I’m writing this in excruciating pain.
Which is why I’ll try to keep it short.
For the last year I’ve been experiencing sometimes severe upper back pain, mostly just under my left shoulder blade, and on bad days (like today) creeping up into my neck. And before you start telling me I’m having a heart attack, ask yourself (because you know I have!): Can you have a heart attack a little at a time four to seven days a week for a year? Also, can you stretch and make a heart attack feel better? Do heart attacks respond to Icy Hot?
The fact that I’m still alive seems to indicate I have some kind of muscle problem, which has been sort of confirmed by two doctors.
There are a few possible causes for this, but I think I may have narrowed down one of the biggest reasons—at least the biggest reason it hasn’t gotten any better.
This is me, sitting at my desk, a photo taken literally minutes ago:
First, note the furrowed brow. This is what someone who’s been in pain long enough to just be angry about it looks like. Remember that face for a character who’s been experiencing chronic pain for a year so you can show us that rather than tell us!
But really what we’re looking at here is my left shoulder. See how it’s significantly higher than my right shoulder? I’m leaning most of my (considerable) weight on my left elbow, resting on the slightly too-low arm of my cheap desk chair. I will sit like this for hours at a time, not the slightest bit conscious of how that’s curving my spine.
Lately I’ve been trying to sit more like this:
But even as I was tying that last paragraph I realized I was slumped to the left.
Okay, so writing isn’t exactly Alaskan crab fishing in terms of risk of injury, but here I am, wading through multiple deadlines, and seriously considering taking the rest of the afternoon off because it literally hurts to do what is, physically speaking, the least strenuous job any human can have . . . unless there’s such a thing as a professional sleeper.
Take care of yourselves, writers (and editors)! If not, you might end up with a half-assed blog post like this right after hearing that Writer’s Digest magazine just named you one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers.
That would be poor timing.