It felt like I'd just been blitzed in the electric chair, a hundred million volts surging through my body or more precisely through my shoulder. I felt feint. Jesus, I'd never experienced pain like it. I hit the deck. My friends laughter turned to concern, "He's having a heart attack!" shouted one pal. Panic ensued.
We had been sitting in the pub watching an Everton match, when suddenly the blues had scored. The pub erupted. Without warning I found my right arm being hoisted in the air. My friend had no idea, no idea that by grabbing my arm in a of show mutual, blokey celebration that he was about to send me to the gates of hell.
There was no time to react. The pain was indescribable. I sank to the floor watched by the whole pub. I felt as if my whole arm had just been ripped out from its socket. I always thought people exaggerated when they said they saw stars. No More. I not only saw stars, but tasted them too. At least I thought I could taste stars - strange thing pain. I also felt hot, clammy and completely helpless.
Having established I was not dying of a heart attack, my friends managed to prop me back on the bar stool from which I had fallen.
"I've got a frozen shoulder, you bastard!" I hissed, beads of sweat trickling down my ashen face. My friends looked puzzled.
Anyone who has ever suffered from adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder as it is more commonly known, will know exactly what I mean. Frozen shoulder is aptly named, because your shoulder literally freezes. Movement becomes virtually impossible and woe betide you if you do try to move the cursed thing. The pain is overwhelming.
My friend was of course beside himself with regret. How was he to have known? He didn't mean to do it. Was there anything he could do? I sat and trembled on my bar stool, before going off in search of painkillers.
Frozen shoulder is no joke. It compromises your every waking minute. In the shower I am unable to reach for the shower gel, unable to reach the shower head, unable to even reach the dark recesses of my right armpit. In the kitchen I am unable to reach my stash of Salt and Vinegar Pringles stored in the top cupboard. In the evenings I'm unable to wriggle out of my sweater without help.
And now I'm terrified in case some unwitting soul grabs my arm intent on raising it for whatever reason. Crikey I hope and pray I'm not unfortunate enough to be arrested or 'escorted' anywhere against my wishes. Just the very thought of having my right arm yanked for whatever reason is enough to bring tears to my eyes.
Today I found myself in the supermarket. In my left hand I carried a very full basket of items. Meanwhile I noticed a jar of curry before me at eye level. "Excuse me madam, would you mind passing me a jar of curry?" I beseeched of an old lady stood next to me. It seemed like less effort than stooping down to place my basket on the floor and going left-handed.
"Of course luvie," said the old lady placing the jar of curry in my less than useful right hand. "Adhesive capsulitis," I said by want of explanation. The old lady, probably thinking I was half-baked, made a suitably sympathetic face.
Has it really come down to this? I'm now asking old ladies to pass items down from supermarket shelves!
And guess what? There's no cure for this infernal thing! "One of those things," said my doctor in that infuriating way they have of saying these things, rejecting outright my plea to 'thaw' the acursed shoulder. "Sorry, no can do.. It's not as easy as that."
Right, that's it! I am not going out of my house until this thing has gone. I can't risk it. I suddenly feel fragile, vulnerable. I'm going to hibernate and wake up hopefully when this dreaded thing is over. "I wouldn't do that," said the doc."And why's that?"I asked, not liking at all the way this conversation seemed to be headed.
"Because," said the doctor with a grim smile, "Frozen shoulder can go on for months, sometimes even years..."
Now that really did hurt.