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Cat’s Annual Play List 2024 - Shouldering the Pain

Female atlasBy Cathy Jameson

Years ago, I would share a really awesome April Action Playlist.  This year, like last year, I picked just one song.  It isn’t a favorite, it’s part of an on-going theme, which this year has been shouldering the pain…

I’ve had an issue with my shoulder since last year.  First, I babied it, then I ignored it, then I babied it some more.  That’s not the best way to take care of chronic pain, but it’s what I did until the pain became unbearable. At that point, I knew I needed to take myself to the doctor because the day that it hurt the most made me cry.  I’d only walked to my mailbox at the end of my driveway.  Walking and getting the mail hurt.  The day before, I had gone for a walk down the street to get some fresh air and to do some exercise.  It was no more than a mile – my legs were fine, the rest of me was fine, so why did my shoulder hurt so dang much from walking?  It was the natural swinging of my arm that became excruciating.  I need my arm!  

But I was now dealing with not just the chronic pain I ignored; I also had a frozen shoulder. 

The weekend that the pain stopped me in my tracks, my children picked up – literally, everything for me.  They made my meals, they did the laundry, they surrounded Ronan with love and attention so I could sit quietly away from everyone and everything and do absolutely nothing.  I really did nothing that weekend, too.  I sat in my favorite chair in my favorite comfy pants with my favorite blanket and watched documentaries. I ate meals I didn’t have to make, I watched shows that had no relevance in my life, and I rested.  

I knew I could only do that for only so long, so I reveled in the extra care and attention I received. 

When Monday morning arrived, and when my husband and kids were back at work and school, I needed to rally and get through the pain.  It was hard, and with some assistance from some PT exercises that actually worked, I managed.  But the pain would linger every few days, and still does all these months later.  The doctor had asked me if I had ever damaged my shoulder before.  Nope.  Never.  Not recently at least.  Wait.  I’ve not had the best exercise program but wanted to get back into working out last summer.  I did try to do some planks last year, I told him.  I tried doing some pushups, too, but those were so hard.  Not because I’m getting older, but because I just couldn’t manage to carry through the motion needed to push myself up off the floor.  It really hurt.  

Was trying to get healthy actually hurting me?  


What an awful thought.  

The doctor said maybe, but he asked again if I had any other older injuries.  Yeah, actually, there was that one time I got hit by a car while riding my bike when I was in my mid20s.  I fell off the bike and landed hard on my right hand and jarred my shoulder.  I didn’t need surgery, but I wore a sling for weeks.  Could that old injury be causing the new pain my older body is dealing with now?

Every few days, I don’t feel it, which gives me hope.  Pain-free days are good days!  I’m still careful how I lift things and how I move because one twist or one accidental bang on a door jamb(which has happened – oh, the pain!) will stop me in my tracks. I’m a tough 1970s kid, but this has been challenging year.  

Ronan doesn’t know how much pain I’m in, but he recognizes that every few months Mommy puts her arm in a sling again.  Those few days that I’m icing that injury, he stares.  He’s not a fan of bandaids, slings, KT tape, or anything that looks medical.  Those items help the rest of us as our wounds heal, but he has an aversion to them.  I don’t blame him.  His medical past is peppered with bad memories.  Bandages wrapped around his head for EEGs, surgical tape to keep an IV in, and bandaids after blood draws – those are not things he wants to be reminded of.  

So, I am mindful on the days that he sees me in the sling and as I sense worry come over him.  I tell him that the sling helps.  I tell him it’s all right because every morning, after he uses the bathroom, he rests his hands on my shoulder as I help him get his pull up and pants back on.  I’ve either squatted down next to him or am kneeling next to him.  I’m at the perfect height where he can lean on my shoulder ever so slightly to get himself dressed.  Thankfully, because we’ve been doing this routine for years, he’s so gentle and can almost do this by himself.  

Since he still needs some support, so I’m right there for him, ready to help.  

I walk him through the motor planning, “Good job, bud.  Yep, lift the left leg, there you go.  Now lift the right leg.  You got it.  Okay, now pull the pants up all the way…yep, like that.  You did it!”  Then, I slowly lift myself from the kneeling position,careful not to push too hard off the floor. One twist, one extra pound of weight, one wobble could set my pain back quite a bit.  

So, I’m careful.  

He’s careful.  

And I’m grateful that even through the pain, I can still help. 

…I have shoulder surgery scheduled in June.  Turns out I have several issues that could use surgical intervention.  Prayers and well wishes are welcomed! 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


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Angus Files

I hope it all goes well for you Cathy,and a speedy recovery.

Pharma For Prison


Gerardo Martinez

Praying that the root causes of your pain can be addressed soon. I sometimes take my health for granted, but when your body isn't working right your whole existence is effected. Makes it hard to function. Glad you have an excellent support team to help you out.

John Stone


Many good wishes for your surgery, and that all will be well.


Mama Bear

Praying too for your healing, quick recovery. So grateful for Team Jameson who has your back ... and all your other body parts!


Praying you have a smooth surgery and quick recovery.
You have a beautiful family to help you through.


Cathy-I'm sending well wishes and prayers your way as you deal with your upcoming shoulder surgery. Hope it goes well and you make a full recovery. You are very blessed to have the help of such a wonderful family during this difficult time and Ronan will be a source of strength and support as he also has been through so much. God Bless.

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