The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Pain in the Neck

Literally. Well, it’s more the neck and shoulder. It has been with me since we got off the plane (over a month ago) and has become my constant companion here in Malaysia. At first, I just thought that I had slept funny on the plane, and would just need to ice it for a few days.  Ummm…not so much. After icing it didn’t seem to do the trick, I widen my treatment plans with a massage, heat plasters, (think ben gay with an asian twist-yummy!) resting it, stretching it, exercising it, all with no results. It didn’t get any worse, just a constant dull pain that would get worse as the day went on and left me feeling horrible. Finally, when the pain became too unbearable, I went to the doctor.

She said I needed an MRI. Fine, whatever, just make it better. In the meantime, she gave me some pain killers to help me get through the day. And the pain killers were awesome! They didn’t make me tired or sleepy or loopy, but my muscles relaxed and there wasn’t the constant throbbing of pain! Yippee! I felt like myself again and life was so much better when I was myself again! Then, after about two days, they stopped working. Yup, party over.

Meanwhile, I had the MRI and learned a little about the medical insurance game in Malaysia. FYI: You pay for everything up front, from what I can figure out, but like many things here, it’s not all that clear. Results for MRI come back the next week and I was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis at C3, C4, C6, and C7 levels. Hmmm…going to have to google that one. But she referred me to a chiropractor. Good, I know about chiropractors and have gone to one for many years. Perfect. So, I went and really liked the guy, but it turns out that our insurance doesn’t cover chiropractors in any shape or form, so at RM$280 (about $90 US) that wasn’t going to be happening several times a week, if I could help it.

But I did find out that our insurance covers physical therapy, so decided to give that a try. Again, learning more about medical insurance, I had to go back to the doctor and ask them to write a letter saying that I needed physiotheropy, which in Malay time took a few days.  We don’t have a car, so I have to walk (about 20 minutes) or take a cab over there (about $2-3 US), which is fine and I don’t mind walking at all, you just get sweaty to the max and the usual stares from the locals, which is also fine. I would stare at me too.

As of today, I have been to the PT about 10 times in a week and a half. But, honestly, I don’t know if she is doing any good or not. I know it takes time to fix these kind of things and I don’t want to give up too early, but I feel like I should feel a little better at least, right?  Her goal is to strengthen my neck/shoulder muscles, along with my core, (I think -slightly language barrier) which sound like a great plan.  My body does feel sore, and might be on the road to getting stronger, but my neck pain is still there. And, it just makes me grumpy, ornery, and not very much fun to be around, to be honest. It’s hard to do anything because it always hurts and there is no getting away from it. And, as long as we are being honest, it isn’t very fun to have chronic pain in your home country. Having it in another country…well, it’s right up there with going to the OBGyn or cleaning the toilets in a prison in my book. Just being honest.

So, if you don’t see any posts or emails from me for a while, I haven’t suffered an awful fate or anything like that. Neck pain with a little homesickness thrown in for good measure, is about where I am at these days. I’m sure it will get better and I will be back to my super fun self doing super fun things pretty soon. Stay tuned. 🙂

A few of these always makes things better, right?! We found a Mexican place with great frozen margaritas in KL! Now, if we can just get them to deliver to our condo....


8 responses

  1. Dennis

    Sorry to hear about your neck. Will be hoping and praying that you get better quick!
    Love you guys,

    September 5, 2010 at 2:19 PM

  2. Emily


    Thanks for giving us an update. I am sorry that you are having to go through all the pain and uncertainty. I hope things get better soon. We love you and are thinking of you. My prayers are with you also. Let us know when things get better.


    September 5, 2010 at 2:38 PM

  3. B


    You’re at the top of my Worry List. Will you laugh if I say “Neck shmeck”? Just want you to know I’m thinking of you and hoping you feel better soon. One good phing…no Labor Day 10K for either of us. XOXO

    September 5, 2010 at 9:27 PM

  4. Jenny

    Thanks everybody for all the well wishes! I know it will get better, I just want to feel better now! Impatient, much?!

    Babs-I did totally laugh when you said “Neck Schmeck,” so that was awesome! Thanks for pointing out the one good phing too. I’m never running that race again!!! (Although it did provide hours of talking time for us!) Miss you all and have a good Labor Day!

    September 6, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    • B

      Janie, miss you more!!

      Felt very happy sleeping in this morning.
      One good phing about Labor Day…chicken biscuits @ Chik-fil-a…buy one get one free.

      D. Why didn’t you run the Labor Day Wall of China Race yesterday??

      September 6, 2010 at 11:32 PM

  5. Dennis

    J You mean you are not running the Malay Labor Day 10K up the side of the mountain??!! Sad. Although that Atlanta race is the least favorite.
    B you should be running that one for sure!

    September 6, 2010 at 12:34 AM

  6. Casey Ward

    Awwww feel better!

    I didn’t know going to the OBGyn and cleaning prison toliets were on the same level of crappiness…..haha.

    I’ve enjoyed reading all your posts!

    Life in Alpharetta is pretty normal – I have my official visit to Yale this weekend and then my visit to UPenn next weekend! I’ll be sure to let you guys know how they go!!

    September 7, 2010 at 2:01 AM

    • Congrats on your decision to become a Princeton Tiger, Casey! You’ll be great!

      October 24, 2010 at 4:26 PM

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