Okay, I know I’m pretty healthy and lucky to be so. Especially when I have friends with diabetes, severe migraines (the real brain-malfunction kind, not “bad headaches”), broken spines, cacaplexy cerebral palsy, cancer, etc. So if it will bother you to hear me complain skip this post.
Still here? Healthy or not my job can be very physical and
many most days I come home from work hurting. There’s many reasons. I always get tense in my back at certain parts of my cycle. I do have seasonal allergies and am actually allergic to dogs and cats, though working at a grooming salon has helped…until I touch a cat.) Not to mention I file dog nails with a dremel several times a day and am left with the question of-Wear a mask and likely have my glasses fog up so I can’t see/have one more thing for a panicked dog to get caught in when they flip out OR inhale dog nail dust.
Right now my run down of injuries looks a little like this:
-Off and on headaches from allergies, menstrual stuff, normal stress
-Sore neck-shoulders-upper back-and-arms from large dogs yanking me around and being generally uncooperative, meaning I have to dead lift 80 pound dogs with one arm while trimming nails with the other, often while also using my body (or a coworker’s body) to pin the dog into place to prevent it from jumping away as well
-Sore arms from the repeated motions of blow drying and brushing (some dogs take only a few minutes to brush. I spent half an hour brushing a chihuahua that was shedding today.)
-Sore hands because dremels, hair and nail clippers and dog feet have only a few good positions that work so I often get cramps in my hands. Many times even if it’s not at work when I sit down to write it’ll start.
-Scratches from either dog nails (dogs that don’t like baths/nail trims, see, will often try to get your help in fleeing the tub, either by trying to jump into your arms, or trying to climb up anything close enough–like that arm of yours trying to hold it in a standing position or preventing it from jumping out of the tub and getting hurt) or those moments when a dog jerks and the dremel skims over my fingers or knuckles before I can correct myself.
-Sore chest & stomach muscles, from being yanked around by dogs that have no manners
-Sore lower back from crouching over on my hands and knees and holding two 80 pound labs up so I could do their nails. And constant bending to work on cleaning parts of dogs that are too big to get into a tub, but still need to be part of a thorough clean
-Last week a panicky lab (of course) yanked me into a kennel hard enough that I cut my knee through my pants on a smooth metal surface and I get a grinding pain in the knee after about an hour at work. I had a small knot on the bone for about three days, and I know there was some decent damage done to at least a small section of me.
-A few months ago I started getting stabbing pains in my right shin, like someone had driven a piece of hot rebar through the side of my calf and up into my shin bone. It would happen real quick (when a dog jerked or when I sat on my feet to work on big, old or arthritic dogs that couldn’t get on the table) then it was gone. So I figured I just pulled it and tried not to get into that position again. Which is impossible because salon rules say I have to keep my shoulders above the dog’s shoulders, meaning most times if I have a big dog that can’t be on a table (and I get scheduled a lot of these, because I’m pretty good with them) I have to sit on my feet because it gives me more control and if I’m sitting straight on my butt I am more likely to get stepped on, bitten or in trouble for breaking rules. So sit on butt–not as safe, more likely to get hurt if something happens (it puts me at face level with most dogs, which…not really some place you want to be unless you really trust a dog). Sit on legs and risk stabbing pains and the troubling prospect that something might actually be wrong and I’m agitating the wound. Or stay standing and have to bend over in awkward positions to get things done, some of which include some twisting and also agitate my shin.*
*I want to note that picking up the dog to put it on the table is often not an option because of their size and their health. Large dogs are at a minor risk of injuries from landing wrong if jumping on or off the table. Add in being old, overweight, issues like hip dysplasia or arthritis and some I simply cannot pick up at all, they won’t let me at all, or they are at a severe risk of breaking something or other serious injury should they come off the table wrong. This is why we don’t put greyhounds, large mastiffs or Great Danes on tables period, because they are more at risk for those kinds of injuries.
-Finally (I know, right!) I’ve had repeated injuries in my ankles over my life, cracks from horseback riding, wrenched ankles and one really bad one to my left ankle where in I stepped into a five inch deep hole in our yard while weedwacking and twisted and fell (propping the wacker on my right leg) wrenching my whole weight on the ankle since the foot was stuck in the hole still. Jason had to help me to bed. I couldn’t walk on it for three days or so and had a grinding pain and swelling in it for weeks after. No official diagnosis since I didn’t have health insurance so I didn’t have it looked at. But I very often have this feeling, like the joint is really a ball made of sharp bits of glass tearing into the surrounding tissue with every step I take. I almost always have some grinding pain in this ankle after work, even short shifts.
Oops, and I forgot that I get terrible foot cramps on the top of my feet sometimes that make my feet and toes seize up really painfully for up to half an hour. But I have had that looked at and the doctor has me on supplements that help.
I’ve just to the point that even though I know this is probably all normal given what I do for part-of-a-living I HAVE to do something to make it better. Exercising is really hard when you come home in pain most days. (And also very hard when the kids will want to get up with you so sneaking awake before then is not really an option.) I want to walk my dogs and start a more regular exercise routine. But when it feels like you’re grinding glass in your joints it’s really hard to walk from the car to the bedroom much less around with even a well behaved dog.
Better foot support should be a definite, but most work boots or sneakers (which I am allowed to wear) get soaked real fast and even with dry weave socks and don’t dry out fast, leaving all kinds of other skin and odor issues. I tried galoshes with squishy inserts, but the inserts moved around too much in the boots and in the end the books started cracking and letting lots of water in. So, water proof shoes=no support, supportive shoes=itching burning feet.
But I HAVE to do something, you know. This has to change.
Today I woke up and did two Sun Saluation As. Maybe if I warm myself up these mornings it will help. It did help stretch out my back. But my shin started getting a little testy and my left ankle started getting shaky. So only two.
And I switched to my other work shoes, slip resistance sneakers with inserts. They won’t dry out in under 2 hours (most of my socks dry out on 10-15 min in my clog-style work shoes) but a lot more support. When I got home my feet, as in my actual feet, not my ankles, hurt for about half an hour, but it faded.
And right now I’m laying on a heating pad, though my back feels a lot better than it did yesterday.
And, most importantly I need to say no more at work. No, I cannot complete this dog since it’s trying to climb onto my shoulders and is 60 lbs. No I cannot carry your golden retriever to the back. No, I cannot hold a flipping, twisting jack russell on the table safely and clip his nails too on my own.
Also, I worked in my garden after a bit of rest today, because No, I cannot sit in bed/chair after work until my muscles stiffen up and feel like they’re tearing when I finally move.
I guess I’ll have to work up to walking the dogs. Or wait for a good day. How’s tomorrow looking? Oh, four Goldens, a full coat yorkie and a nervous pitt bull? Groan.