A Brief Glimpse Into the Inexpressible Glamor of My Life

I have a non-trivial case of tendonitis in my left shoulder and my doctor’s advice for it is mild stretching, Aleve for the inflammation, and an ice pack to deal with swelling. The ice pack I’ve been using: A bag of frozen peas, because it’s conveniently sized for my shoulder and because the frozen peas are cold without melting on me and/or giving me frostbite.

With that said, the regular thawing and refreezing of the peas in question are likely reducing their usefulness as actual foodstuffs, so we’ve marked the particular bag of peas I’m using as “shoulder peas” to make sure no one opens up the bag and tries to, you know, eat the things. Please never eat the shoulder peas, folks. I know where they’ve been. On my shoulder. Over and over again.

Also, tendonitis sucks, and I don’t recommend it to you. Especially if you’ve gotten it the way I have, which is to sleep on your arm wrong. Aging sucks, y’all.

51 Comments on “A Brief Glimpse Into the Inexpressible Glamor of My Life”

  1. I still remember the time I fell asleep, in bed, on my right side, with my right arm curled under the pillow. I woke up 17 hours later (yes, you read that right), tried to get out of bed, and only then realized that my right arm was basically frozen in place. Evidently I hadn’t moved at all, all night. I had to force my right arm to straighten out (I’m a righty, so that was important), and it was pretty sore for the next couple of days.

  2. That sounds way too familiar – shoulder issues from random daily activities, weird aches after sleeping, peas as physical therapy aid rather than food item, marking said peas. Bette Davis had it right – getting older really isn’t for sissies.I

    I hope you feel better quickly

  3. I have that same bag (only mine says “knee peas”) for the tendinitis in my knee. Aging does, indeed, suck. But until the Six Million Dollar Person becomes a reality, I guess we’re stuck with it.

  4. I also use a bag of kernel corn. Sometimes after a number of uses where the peas thaw, they get mushy. Anyway, they both make great icepacks.

  5. I had a lower back injury, so I had a similar bag which my wife labeled “Butt Peas”.

    I hope you are feeling better soon!

  6. Tendonitis does indeed suck! My 2 sisters-in-law and I all developed wrist tendonitis around the same time when our progeny all reached the age that we still needed to lift them up (sometimes after precipitously dashing after them) but they had reached non-trivial weights.

    Hope you recover soon.

  7. This sort of thing can happen at any age!

    When I was an undergraduate, circa 1980, one night I slept on top of my left arm and in the morning it was totally numb for a couple of hours, followed by a long and painful “pins and needles” phase. No permanent damage, but that was not a fun day.

  8. I find the frozen peas work much better than frozen corn. The corn has uncomfortable sharp edges. But yes, the for hurt peas are not for eating.

  9. Frozen peas are the perfect ice pack. After my wife and I decided we wanted no more children – well, you can imagine what frozen peas helped me recover from.

  10. Buy Ted’s Pain Cream and apply liberally 3 x day and poof, your pain will be gone in no time. Ted is a neuroscientist whose formula includes Resveratrol. I use it every day, mostly for arthritis. Get more info and buy from website: tedsbrainscience.com.

  11. Tendonitis is, indeed, one of the many motives a person might have to sign up for the CDF.
    Last I heard the jury is still out on whether you should use heat or cold. As always, the experts can’t agree. I hope it goes away soon.

  12. For shoulders it’s usually cold that helps, because if things in your shoulder get irritated, they tend to swell and push against other parts, irritating both of them. Cold helps break that cycle. And with the exception of one kind of ice bag a chiropractor of mine used to carry that used to work a bit better, frozen peas are really about the best thing for fitting their shape around your shoulder.

  13. I like gaining experience points, but hate that our bodies start to not work right in just a few decades. Just when people start getting really interesting.

    Thinking good thoughts for your shoulder.

  14. John
    Getting old with its accompanying aches and pains is why I tell my college anatomy and physiology students that ‘I should have bought the extended warranty before i was born’. It can be truly amazing what hurts next as the years pass.

    Good luck with the tendonitis. Unfortunately, soft tissue injuries (i.e. joints) take significantly longer to heal that any other kind of insult. As a result, they can try your patience.

  15. We have a similar bag of gooseberries marked with a red cross for first aid use.

  16. This reminds me of the time my poor pregnant friend with PUPPP was staying with us and we ended up raiding the freezer to give her a bag of frozen corn so she could try to get comfortable enough to sleep. Not having labeled it “face corn” seems like a missed opportunity, in retrospect.

  17. Two things:
    1) We’re talking frozen peas. I really don’t see how repeated thawing and refreezing can make them much different from the original product!
    2) I had tendonitis in my shoulders (both) more than 40 years ago, and it’s _still_ the worst pain I’ve ever endured. White-water rafting with a broken collarbone wasn’t even close.

  18. My mother used frozen peas on her neck. Along with the reusability, she liked that they were flexible/moldable. I’ve heard of someone stopping at the store on the way home from the hospital for the use Jim mentions above. And as far as I’m concerned there is no reason to ever cook the peas anyway. Frozen peas – the perfect ice pack.

  19. Switch my lower back for your shoulder and we’re in the same boat…I should be over this $#!+ by tomorrow. Note to self: Buy New Bed.

  20. So many entries on this thread make me wish that WordPress had an upvoting function.

    We marked our bag of frozen peas with a big X. How prosaic.

  21. Meh. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten good advice from a general practitioner about soft tissue injury, especially chronic soft tissue injury. Try to see a specialist. I’m prone to tendonitis and I find that daily MSM, deep tissue massage therapy, and strengthening exercises helps. Ice and OTC anti-inflammatories probably aren’t going to get the job done for a chronic problem and might make it worse. Hope it gets better.

  22. Is this going to be the signature entree at JoCo Cruise 2020? I mean it’s not like the candy burrito scared people enough.

  23. I cannot make a strong enough recommendation for injections of prednisone & lidocaine. It will make everything better in about 3 minutes.

    A Prednisone dose pack is great also, but mostly because it will make everything better on a more global scale. Every ache you didn’t know you had vanishes. You suddenly have the energy of a 27 year old. Also the appetite of a 27 year old…so there is that minor downside.

  24. Kroger Peas?

    This is just the sort conspicuous consumption I expect from some ivory tower celebrity author who’s lost touch with the roots that gave him his authenticity. The Man who wrote The God Engines would have iced his shoulder with. Frozen bear steak.

    I heard that Heinlein used Kroger peas to ice his elbow. The next boom he wrote was The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

  25. Had Sheppard’s Pie last week with my “do not eat Ice Pak ” labeled frozen corn and still cooking. (alive as of this post) Obviously it takes more than a magic marker and the ability to read to keep the frozen food from being eaten in this household. Gonna try a haz mat bag or a dog poop for the next go round.

  26. Using the same thing for my post-neutering surgery, too. My girlfriend and I get a chuckle out of just how a bag of frozen peas looks when shoved down the front of one’s sweatpants.

  27. I’ll see your shoulder tendonitis and raise you a partially torn rotator cuff. But from shoveling snow, not from sleeping. Although I do occasionally wake up from a nap with cuts and bruises.

  28. It isn’t the aches and pains of getting older that bother me so much as it is losing actual physical strength.

    I have to use the frozen peas and corn packs because I can no longer risk using the 10lb weights for the arm curls.

  29. Scalzi,

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, and this is the most depressing post I’ve ever seen.

    Ok, maybe not as bad as that, but jeez. Shoulder pain and inflammation is a real thing. I had a compressed nerve in my right arm a few years ago, and it was numb for over a week. I got a series of acupuncture treatments that really helped. At the very least, it stimulated my arm into action. I can’t say if they will help with arthritis, but it could be worth a try.

  30. Am I the only person who fills up an ice bag with ice cubes, adds water, and uses that? It’s called an ICE BAG for a reason, people!

  31. I always use the ACE Reusable Large Cold Compresses – they’re a really nice flexibility, and are direct-application. The only downside is they inevitably leak and you’re having Stretch Armstrong flashbacks.

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