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Shouldering the burden

5 September 2010 Leave a comment

Several weeks ago I started having some pain in my right shoulder. It didn’t seem to have been caused by anything. It’s been coming and going to various degrees since then; one of the worst times was on a weekend hiking trip a few weeks ago when I didn’t have much alternative but aggravate it by wearing my backpack.

Shortly after that trip I went to see a doctor about it. The doctor very painfully probed and squeezed my shoulder with his strong fingers. Then he used a couple styluses with needles in the tips, pressing them a short distance apart on various parts of my shoulder and upper arm. When I asked him what he was doing he replied with difficulty (and some help from one of the other clinic staff members) that it was something to do with an electrical current. He said I’d torn a ligament and prescribed me some pills.

In the short term, the treatment reduced the pain, but it came back.

A couple of weeks ago I went to an orthopaedic hospital near where I work. Again, English was a problem, and I couldn’t communicate much more than the fact that I’d had this shoulder pain for a couple of months. I had a series of X-rays, was diagnosed with a sprain and then was prescribed five days of pills (Korean doctors always prescribe handfuls of pills) and physiotherapy.

Habiba has been doing physiotherapy for some time. Her regime consists of lots of physical exercises – stretching, weights and so on. My physiotherapy involves lying on my back doing nothing for 40 minutes. The last four weekdays I went to one particular clinic at the hospital which consists of about ten beds separated into individual booths. I lie for 20 minutes with an electric blanket thing heating my shoulder. Then I have some ultrasound – a nurse daubs the top of my shoulder with jelly and rubs the ultrasound device on the muscle there. Then I have fifteen minutes of electrotherapy. About three little paddles are placed under my shoulder and send pulses of electricity into my muscles, causing them to tense up.

I finished my five-day course of medication and my shoulder is better than it was, but there’s still a tiny bit of discomfort there. I consciously and subconsciously avoid doing things that agravate it – like putting my right hand up behind my back to clean or scratch it, opening doors with my left hand, trying not to carry my computer around too much, doing push-ups.

So far my shoulder hasn’t been a problem, but I’m a little worried that it might get worse again. I suppose I’ll have to continue to avoid aggravating it.

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The new millennium

I logged in to Infinite Probability a few minutes ago to add another word to my Lexicon (clochard; see below) and to mention the World Names Profiler (also see below … slightly less below … in fact, above the previous below … I’d continue describing the post’s location, but it’s beneath me). When I accessed my blog’s dashboard, I noticed that the number of posts was up to exactly one thousand. It only took four years.

Anyway, it means that this post is my 1,003rd. Time for a general update.

Habiba’s father is still in hospital, doing a little better. The most recent worry was his having a bout of arrhythmia. He was also denied a place at their first choice rehabilitation centre – he will apparently need too much medical care, and they’re not set up to provide it. That’s a disappointment, of course, but, in a way, it’s also a sign of his progress. He’s now recovered sufficiently that he can be seriously considered for rehabilitation. Habiba’s mum now needs to find another place to apply to; there are a number to choose from in the general area (New York State/New England). He’s also able to communicate now. His first words, I understand,¬†were about his boat.

I’m not doing too badly at work. Over the past few weeks I’ve redesigned the homework I give to the students so that I have less work to do preparing for the higher level classes. For those, I now let the students do the bulk of the vocabulary work – they have to find their own definitions, basically. Strangely, since I’ve been back in Korea, I’ve had very little proofreading to do. Which is nice. I hate it.

I started writing a new short story yesterday. It’s going pretty well so far – I have over a thousand words down, I’m enjoying writing in the narrator’s voice, I have a clear idea of where the story is going. It’s a first person, present tense narrative, neither of which techniques I use very often. It’s also intended to be more philosophical in tone, something else I don’t go in for much. This philosophicality was inspired by my current reading material, Immortality by Milan Kundera, which I’m enjoying.

Lastly, I’ll briefly mention that it’s Habiba’s birthday in just over a week. Last weekend (speak it quietly, take care she’s not around to overhear) I bought her a couple of presents – of the useful and thoughtful variety. This weekend I need to work on the, um, presentation of said presents. We’re going away the following weekend, so there’ll be no time then for such preparation. Not much time, either, for a party.

That’s all from me, for now.