuff to get done. I can't describe what the CST does, really. It is still truly a mystery but when she does it right, with no Billy running around bumping into her, I am relatively pain free for two weeks or so. It wears off (I get out of alignment, the muscles tense up, whatever), but for a while it is right. I was seeing her once a week. Every other week was showing improvement.
I know that stress aggravates it and it's been stressful around here, even if it's mostly positive stress. We're busy and there are plans being made for the future and it's stressful. I have to figure that stress plus a mediocre visit to the CST is the source of the current pain.
It's distracting. I've torn leg muscles and broken a collarbone in the past, and, for that matter, had three c-sections. I'm not saying this pain is worse than those, but it is more distracting. When it starts to hurt, I can't think about anything else. I sit in a chair like a zombie and try to relax. The past few days, that hasn't worked. I've taken the ibuprofen I've been trying to avoid and count my blessings that it works. Then last night the ibuprofen didn't work, but the suggestion was made that I take a "big shot of something hard" and so, like the ad for Ozark Airlines, three swallows got me there. It was stunning. The idea that ALL OF THE PAIN was inflammation and cured by alcohol. It was like I'd never hurt at all.
Now, with my family history and, well, the fact that I have kids and hopefully one day a JOB, I can't go around self-medicating with bourbon. And I won't. I'm going back to the CST on Monday, making a phone call to my general practice doctor to see if there's anything else I can try, going on a mostly soft foods diet, not yawning, not fiddling with that muscle when it's inflamed, sleeping without a pillow, all of it.
So, it's just to say that if I say "no" to you in the near future? Don't take it personally. This evening I talked with a friend briefly about some of the stress in my life and how I'm obviously not handling it, and he reminded me that I really need to find some balance. That's not a quote. He didn't just say that. But that was the gist of it. This inflamed jaw muscle is like the frayed part of an old electric cord, just waiting to start a fire. Even though there was a precipitating event back in October, it's been a long time in coming.
So I'm going to go take some pain medication, hope the CST calls me back and can fit me in ASAP, and go to sleep.