Medical Tales

In writing my last essay for the semester, I spent an entire day lying on my stomach, in bed, tapping away at my laptop.


I sit at a desk all freaking week at work – so I tend to lie in bed to study. The problem with nutting out most of a 3500 word essay in one day in bed is that you don’t move much because you’re in the zone, writing.


Medical Tales


Basically, what happened is that I have hurt/strained/done something to my shoulder blade that sends shooting pains randomly up and down my arm, shoulder and back, and has done it for about 10 days now. Yay! Super fun happy times!!


I had an appointment with my GP on Monday night to see my sinus CT results (yep, polyps, but controllable for now with new hayfever meds, nasal sprays and steroids in varying circumstances/doses) and I figured that it had been over week of shoulder pain, so I told her about it. She got me to do a bunch of movements that checked it wasn’t broken, then said it was probably muscular, which makes sense. Though I’m also thinking maybe pinched nerve, because the pain is very random and I can’t predict which type of arm movement triggers it. (If it doesn’t improve in a week my GP wants to do scans.)




My GP prescribed me diazepam for the muscle relaxant qualities. I didn’t really look at the script until I was out of the surgery, so I didn’t realise what it was until I was in my car.


Then I remembered when I was in a shit place 18 ish months ago my then GP (who sadly left GP work for a obstetrics position in the local hospital) prescribed it for me so I could deal with stress in order to give my body a change to get a handle on a chronic chest infection (that I had at the same time as low iron, because I’ve fucking lucky, you know?). BUT, in talking about it with my old GP, we realised at the time that I just don’t have enough time at home in a day to take a drug like that. I get up early and leave the house 20-30mins later, which just doesn’t work for a drowsy drug like that, so I never filled the script.


This time around I have filled the script, with a goal to take it on the one day this week that I don’t have to do something in the morning. Hopefully then I will know how/if it effects me. My GP and the pharmacist told me to stay on both ibuprofen and paracetamol all week to help the inflammation and pain.


In the mean time, I’m using deep heat at night (which is WEIRD stuff – kinda cool, but WEIRD) and heat packs at work during the day (because I can’t really apply the deep heat myself very well to my back and it would probably be a bit odd if I was topless and asking colleagues to rub things into my back at work).


Random thought: would it be less odd if you worked in a topless bar, strip club or other such place? Interesting.


ANYWAY, so for now I’m relying on heat and painkillers to try and heal it. Last night I had a semi-decent sleep, which I’ve been struggling with ever since my staycation. The plain old paracetamol and ibuprofen weren’t doing anything for pain last night, so I dug around in our box of drugs at home and found some paracetamol/codeine 15mg. That was better. I still wasn’t pain free by a long shot, but it made the pain a lot more infrequent. And no pain = better sleep. Mild progress!!



Which brings me to today, which needs its own backstory…


A few months ago, nothing over the counter strength was working for period pain. I couldn’t get in to see my GP, so I saw a random guy at a random clinic who basically didn’t give a fuck that I was in pain and effectively told me to go away. (Thanks for nothing, douchebag.) However, I got some really good help at my local Terry White that day, who advised me to swap up the way I took period painkillers to manage it better – naproxen from the first moment you know you have a period (as it intercepts the pain receptors earlier, making it harder to cause pain – or something like that – talk to your own GP or pharmacist about it cos I ain’t no do) and then top it up as needed with paracetamol codeine 15mg tablets.


It was a good suggestion and fucking ridiculous that a damn GP couldn’t help me when a pharmacy assistant gave me such outstanding help. They should swap salaries, because I know who deserves it!


Anyway, last night I took the last of the 15mg codeine tablets for my shoulder, so on my way to work today I stopped by a city Terry White for more of the 15mg codeine and they tried to give me 10mg.




You’d think on their database they could SEE that last time I was in their store and bought naproxen and 15mg codeine together and thought “hmm, maybe she talked to someone then and worked this shit out”.


Then she told me it makes you drowsy and not to go drive a car. I thought this was fantastically ironic, seeing as I want it on me for shoulder pain because the drugs I was given are too strong for me to take…


I actually used to avoid Terry White chemists because I found their pharmacy assistants too know it all (dude, I know my body better than you so if you have a problem, I’ll talk to a pharmacist about it, but not a pharmacy assistant), but our local stores have been really, really good for a while now, so I started going back to them. It seems the city store still has some catching up to do with the judgey side of customer service for over the counter meds.


Ah. The wonderful world of medical tales.


Any “fun” medical stuff happen to you recently? 


4 Replies to “Medical Tales”

  1. Sorry to hear about your shoulder pain! Diazapam is the same as Valium I think. I had no idea it was used as a muscle relaxant. As for period pain – I take Naprogesics and they help me a lot. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed if not for them. Have you tried those? Hope you’re feeling better soon!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Yeah it’s Valium – I’m not that comfortable taking it frankly. Using the deep heat at night has helped an amazing amount though – until yesterday when I got stuck sitting awkwardly on the train home the pain was nearly all gone from my shoulder. So fingers crossed I won’t have to take them – I don’t like taking strong drugs. Naprogesic is the brand name for naproxen.

  2. I was in your position two weeks ago with shingles. I took codeine at night and Disprin during the day. Nothing helped much but at least the codeine gave me four hours of sleep. Have you thought of going to a physio? Don’t even start me on pharmacy assistants.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Thankfully codeine doesn’t make me sleepy, so I can take it during the day. I was thinking physio might need to be a stop along the way, but the Deep Heat at night has really helped with the shoulder.

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