I've been having some minor neck and shoulder pain for a couple of weeks. Part of this is that we're buying things for the addition (like cabinets and sinks and garbage disposals) and I am trying to load and unload and lug these things around myself. A few times we've had contractors at the house and I've let them lug things for me, but mostly I'm trying to do it myself. And this renovation thing? I don't know if anyone has told you, BUT IT'S STRESSFUL. Add to it that I'm working on a very physically demanding show at the moment.
Dressing a show is a weird gig. There are shows where you go in, fold laundry, maybe fix a snap or track down a sock, wave at the actors as they go onstage, and then wash laundry at the end of the night.
Then there are the shows where you go in, fold laundry, preset lots of heavy costumes, run nonstop for two hours lifting and carrying and hooking and unhooking and crawling and running and putting wigs on and taking wigs off and then you carry lots of heavy laundry down a flight of stairs and then you do lots of hand-washing and hang heavy things that are now even more heavy because they're WET and, well, those shows are a little more exhausting. Robin Hood is one of those shows. The actors are lovely (really, I've only worked with lovely people, so I am damn lucky) but it's one of the most physically demanding shows I've ever worked.
For those of you who need video or pictures to break up all this text, here's an interesting video of Kelli O'Hara's quick change during the Tonys.
When I got up Sunday morning to get ready for work, I was having a hard time swallowing because of the pain in my neck. But I jumped in the shower to get ready for work anyway. Then I couldn't wash my hair because a) I couldn't raise my left arm above my head and b) the pressure of my right hand applying shampoo to my head was intensely painful. I sent an email to my boss and let Jules take me to urgent care. (which she'd wanted to do on Friday, and on Saturday...) I thought I might have meningitis or that I was having a stroke. But mostly I thought it was lockjaw.
I was pretty sure it was lockjaw.
When I found out it was "just a muscle strain", I wanted to go to work and power through it. Jules was so mad at me. The doctor and the nurse kept telling me they could write me a note and I shouldn't go back for a few days. I kept saying, "You don't understand, it's not that kind of job."
OH THE GUILT.
So we picked up the prescribed muscle relaxers and went to get some food. We had to leave the restaurant because I was in too much pain to swallow. I continued to argue with Jules about whether or not I could make it through a two-show day.
Finally Jules told me that if I wanted to go to work, fine, but she wasn't going to drive me there.
Jules: Just take a muscle relaxer and go home and knit.
Me: I can't knit, it's too painful.
Jules: AND YOU WANTED TO GO TO WORK?!
So we went home. And I processed through the 21 stages of guilt. (I don't know if there are 21 stages of guilt. I think it's more like four stages on repeat.)
Guilt: They can't do it without me.
Fear: What if they find out they CAN do it without me?
Self-loathing: Anyone can do this. You're not that special.
Shame: If you ate better/exercised more/lost weight/drank less, this wouldn't have happened in the first place.
Guilt: now Beverly is going to have to do it. Beverly has too much to do already.
Fear: What if Beverly finds out it's not that hard?
Self-loathing: It's not that hard. You're being a drama queen. Starved for attention much?
Finally I took another muscle relaxer and fell asleep for six hours.
I woke up to an email from Beverly letting me know that the world did not end by virtue of her running my track.
BUT WAIT! Now I'm feeling guilty because if I'd actually admitted to someone how much pain I was in on say, Friday or Saturday, Someone could have shadowed me and it would have been a lot easier for them to take my track on Sunday. Or they could have helped me with the heavy lifting (literally. Some of those costumes weigh at least 30 pounds) and the pain wouldn't have gotten as bad in the first place.
The moral of the story? I guess that I shouldn't be so hard on myself. That it's okay to ask for help. That I don't have to be a martyr to be liked and appreciated and valued.
Jules will tell you that the moral of the story is that she's right, and I'm wrong, and I should listen to her. Don't listen to her, she has an agenda. It involves me being kind to myself, and me making her cookies. Primarily the former, but don't underestimate the cookies.