Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Neck Injury

When I was in college, I overextended a muscle in my neck. I was doing something so foolish, so extreme, that I deserved the vicious pain that followed.

I was getting out of bed.

More specifically, my loft. Getting out of a loft bed is much more strenuous than getting out of a normal bed, just so you know. It involves turning over with exact precision so as not to fall on the floor from six feet up, finding a ladder with only your feet because it's too dark and you can't turn on the light to wake up your roommates, and then positioning your body accurately over the ladder, again so as not to fall from your six-foot-tall bed.

I know, I know. You can't believe I endured such a wretched situation. But I lived to tell about it.

That one particular day, I turned over and got ready to hoist myself out of bed and toward the ladder when I felt a snap in my neck. The next thing I knew, I couldn't move my neck or head without excruciating pain. So I made my way, very carefully, down the ladder and called the campus health clinic. I canceled my morning classes and made my way to the clinic.

My car was parked in the dreaded F-lot. If you lived in any of the south campus dorms, you know that F-lot was where all cars went to die, or at least hibernate for all of the semester, because it was much easier to walk anywhere, including Detroit, than to retrieve your car from F-lot. Even if I had been able to retrieve my car, I would have had no place to park, since MSU has about 27 total parking spaces for a campus that serves 50,000 students.

In short, I walked many, many miles that day, with my head held high, and not because I felt proud. I just couldn't move. I arrived only to have the doctor tell me that I had pulled a muscle. He gave me a soft cervical collar, and probably some heavy-duty pain meds and sent me on my way.

The most embarrassing part of all this was that, during dinner in my dorm's dining hall, I was swarmed by concerned friends all asking, “What happened? Did you get in a car accident?” Imagine my embarrassment if I had told them I had sustained the injury by getting out of bed. So my response was, “Yes, it was horrible. Ambulances and fire trucks everywhere. My car was totaled.” At least I didn't have to worry about them discovering that my car was, in fact, still intact.

It was still parked in F-lot.


  1. I used to be a floppy sleeper and often ended up with my neck in a bind by the next morning. a literal pain in the neck. fortunately I'm a slightly more sedate sleeper now and haven't cranked it in a couple years .... but I never got a brace or even good drugs, doc made me tough it out with over the counter solutions.

    1. I stole one of my kids "koosh" neck pillows, and it works wonders for me!

  2. We could do a routine. I sustained a neck injury drying my hair. Yes. I had long hair and occasionally dried it (if I wanted volume) by doing a rowdy version of toe touches and flinging my hair about. Well, this day (when I was seriously 10 months pregnant) I must have flung things too far in some direction and was immediately in AGONIZING can't-bear-to-move pain. To my amazement when my husband called the MSU Family Practice, the doctor MADE A HOUSE CALL. I was amazed, too; this was in modern times. The doctor who turned up, turned out to be an osteopath. She so, so gently asked me to stand up, then she put her hands on my back and neck, asked me to make some movement and - VOILA! I was cured, entirely, totally cured. It was the most extraordinary experience!

    I think I would have balked at wearing one of those braces (certainly going out in it), but the meds would have been welcome. :)


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