I woke up yesterday morning with the kind of muscle cramp in my left shoulder and back that made me actually wander around the house yelling and whimpering until the hot water bottle water boiled. It was miserable. I spent most of the day changing position every five minutes, trying to get comfy.
It was better today, so I trotted off to work. A buddy of mine rubbed the hell out of that shoulder and shoulder blade when I arrived, and it felt still better.
Then, at about 0930, my left arm stopped working. I still have grip and fine motor, but I couldn't raise it, quite suddenly, more than chest-high. And the pain came back.
So, handing off my soon-to-be-discharged patient to another nurse, I trotted off to the local doc-in-a-box, where they keep an outstanding nurse practitioner. He poked and prodded and rotated my arm, and kept asking if things hurt. "Dude," I replied, "everything hurts. I'm just one big ball of hurt."
The differential is this: either I have the mother of all muscle spasms, bad enough to affect the nerves running across my shoulder blade and down my arm, or I have a cervical spine nerve injury.
I'm full of steroids, both fast-acting and long-acting injectable, and muscle relaxants and antiinflammatories. I refused narcotics, on the grounds that they make me stupid and itchy, and I already feel like a retarded orangutan. I have orders not to bend, stretch, twist, lift, squat, or turn my head sharply for a minimum of five days. If I'm not better in three days, it's off to the spine surgeon I go (hi ho, hi ho) for an evaluation of my C5 disc.
There are a number of points arguing for muscle injury and against nerve injury, thank God, and only one cardinal for the nerve alone: the fact that I can't raise my arm without shrugging my shoulder up near my ear. *How* I would've injured a nerve in my neck so acutely is also in question, as the symptoms of C-spine nerve damage don't usually come on overnight.
Still, it's scary. And frustrating. I can't take out my own trash, or lift my own groceries, or do any sort of scrubbing or vacuuming or compost-pile turning or lawn-mowing.
Anybody who wants to come scoop the cat boxes is welcome. You can run the recycling out to the curb while you're at it. And peel me a grape, willya? I have a feeling this is going to be a long three days.