August 18, 2011

The hazards of being awesome

Last Friday I changed the broken taillight in my car. I don't just mean the bulb, I mean the whole assembly.

Yeah, I was pretty impressed too. Although, to be honest, we shouldn't be. It was ridiculously easy: lean into trunk, pull back fabric, remove a couple of screws; once the taillight pops out, unplug it. Then plug in the new assembly you got on Amazon (yes, they have everything) for $50, pop the taillight back in, replace the screws and fabric, done.

Seriously. It took me all of five minutes to do something that probably would have cost me $500 to get done at a shop. Needless to say, there was much manly flex-posing in the Treehouse that night.

Unfortunately, there was a price to pay for the cheap and ease of doing it my own damn self; my out-of-shape 33-year-old body decided it wasn't about to take that leaning-into-the-trunk crap without some retribution. By Saturday afternoon I was barely able to bend, stand, or even sit in one position for more than three minutes without a shit-ton of pain. My entire lower back felt like a giant clenched fist... one that was ready to reach up and punch me in the back of the head for my hubris.

Over the weekend I tried a number of techniques to banish the pain, from a slow walk through the neighborhood to a hot bath to fistfuls of ibuprofen. Nothing was helping. So Monday I gave up and went to urgent care.

The doctor I saw seemed to be a specialist in muscle and bone stuff (orthopedics? I'm not a medical expert, ok, stop judging me) who couldn't seem to stop telling me to "be more active." By the end of the five-minute consult I was ready to slap his active face right off his active head, because MY BACK HAS FILLED ME IN ON MY SHORTCOMINGS ALREADY, THANK YOU.

Ultimately I scored some muscle relaxant and Tylenol-3 (with codeine!), which I gobbled the moment I got into my car (after taking a second to admire the shiny new taillight). I've been taking both pretty regularly ever since, and here's what I can tell you about muscle relaxants + prescription painkillers:

1. Dry mouth is annoying. Even immediately after brushing my teeth, my tongue tastes like used socks. Bad side effects are bad.

2. The first few times I took both at once, I spent the next few hours alternately nodding off and dropping things. One of the side effects listed in the Tylenol-3 description was an "exaggerated sense of well-being." Indeed! It's a good thing I don't actually drive my car to work. Or have to pay attention at work.

3. Tomorrow night will be the true test of chemical reaction: what happens when you mix muscle relaxants, prescription painkillers, booze, and karaoke.

I'll leave it up to you to imagine what horrors this combination will bring forth.

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