Thursday, May 29, 2008
My Left Everything
Everyone has a dominant side of his/her body. Left or right. Even those with the most physical skills and strong proprioceptive sense, such as dancers and athletes, must coach and coax the sides of their bodies that aren't as willing to play.
My left side is not strong. In 1984, I was working as a waitress and lifted a large tray of food onto my left shoulder (I knew it was too heavy for me at the time). I felt something in my neck/back go, "SPRONG" and I was shot with pain immediately. I had no insurance or money, my parents lived out of state and would not pay for me to go to the doctor, and so for a month I lived and worked in intense pain, mitigated only mildly by a medication that had just arrived over-the-counter, Motrin. I've had many flare-ups of this since then.
In 1989, I was T-boned on the left side of my car at the intersection of Mopac and Lake Austin Blvd. The driver was a personal injury lawyer who drove a gold Porsche. He's still around. He admitted guilt on the spot and avoided a ticket. Actually, he did everything he could for me, short of buying me a new car (which is what I needed, broke-ass as I was). I had a sprained neck, very stiff and sore, but otherwise I didn't think I was hurt. Everyone said at the time that I should have sued the guy, but I knew I was too unsophisticated, poor, and without status to have prevailed in litigation against this man.
Through the years, my condition did not improve, especially on my left side. In about 2003 I sought the help of another doctor, Dr. Jerk. Jerk had just come from attending a press conference, where he'd been interviewed as though he were a movie star about his role in saving the life and body of a prominent sports coach who'd been in a terrible automobile accident. Jerk thought a lot of himself. He sent me to six lame-ass sessions of McPhysical Therapy and when I did not get better, he was ready to inject my muscles with something that would maim them and not bother me anymore. Obviously, I refused. I have been to two more physical therapists for this condition and I am back in treatment (and pain) again.
In about 2002, I had been in a NIA class (something I cannot do with a straight face now) and shortly after, my left knee gave out from under me. It was determined that I had a "tear in the anterior horn of the lateral meniscus,"and I went into PT for that. It's still not as strong as it should be. At that same time I entered Feldenkrais, and that's where I learned that I don't engage the left side of my body as I should, I don't get as much input or feeling into it. I just sort of drag it along, and that's why I got hurt.
When I was nursing, I developed a infection in —where else?— the left breast. I had the problem for at least a month before I realized it was not going away.
So I suppose I was not terribly surprised when my left breast came under attack in December 2007, and here were are today.