I am almost afraid to announce that I actually had an entire planning period all to myself today. I got to make seating charts! I got to grade papers! I got to make copies! Oh, will the joy never cease? The good news is that I shouldn’t have to cover any more classes this week after Friday’s incident involving our new (to me, as she came while I was on leave) assistant principal and our blubbering secretary, She Who Cries Over Everything. You see, when SWCOE asked me to cover my 2nd class of the week on Thursday, I’m afraid I wasn’t nice about it. I’m afraid I might have had a…strong…reaction. So on Friday morning when my classroom phone rang before class and I saw it was New Assistant (that’s right, kids–caller ID in the classroom!), I knew what she was going to say before I said “hello.” I was right.

It seems SWCOE needed someone to cover a class, and since I am one of three people with 1st period planning, I was up yet again. I should note here that our county has a sophisticated automated substitute calling system that, in theory, is wonderful and easy to use. In reality, however, it is very ineffective because it’s very easy to hang up on an automated voice, and not at all rude. But hanging up on a real person is frowned upon, so when no subs pick up the jobs it falls to SWCOE to secure class coverage from teachers on the day of the absence, and what are we supposed to say to her? I’m telling you, she cries. Often. And a lot. When asked recently why she didn’t spend her time calling SUBS instead of teachers, she replied, just before she burst into tears, “It’s not my responsibility to find a sub. The teacher is supposed to do that.” Indeed. So that’s why she spends every morning asking teachers to be subs. Rocket science, I tell you!

Anyway, after my response the day before, SWCOE apparently didn’t want to do the asking, so I suppose she told on me, because I received a cheery call from New Assistant explaining that my services were needed, and that they wouldn’t call on me the following week, and that they would give me trade time in exchange for covering the classes, to be used on the upcoming April 3 teacher workday. Here’s a newsflash for you idiots: what with all the planning time I’m losing thanks to my unexpected new job as an unpaid sub, and since the last 11 years of my professional life are mildewing into oblivion in the School Formerly Known as _____, I HAVE TO COME TO WORK ON THE WORKDAY ANYWAY!

But that’s not what I meant to talk about here. I meant to talk about how I haven’t been posting much lately because my left shoulder feels like a nest of tiny black ants has built its kingdom inside the muscle at the base of my neck and are traveling with some frequency down to the tips of my fingers to search for food. Seriously, I think there is something bad wrong with my shoulder, people. I would love to blame work, but it was acting up some before last week. Work just made it worse. What made it in the first place, I’m sorry to say, was Mia. I hold, feed, carry, and otherwise support her with my left arm and shoulder, and before some brilliant person suggests I switch sides, really, don’t you think I’ve thought of that? Yes, and I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work. I’m right-handed, so if I’m holding her in my right arm and balancing the bottle with my chin, my left hand simply isn’t dexterous enough to simultaneously flip channels, pop the Natty Light caps,* keep my Camels lit AND work my Fantasy Nascar pool on the internet.

Sadly, someone will read that last sentence and exclaim, “OH MY GOD, SHE’S BOTTLE FEEDING THAT POOR BABY!” and to those people I say, “Let’s focus on what’s important here! There are insects inside my shoulder!” I could almost deal with pain. Pain I understand. This is not pain. This is…I don’t know what this is. Tension? Tightness? Gradual destruction of my nerve endings? Please, somebody suggest a remedy–I have tried everything. Ibuprofen. Ben-gay. Alcohol. Crack. Even my beloved yoga doesn’t work–stretching just makes the ants angry, and holding a pose is impossible, what with the CONSTANT CRAWLING FEELING, MY GOD THE CRAWLING.

I almost didn’t mention this here, lest you all think I have completely lost my mind, but then I remembered that between the lot of us we’ve pretty much seen it all, and someone will pipe up and exclaim, “Ohhhhh, yeeeaahhh, the ANTS. Here’s what you do.” Yeah. You. I’m waiting.

Meanwhile, I’ve made an appointment to have a nice long massage. On that April 3rd teacher workday. Because God forbid I actually get any work done AT WORK. I guess I’ll have to call in sick to accomplish that feat. Gee, I hope I can get a sub.

*Megan, I threw that one in JUST for you. And in case the rest of you were wondering, I don’t really do crack, smoke Camels, or play Fantasy Nascar. But the baby bottles? Those are real, and if you want to give me shit for that, may a million ants take up residence in YOUR shoulder.

4 thoughts on “Sub-terranean

  1. ok. Does it hurt worse when you extend your arm? I don’t know if I’m explaining this right. Ok, it sounds similar to two different problems that I’ve had in the past. It sounds like you have a muscle that’s grown because of the increased use of your left arm (the weaker arm). The muscle is most likely pressing on a nerve and that’s why the problem’s in your shoulder but the ants are marching down your hand. Massages should help get you to the point where you can stretch it out and the yoga can help. I’d keep up with the ibuprofen to reduce the swelling, and I’d apply ice to the shoulder when you can (get one of those shoulder ice packs with the velcro to hold it in place).

    You might also want to go see a chiropractor… a bone in your shoulder/neck could be out of alignment (either instead of the above-mentioned problem or in addition to) and pressing on the nerve. In fact, Kristin’s chiropractor has a lisenced massage therapist in the office… if you could get a chiropractic adjustment and then go get a massage, that’s all the better.

    finally, it also sounds a bit like the one time the ligaments in my shoulder got all weirdly tight (from factory work… imagine, the thought my left arm should work as hard as my right!)… the massage therapist did some weird stretching thing to the ligaments in my shoulder and I could feel the ants and tightness ease in my fingers.

    To sum up: get thee to a chiropractor and massage therapist pronto!

    And if anyone gives you crap about the bottle… send them to my disseratation on possible reasons not to breastfeed that aren’t any of anyone else’s business as an example of why no one should ever give anyone any crap about how they feed their child. (not that you have the same reasons as I do, but it’ll get the point across plus it’ll take them about 10 hours to plow through that whole series…)

  2. just a note to say I am sorry work sucks so much…and man, those ants! hopefully the pp suggestions will work!

    and anyone who gives you shit about bottle feeding has too may opinions. just ignore them. you know what’s best for all of you, better than any internet!

  3. Don’t know about the ants; your kid=your choice on feeding; but I do wonder if you’ve tried a sling?

    It frees up both your hands – I can do a lot more while holding Natalie (who has evolved into a barnacle baby of late) if she’s in a sling than if I am just holding her with my arm(s). And it takes some of the strain off your arm. It probably switches it to the other shoulder, but maybe that would help in your case?

    There are a million kinds of slings and we’ve tried most of them. We’d be happy to consult/give suggestions/lend you a sling to try if you want.

    Whatever you do, I hope it gets better soon.

  4. Oh, how I know the ants. Only I call them worms. And they are everywhere on a bad fibro day.

    Aaaaaand… I’ve got nothin’ for you on making them better. Flexeril helped a lot. It’s a muscle-relaxant. You should probably keep trying the Ibuprofen before you pull out such big guns, though. I agree with the chiro/massage recommendations to start.

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