Friday evening, I was supposed to attend a chamber music concert in Ann Arbor, one of the concerts in my University Musical Society subscription series. I left my house a few minutes after I ideally should have, which, combined with my decision to stop by my bank's ATM, triggered a butterfly effect of events which ended with me, 30 minutes later, back at home and sitting on my sofa.
What happened was this: I left the house, got some cash, then attempted to enter the highway at the nearby interchange. Too late, I saw that he ramps were blocked by a congregation of emergency and law enforcement vehicles. I saw a couple of cars that were badly damaged, one facing the wrong way on the on-ramp. Clearly something major had occurred, and not long before, since a police car pulled up to the accident scene as I drove by. My intended route was not an option, so I elected to travel south until I reached a certain east-west road, then travel it eastward until I found the northbound road which would take me to the next highway interchange.
I rarely get lost, because I rely on my sense of cardinal direction and the "map in my head"...but Friday evening I found myself driving around for fifteen minutes on pitch-black barely-plowed roads I had never heard of with only a vague knowledge of their layout, until I finally reached the one I had been looking for, the one that would take me north to the highway, and I saw the glimmer of lights through the trees, but as I closed in on my goal I looked at the clock and knew I was horribly behind schedule. I should have been off the highway in Ann Arbor and heading for the parking garage, and I was still bumbling around on country roads three miles from my house. Irritated, frustrated, and defeated, I yelled, "SCREW THIS!" When I finally
reached the main road, I drove back to my house, put on my pajamas, made myself a drink and called the Engineer. Then I watched the DVD of the fourth season of "Oz" which had arrived that afternoon from Netflix.
Saturday morning, 6:30: I attempted to roll over in bed and instead of executing this motion smoothly and without incident as I had for the previous 1,000 times I rolled over in bed, I failed to move my head at the precise moment required and a horrible wet crunching ripping sound (I described it to the Engineer as "like crushing a wad of celery") reverberated through my neck and skull. A searing bolt of pain flashed through my neck and I screamed. I laid there, panting, and my first thought was, "Did I just break my neck? Is that even possible?" I wiggled my toes and fingers. OK, so, no damage to vertebrae, all extremities appeared to function normally. I tried to move.
That didn't work so well. I could feel heat spreading up my neck and over my shoulder and I knew I had to take some ibuprofen and get an ice bag on it ASAP. I held my head with one hand and gingerly rolled over, swinging my feet to the floor, stabbing pain accompanying me the whole way. I took the pills and got the ice bag and laid back down, groaning. I dozed for a while, woke up, briefly contemplated trying to do my run, shifted the wrong way, yelled in pain, ditched the running idea, dozed off again, and finally got up around 10:30 with no idea what I was going to do all day.
What I did Saturday was what I did all day Sunday: sat around in comfortable clothes with various combinations of cats on my lap or next to me, watching copious amounts of TV and aimlessly munching through all the snacks in my house. There was also beer, since my emergency WHITE DEATH! 2011 supply was not gone yet. Oh yes, and the constant, comforting presence of either the ice bag or my hot corn bag on my neck. I powered through the entire first and half of the second seasons of "Flight of the Conchords," watched three movies, read all my backlogged New Yorkers, and tried to move my head as little as possible. When the beer supply dwindled on Sunday to one bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout, I switched to hot Irish whiskies. A weekend trapped indoors is a little more bearable with a (hearty) shot of Jameson, hot water, a lemon slice, whole cloves, and sugar. Especially when you have, like, five of them.
I was going to run the Super 5K in Novi Sunday morning, but after a restless and uncomfortable night spent shifting endlessly trying to find the elusive configuration of arm, shoulder, and neck that would allow me to fall asleep without too much pain, I decided it wasn't meant to be. I still had to support my head with a free hand if I wanted to get out of bed; how on earth was I going to drive 80 miles to and from the race, much less go running?
I'm feeling good enough that I will most likely go running tomorrow as planned (3 miles). Saturday and Sunday were the first runs I've missed on my current training schedule, and the inactivity is grating on me. That and the massive amounts of carbohydrates I consumed over the weekend have left me feeling sloppy and sluggish. Enough is enough.