It was 3am. The pain in my left shoulder was finally reaching intolerable levels. I tapped on my wife’s shoulder, trying to gently pull her from sleep. “Help me.”
She tried massage. We tried Advil. We tried a sleeping pill. Finally we decided on the Emergency Room.
She drove me there. We signed in. We were seen immediately. I threw up three times – from pain – before the doctor arrived. We took X-rays, two EKGs, and some blood samples. It turns out I probably had a torn rotator cuff.
But the doctor came back after each test with concern in his face. Your EKG makes it look like you had a minor heart attack. The blood results came back negative on the heart attack, but those yielded their own concerns: diabetes, massive infection, a host of things.
Between my outbursts of pain and those concerning diagnoses, my wife was freaking out. She felt somewhat responsible since she encouraged me earlier in the day to do some burpies and thrusters with her. I finished the exercise with nothing more than acid reflux, but it somehow developed into something worse later that night.
It was finally 5am when I got my Vicodin, anti-inflammatory shot, and realized I probably didn’t have heart failure, diabetes, or a massive infection. I was merely dehydrated and somewhat in shock from the pain of the ordeal. I finally got some sleep and now I’m recovering with a sweet looking sling and some massive ibuprofen pills.
Nothing but an injured shoulder, some injured pride, and a soon injured wallet from the ER bills.
I’m not entirely sure the lesson I learned from this ordeal – perhaps just a bit of perspective. It felt like the worst night of my life when I went through it. But now that’s just a distant memory.
When we go through valleys of pain and hardship, they seem impossible to overcome. But when we’re on the other side of the valley, with proper perspective, we realize things weren’t as bad as they seemed.
Whatever pain you’re enduring right now – no matter what it is – there’s another side to it. Look to that moment, don’t focus on your current circumstances.