The most painful affliction to hit the human race
Yes, it’s true; I’ve come down with that most horrible of injuries, the infamous Pepsi Elbow. Now I’m sure everyone’s heard of tennis elbow. That is a particular injury tennis players get when, over the years, they have hurt their elbow from twisting it or over-playing.
I don’t play tennis. Oh, yeah, I tried once when I was young and foolish, but after spending a couple of very hot afternoons chasing a bouncing ball around a court, I promptly and intelligently gave up. Let’s face it, there are much better ways to work up a sweat. Since retiring my tennis racquet I never gave tennis elbow another thought.
Flash forward a couple of decades. During these years my elbows have worked perfectly, never failing to do exactly what I asked of them with no fuss whatsoever. So what’s the problem now? It’s simply that couple of decades.
Not that twenty years is a long time – not by a long shot. But apparently there are assorted parts of the human body that can, for whatever reason, decide to start “acting up.”
I don’t mind getting older, but why does it have to hurt?
Okay, that line above is a bit of a stretch – I do mind getting older. It’s not that I mind it to the extent of frothing at the mouth, but yes, I do mind just a tad wee bit. And I am definitely against it hurting. I found out how much against just recently. Three weeks ago I spent a day putting trim around our new kitchen floor (of course I did great job, thank you very much). I was on my knees and back, using my arms in very unusual positions (mostly upside down), hammering away for hours. Yes, I should have used an air hammer but that would have required another trip to Home Depot and well, I didn’t think…nothing else needs to be said.
The following morning I awoke with a strong, dull pain every time I moved my arm. This is not a good thing for a writer since typing requires arm movement. Luckily, the pain was in my left arm and I’m right-handed, but still.
So I slept on it wrong. No problem, I thought, it will go away in a few hours. Well, a few hours and a few Tylenol later, the pain was still there.
For the next four or five days I pretty much ignored the problem, took the Tylenol, and proceeded with life. But, let’s face it, when you start buying pain-killers by the case at Costco instead of by the bottle, you begin to think that perhaps someone should look at it. So I went to the doctor to have an “official elbow examination.”
After looking the elbow over the doctor turned to me and pronounced those words I’ll never forget, “You’ve got mrphulpll-xxxzz.”
“Huh?” I replied.
“Tennis elbow,” he answered.
“Tennis elbow? How can I have tennis elbow? I don’t play tennis.”
“That’s the popular term. The real name is the first one I told you, mrphulp-llxxxzz.” The AMA or the CDC or whoever does it needs to let children’s authors name diseases and medicines – it would be so much easier and colorful and much more understandable.
“But that doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t play tennis.”
“You don’t have to play tennis,” the physician replied, his shoulders visibly sagging. “You can get it from too much unusual physical activity involving the elbows.”
“Putting trim around a floor isn’t unusual.”
“Apparently it is for you.”
“Yeah, well okay. So how long will it hurt?”
“Oh, I would guess approximately two or three weeks…probably. Unless you plan to work around any other floors,” and then he smirked. I am definitely going to think about a new physician.
So he told me a couple of things I could do and off I went, the proud owner of a tennis elbow. When I told people at work they all laughed and said, “Right. We know how you got that injury. It was from years of lifting Pepsi can after Pepsi can. You don’t have tennis elbow, you have Pepsi elbow (okay, I drink the occasional Pepsi and I do lift the glass or can with my left hand if I’m busy with the right one. But Pepsi elbow?) Oh, please.
Then someone asked if I was planning to give up Pepsi. All I could do was just shake my head and sigh. You have to wonder at that kind of naivety.
Living with the pain of Pepsi elbow
It’s hard to tell people you have Pepsi elbow because, after all, they do tend to laugh. So now I walk around with an elastic sport bandage on my arm and simply let them think it’s to help a tennis elbow. The bandage does help the pain and that’s always a better thing than making so many trips to the drug store for pain killers that the check-out person knows you by your first name. But please, if you happen to see me somewhere, ask how the tennis elbow is doing. If you do, I’ll buy you a Pepsi.
© 2008 MPB
Causes Miles Beauchamp Supports
Rady's Children's Hospital