When I am "haunting" I have a lot of time to think at the beginning of the evening. Between makeup and getting into costume, waiting for the pre-haunt meeting and (being at the back of the house) waiting for the first groups to get from the front door to my room and then in between groups. Yes, there are ambient noises but having spent as many years working in bars/nightclubs as I did- I can easily tune them out and almost meditate. Unfortunately- I have not mastered meditation so my brain wanders all over the place- especially when I suck down two extra large coffees and already have a lot on my mind.
As I was waiting this evening I was stretching a little and my arm did its "lets go numb" thing. It instantly irritated me because frankly- regularly losing my strength and distinct tingling from my shoulders to my finger tips is getting old. I shook it off after a few minutes and went back to "work". A little while later it happened again and again and my frustration with it rose higher and higher. About two and a half hours into the night we were back from a break and the tingling started to spread down my arm once again. This time however was a little different. I was relaxed from my break (and sucking back another coffee) and my end of the house was silent. I was thinking about the herniated disc that's causing this problem and its counterpart in my lumbar vertebrae. I considered that I have been battling lower back pain from the bad lumbar discs for many, many years now and this "falling asleep" thing in my upper body was fairly new. Rather than instant frustration a quiet thought slipped in. "At least it's not pain".
I actually jerked upright and took a step back for a second. As the arm hung there in a full-on pins and needles state the light bulb came on and the thought seemed louder. At least it's not pain. I live with pain every single day. Fingers, toes, hands, feet, knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, back. Not always at once, usually bilaterally but not a day goes by that there's not some kind of pain. The more I thought about this niggling little revelation I realized that the reason I have been so frustrated by this is not just that my body is falling apart. I've been fighting pain and stiffness and loss of strength in my body daily for over 9 years now. I know how to deal with the pain. I know how to medicate it, to compartmentalize it, to function with and through it and to give the stiffness time to work its way out so I can go about my day.
No, the frustration comes because I don't yet know how to deal with this development. What's really interesting is that while I was thinking this through, it came to me that this has been going on for longer than I wanted to think about. I remembered talking to my sister over a year ago on several different occasions when I would be driving along and both my arm and my leg would go numb! It's one of the things that I told the chiropractor at my early appointments and that's how we found of what rough shape my back was in. It was an occasional thing and I thought it was more funny than irritating at the time but it was there. When it clicked it was a "WOW" moment for me. I pay a lot of attention to what my body is doing but this must have slipped by me until it got to the reached that that it was happening all too often to ignore. At least it's not more pain. I can live with this now, at least for the time being. I will eventually have to decide if I can live with it long term or if I can take the time off that I will need to repair this latest insult to my body. In the meantime, I have that thought to give me some peace of mind about the whole situation. Now I know it could be worse. With that I can get some rest.