Sunday, January 09, 2005

My Crazy Body

I must be saddled with one of the looniest bodies in planetary history. For example: I always have to sleep with some sort of covering: even in the midst of an August heat wave.

Your initial reaction might be to think me bashful of body, but that's just not so. I can hang it out there with the best of them with nary a distant hint of immodesty. Most men are like that, or so I am given to understand. Not so with our wives who do their utmost to reveal as little of their pelts as possible. I am told that some women become so adept at this that they can change outfits, completely anonymously, in a crowded room full of randy voyeurs. Of course, I speak in broad generalities, and if you are of different bent, I offer my congratulations and appeal for you not to flame me with indignant comments.

Still speaking in broad generalities: how ironic it is that neither women nor men give a fig about male nudity. While we men are casual about letting it all hang out, our women are moved not unless perhaps it be by revulsion, for male nudity inflames not their passions. The irony is that male passions are easily inflamed by the least exposure to female skin, which the ladies in turn are quite modest about revealing. What a crazy world!

As is my habit, I have digressed from my topic, but sometimes I just can't help myself. Like jam on toast, it is the extras that add flavour and interest.

Back to the main narrative: I sleep covered-up, even when I'm hot, not because I am modest but because I have a cold shoulder. Note: I did not say that I am given the cold shoulder from my significant other although I likely will be able to say that after she reads this post.

No, the problem supposedly stems from the reality that degenerating spinal discs have some sort of effect on my nerves. In other words, some chain of bodily events gives me the sensation of having a cold shoulder even though it is not cold to the external touch. I suppose that it is something like experiencing numbness in my leg (due to yet another set of degenerating discs): one can't feel the numbness by touching my leg externally, but it exists nonetheless.

Another Aside: when I say that the problem supposedly stems from degenerating discs, this is my doctor's casual diagnosis. By that I mean that most of my little problems don't seem to arouse great concern in the man. I confided a few concerns on my recent checkup. For example: "Twice during the past year I have had dizzy spells to the point where my pupils actually dilated and I had to lie down until I could see properly again."

The Good Doctor: "Hmmm."

I'll spare you several of the other concerns which I confided to him that day, except to say that I believe that I was in my rights to expect more sympathy from a fellow male.

He's like that about everything. I really think he's a good doctor who does listen, but he masks his concerns very well indeed. After all, he did send me for X-rays when I told him all about my shoulder woes, and he did discover disc degeneration. "Yup, you have disc degeneration. See you again next year." How touchingly reassuring.

Where was I?

Oh yes, I say all of that to say this: last night was a most wretched night indeed. I haven't been sleeping well for the past two weeks because I have been under attack by viruses that cause me to hack and sputter and, therefore, greatly disturb my rest. That's not fun, but my body really entered the Twilight Zone last night.

To explain properly, permit me to back up one just one more time.

We like to keep the house cool at all times and especially so at night. For sleep, we have been keeping the thermostat at 60oF/15oC. I go to bed wearing both a T-shirt and sweatshirt. If I get warm, I generally find that removing the sweatshirt solves the problem. Last night, however, it didn't.

I awoke around three o'clock to do what middle-aged men tend to do at three o'clock in the morning, and then I couldn't get back to sleep. In plainspeak, I was hot boiling, and removal of my sweatshirt had no noticeable impact on my inner thermostatic malfunction.

Remember, however, that I have already described my weird, cold shoulder affliction. Spare some pity for my plight last night: my body was blasting heat like an over-worked boiler on a runaway locomotive while my shoulder was simultaneously, and most disconcertingly and uncomfortably, ice cold. It's not an especially pleasant combination. It keeps one awake. It keeps one awake in a state of monumental vexation.

Some people seem to be able to regulate their body temperature by exposing some body part or other. Cuppa, for example, has been known to dangle her leg out of the covers to regulate her body temperature. However, cold shoulder syndrome aside, that trick simply doesn't work for me. In fact it renders me even more miserable, giving my body yet another miserably cold spot while the rest of me continues to swelter. The result, oh wretched man that I am, is that one misery simply seems to exacerbate the other.

In the event, after several hours of this nonsense, I repaired from the bed to the couch where I could still cover myself, but with a thin blanket rather than the sensible, thick one that covers the bed. That seemed to do the trick. My body temperature slowly began to settle toward normality, but my shoulder persisted in being most vexatiously cold.

After an hour on the couch, I felt cool enough to venture crawling back into bed, cool enough to even don my sweatshirt, even under the luxuriously thick blanket. Unfortunately, as comfortable as the rest of me now was, my shoulder continued to aggravate me for yet another long hour. At that point, some four hours after my troubles had begun (but who's counting?), exhaustion must have overcome me, and I finally succumbed to a few hours of pleasant escape in dreamland.

I don't know what caused that occurrence of exceptional heat last night. It has happened before, but I had thought it linked to the consumption of salty and/or sugary, late night snacks. I have been curbing my more indulgent side rather well as of late; so, I have no explanation for last night's manifestation. Neither does the good doctor, who claims that there is no known condition such as the one that I describe. Although he doesn't come right out and say it, he may as well say: "Tough shit guy."

I have a partial remedy for the cold shoulder. It is to apply a heating pad. My supposition is that while it cures nothing, the external heat provides a counterpoint to the internal cold sensation and relieves the symptoms. Since the shoulder hadn't been bothering much lately however, the heating pad was packed away, and even should I have managed to locate it without waking Cuppa to plaintively beg her assistance, I would have had to awaken her to move the bed in order to reach the only available electrical outlet. My courage failed me; it was not worth my marriage to risk disturbing the lady at her slumbers, which she takes ever so seriously.

And so, I suffered in martyred silence: until now when I plead shamelessly for all of the sympathy that anyone can muster.

Seriously. Have you ever heard the like: hot body and cold body parts working in tandem in such a manner?

How crazy, this body of mine! Feel free to take this opportunity to rejoice in your own normality.


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