Point & Click | PostIndependent.com

Point & Click

I knew the wild mustang was feisty as I slid my boot into the stirrup and swung my right leg over his back. I was right. The young horse had never been ridden, and he was in no mood to start now. He twirled crazily as he stood on his back legs, pawing the air with his front hooves, tilting me backwards. I could feel myself losing my balance, and before I knew it, I was somersaulting out of my saddle, flipping in the air before crashing head-first onto my neck on the hard ground below.That should have been the story behind my latest, excruciating, pain-in-the-neck saga, but it’s not. The real reason my neck now feels as though I’ve been kicked repeatedly down my upper vertebrae? I leaned over to pick up a T-shirt that had fallen onto our bathroom floor. After 46 years on this planet, I now have occasional times when my back and neck retaliate against me – and sometimes, for no apparent reason. It’s probably because I’ve chalked up a varied array of injuries. I’ve broken a couple ribs in a bicycling accident, and broke my collar bone in another. I fractured my pelvis in a ski accident, and got a pretty severe case of whiplash when my car collided with a five-point bull elk. There have been lots of other misadventures along the way. So how can picking up a T-shirt elicit agonizing pain?If your body is young and unscathed, you have no idea what I’m talking about. But if you’ve put some miles on your bones, you know how those mishaps from the past can catch up with you – when you least expect. Take my T-shirt debacle. It started innocently enough. All I did was reach down when I felt a weird, dull sort of “Ping!” shoot up and down my neck. Immediately, the profanities involuntarily started spewing from my mouth. Because I knew. I knew I was going down. On all fours, I took a breath and exhaled as I struggled to stand up. My entire neck had locked up. I know picking up a T-shirt isn’t what did this to me. It was either the head-on car accident I had when I was in my 20s (the last time, by the way, that I haven’t worn a seat belt; having your head smash through a windshield makes that lesson pretty clear), or the hydroplaning car accident I had when I was in my 30s (when I was wearing my seat belt, but it torqued my neck anyway). Or it could have been the aforementioned bull elk (may he rest in peace). After all that trauma, it probably should not be surprising that my neck wants to mutiny from my body once in awhile. Just a slight little movement was all the camel needed to break its back – or at least seize up my neck. After spending a couple days walking around like Frankenstein (or Frankenstein’s Bride in my case) I got in to see my physical therapist who told me to stop walking around so stiffly. “You gotta move it or lose it,” she said, giving me a list of exercises to do. She’s right. That weekend, I spent one day babying my neck, laying prone with a rolled up towel under it. It hurt all day.The next day, sick of being in pain, I hobbled out of bed and went outside, pretending that my neck didn’t really hurt as much as it did. I lifted and bent and twisted all day. My neck still hurt, but not quite as bad. I sure could have done without my car accidents, but I don’t regret for a minute skiing, river running, riding, bicycling or doing all the other stuff that got my back and neck in the shape they’re in today. Just don’t ask me to pick up a T-shirt off the floor for you. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram (citizentelegram.com) in Rifle. She never goes without health insurance. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, cclick@citizentelegram.

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