Today’s project was going through my handbag and separating out the bare essentials. This might sound like the most trivial subject you’ve ever heard me talk about (and there have been many), but you weren’t here on Wednesday of this past week when I went through the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced outside of once having an abcessed tooth and another time having appendicitis.
I’m not used to pain. I’m used to minor discomforts. Mostly associated with being my age, I think. When I wake up in the morning, I sort of hold a finger up in the air to test the state of the union, so to speak. I have a mild headache. I’m a little stiff. And so on. Ibuprofen, coffee, and moving around usually fix everything.
Wednesday was no different until about noon. My shoulders were hurting. This just seems like such a stupid problem to me. People are starving to death in Somalia and dying of cancer all over the planet, and your shoulders hurt? Give me a break. But it got to the point that it was all I could think about. (A specialty of pain…that is kind of its point. Your brain says, I insist that you pay attention–right now.)
That evening, I was eventually forced to take half of a Percocet. Why, you may ask, do I even have Percocet? The answer is, two months ago I had to have a breast biopsy (long story) and the doctor sent me home with a prescription for 15 Percocet tabs. I’ve now used 3 1/2 of them. But I saw no other hope for the pain.
The next day, I made it until about 3:00 P.M. and had to make an emergency trip to the pharmacy. I bought cream (basically a generic form of Bengay), and Aleve–the next step up from Ibuprofen but well below Percocet. I took an Aleve right away, but waited until I got home to use the cream, which turned out to be magic.
By Friday, I was hyperalert to whatever I was doing that might bring the pain on. Oddly enough, standing was a problem. I couldn’t do it long. At the least twinge, I sat down, and that eventually helped, though not right away. This however, is not a long-term solution. I’m pretty enamored of standing up and walking.
After a lot of diligent Googling, I realize I’ve damaged the trapezius muscle. Hopefully temporarily.
Now to the culprit: it’s the handbag. I’m quite sure. I had read an article about it some time ago, probably in the New York Times. Women are suffering all kinds of neck, back, and shoulder problems from carrying oversized bags.
My bag is not nearly as large as the ones shown in the article, but it’s big enough, and it’s heavy. One of the interesting things in the article is that doctors say women should not carry bags that are more than 10% of their body weight. So that would limit me to 11.4 pounds. Hello! My guess is that my bag normally weighs in the neighborhood of 18.
My cat weighs 15, which is large for a cat, and I find it a struggle to pick her up and carry her. So I don’t do that often. And I don’t carry her on my shoulder every day.
At first I thought I would keep the same bag and just reduce the number of items in it. That will Not Work. Sooner or later I’ll be tempted to add stuff to it. So I must have a small bag that things I think I might need at some point this centruy won’t fit in.
Fakename is now taking suggestions for a new handbag. Besides being small, I have only one other requirement: it has to have pockets. Shopper friends, I need your help! And you know who you are 🙂