Exercise Is a Pain in the Neck

I just received a message from the Universe. It read, and I quote, “Sillyliss, stop exercising or you will be DOOMED. DOOOOOOMED.” (Yes, it in fact repeated the word “doomed” with extra O’s for emphasis. The universe can be very dramatic.)

It was Friday morning and I had awakened unexpectedly early. I decided this was The Day to start over. Get more exercise! Eat healthy! Prolong my life!

I went downstairs and hopped aboard the S.S. Tony Gazelle.


Prior to Friday morning, there was no indication I even HAD a neck.

That day I had that pulled-a-muscle feeling. I described it to myself as “the good kind of pain you get from working out.”

The last time I pulled a muscle, it was due to something equally mundane: brushing my hair, age twelve. It wasn’t a fun thing to go through, but I was a pretty resilient tweenager.

Hair Brush Incident

Twelve-year-old me engaging in the dangerous act of hair brushing.

The next morning, Saturday, I woke up and decided to do another Gazelle workout. Go me!

The neck pain was worse on Saturday, but the maximum allowance of ibuprofen provided enough relief to get me through a day full of McDonald’s Playland, grocery shopping, and watching the ducklings play in their turtle pool.

Sunday, I woke up at 4 a.m. I tried to move my head off the pillow and I thought that my head was going to snap off my neck. It hurt to swallow. It hurt to move. It hurt to cry (but I managed to anyway).


I debated my choices: go to the ER now. Or wait five hours until the walk-in clinic opened. Option ER was not a great option, because I did not think I was physically capable of getting into a motor vehicle at that moment.

But by 9 a.m., I was in the line of people who had injured themselves the night before, waiting for the walk-in clinic to open its doors. I believe this may have coincided with the exact moment that a pen exploded in my purse.

I saw the walk-in clinic doctor at 9:05 a.m. My hands were covered in ink. My wallet was covered in ink. My checkbook was covered in ink. And my insurance card was covered in ink, as was the clinic registration lady who asked to see my insurance card.

I was prepared for the walk-in-clinic doctor to tell me that I needed to check in to the adjoining hospital immediately, before my head fell off my body.

Instead, she told me that it could have been much worse, and that I was lucky. She gave me drugs.


The doctor asked if I needed a note for my employer. I told her no, but could I have one for my husband?

The injury is definitely healing. I can now move my neck about 45 degrees looking toward the right. Huge progress. I can even cry now. What a relief.

And I think I’ll take that message the universe is sending me and stop kidding myself with the exercise. I don’t know if exercise and being all “healthy” would actually prolong my life in any meaningful way, if it can also practically kill me with one minute’s worth of using my left arm that has not been used in twenty years.


I have been hovering between reality and dreams for the past 24 hours. It feels really weird and strangely awesome.

I hope I have given Flathead a Father’s Day he won’t soon forget!


3 responses to “Exercise Is a Pain in the Neck

  1. Awww! My poor baby. Wish you were here so I could take care of you!

  2. Hope things are looking up, as can you, by now, with the aid of a little medication. Take care Liss.

  3. Walking is far less dangerous! Hope the neck feels better soon.

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