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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Floating Away

I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone who knows much about me to hear that I've been a wee bit stressed lately. The holidays are always a rough time of the year for me, and this year was exceptionally difficult with several family illnesses and the like.

To add insult to injury however, I have...well...an injury. A hilariously pathetic injury, to be sure, but there you have it.

You see, my entire life, I've had this really bad habit of sleeping on my stomach, with my arm stretched out above me and under my pillow, not to mention under my head. I can't tell you how many times I have awoken in the morning with pain in my shoulder because the weight of my head had kept my arm in a bad position for hours on end.

That happened a little over a month ago, only worse than normal. I figured I'd slept on it really poorly all night, and after a day or two the achy soreness would go away and I'd be back to normal.

I was wrong.

The pain didn't go away, and in fact it kept getting worse. On top of it all, even though my arm and shoulder hurt like the blazes, I couldn't prevent myself from sleeping in that really bad, not good position. I'd fall asleep one way, and wake up with that same, hurting arm stretched out beneath me, throbbing and screaming for relief.

Well, after a few weeks of this happening, I finally decided I'd better go to the doctor, because it didn't seem like I had just slept on it funny any more.

Guess what? I've torn my rotator cuff. From sleeping wrong. Seriously.

Like I said. Pathetic. Hilarious, perhaps, but pathetic nonetheless.

Anyway, to help rehabilitate the injury I've been getting regular massages since I discovered the problem. Yay for massage! They feel great. They're helping with the rest of the stress, too.

I've also bought some wedge-shaped pillows to put under my legs and my head, to keep me sleeping on my back at night so that I don't do more damage than I've already done. They're helping. It's all helping.

But there are still some days where I wake up and I'm in pain and I can't concentrate and oh my gravy it hurts, and there's no massage on the schedule. I had one of those days recently, and it happened on a day when I'd just recently seen someone tweet about a place in the area where they'd gone "floating."

Now, I'm as skeptical as they come, so I didn't know what this meant, but I did a little research. Because, owie of all owies, I hurt and I needed to do SOMETHING. Anything. I didn't care, I just wanted it to stop hurting.

After a little research, I decided to give this floating thing a try. I made an appointment and I went...and it was the best thing ever. Seriously.

They have these tanks filled with an epsom salt solution that is heated to the temperature of your skin. There's so much epsom salt in the water that it is impossible to keep your body from floating. Once you get in and put your legs out, you float. Period. Anyway, you go in and start floating, and within minutes you can't even feel where the water is touching your skin any more, and you relax and stop thinking...and it is the most peaceful thing I have ever experienced in my life.

I spent an hour in my floatation tank, and thought about nothing at all. No stress. No worries. No pain. The epsom salt soak helped to pull the soreness out of my shoulder and arm.

When I left, I still felt like I was floating for a few hours. But even better, my pain was diminished for several days...and I was able to start working again.

I can't say I've ever experienced anything like it before in my life--something so relaxing and refreshing and stress-free. I'm sure I'll be doing it again.

When you get stressed, what is your favorite way to unwind? How do you find a place where you can clear your mind?


  1. Catherine,

    You have had a stressful time of it! So sorry! I hope your shoulder heals quickly.

    But OMG--floating sounds like my idea of heaven. I am totally going to see if they have that around here.

    Hopefully your reading at Lady Jane's Salon RDU next week will help you destress! I'm so looking forward to it!

  2. Wow, thaat sounds really cool, but it puts me in mind of this horror/sci-fi novel I once read called The Door to December. This little girl had been put in a tank like that for days at a time to "maximize" her physic abilities, to be used by this evil corporation. Needless to say, it went horribly awry for them, lol! So, seeing that this novel seriously creeped me out, I don't know if I could relax in such a tank. :D
    I do love a hot bath, though. I like to go and shut the door, run a really hot bath, with bubbles and read a good book. I usually sit there until the water cools, then I replace it, lol... That's my favorite way to just unwind and relax.

  3. I may have to try this. My doctor thought I was a tennis player from the condition of my shoulder...nothing so healthy...I'm just a writer. LOL This could prevent me from surgery in a year or so!

  4. Poor thing, Catherine. I hope you get lots of floating days in.

    Olivia, this reminds me of a Simpson episode where Homer goes with Lisa to a new age place (in order to get to know his daughter better) and got in those tanks. Homer's end up getting taken away with him in it by repairmen and it falls off the truck!!!! It was the funniest thing ever. Lisa thought her dad had really gotten her and he couldn't bring himself to tell her any different.

    I love a message, getting my nails done and hot baths for relaxing--not at the same time though. hee!

    Wouldn't mind trying the floating thing myself, IF Hot Builder hadn't accidentally locked me in a trunk when we were teenagers and made me claustrophobic. ;)

    I swear

  5. I love the water. When my husband wins the lottery (because I can't even pick one number that hits), I want a house with an indoor heated pool.

    Glad to hear you are finding a way to unwind. When I'm stressed, I take the day off and read one of my favorite of favorites. Sad thing is I won't allow myself to do that right now. I haven't been working hard enough for me to justify the day off. Sadly I haven't read anything for awhile.

    But I am looking forward to Sabrina Jeffries new book to come out next week and may take the day off to read it. :)

  6. Catherine ~ I hurt just thinking about your rotator cuff. :)

    How do I unwind, you ask? LOL. Of course everyone knows the answer to that. A nice stiff drink mixed with peace and quiet.

  7. This is absolutely awesome! I've told a friend of mine about it who suffers from chronic pain. As for me, I have always loved to float, and thanks to my 1/2 polar bear father (lol), me and my siblings can effortlessly float for hours if we wanted. There is just something so wonderfully peaceful about the whole experience - one of the few things in the world that let me escape my hyperactive brain :)

    I'm so glad you found it, Catherine - I hope it continues to work wonders for you!

  8. Oh wow, it sounds wonderful! I think I need a dose of that floating. I've been looking for more ways to destress lately as I'm having a hard time with carrying my stress on my shoulders lately. So I may just look into this! I hope you feel better and I'm so glad you found a way to unwind!