Rip, tear, stab

Several years ago I tore my left rotator cuff. And now, apparently, I have torn the right one. To be precise I have torn my supraspinatus muscle. Basically that means it hurts when I move my arm in certain directions. Generally only a 0.5 to 1/10 on the pain scale. You forget pain sometimes and sometimes you don't and sometimes you move it in a direction it doesn't want to go and the pain goes up to a 4 or 5/10.

"How did I do it?" I hear nobody asking. Well I'll tell you. I first tore my right rotator cuff while sitting on the toilet. Yes. The toilet. Please stop giggling and let me finish. I was sitting on the toilet and I was out of toilet paper. And I had to reach up and back to get some. And I said ouch, good golly that smarts. I didn't tear it. I had just annoyed it.

So. Yes. My painful shoulder started as a toilet-related accident.

Fast forward a month. And I'm sleeping soundly. And I roll over onto my shoulder. And I abruptly woke up. I said words. I said loud words. I used, shall we say, more colourful metaphors. I jumped out of bed in total searing pain. I could not easily go back to sleep. (And, now that I think about it, I haven't slept well since).

The "Tom's been bad and I'm waiting for physio" face.

The "Tom's been bad and I'm waiting for physio" face.

So. To recap. I injured my rotator cuff on the toilet and I tore my rotator cuff while sleeping.

I'm such an elite athlete.

My shoulder isn't going to repair itself, so off to physiotherapy I go.

Physiotherapy is fun. In the same way as <insert something that you think is not fun because I have no creatively at the moment> is. OK. It's not fun. But it does make my shoulder feel better.


Our first meeting she tests me and pulls me and pushes me.

"Resist me when I push down". I resist. She says "No resist me". I say "i am". She says "oh," and types copious notes into the computer. 

Apparently I have lost a little more strength than I had thought. Well. Actually. Almost all strength is lost. Oh bother. This will take some time (and some money) to fix. Oh double bother.

Needles and attachments. Oh. My.

Needles and attachments. Oh. My.

It's been several weeks and now we are still in the repair and loosen phase of physio. We start each session with a good dose of massage and stretching and massage and stretching. Then, after that bit comes my favourite bit: acupuncture with electronic stimulation. 

She inserts four tiny needles into my skin. I feel a little prick but once they are in I don't even notice they are there. Then she attaches little clips to each needle and then attaches a battery pack to the clips. Then she slowly turns the power on. Presently I'm on 5 out of 10 on one of the needles and 3 on the others. The higher the number the more power. The power cycles on and off. On and off. On and off. For 10 minutes.

If you'd like to see what it does, I'll just leave you with the video below. Sorry about the shakiness, but I am quite literally being shocked. Oh. Sure. It's just a small battery pack but its a battery pack attached to needles that are in my skin.

One In A Million

On Pride weekend Sunday, the big day, my friends were out of town so I spent it with myself.


There were over one million people there and me. I wandered around. Saw the sights. I saw the parade. I saw some performances. I saw groups of people. I saw couples. I saw myself… alone.

I kept pondering how a person could feel so utterly alone in a crowd of over a million people. I could not come up with an answer.

It made me depressed.

I thought about how I find it relatively easy to meet good people on Twitter. How I can meet very nice people through work and yet how I find it very difficult meeting people "in real life". Or to put it more precisely I find it very difficult  to meet and to connect to people in real life.

To me, in real life, people are complicated. Relationships are complicated. I have never been very good at social interaction. I had one friend in grade school and only a handful in high school. And I felt I was never very good at it.

Today I have a very small circle of friends. And for them I am very grateful. But the whole meeting new people and getting to know them is downright complicated to me. I can run circles around a computer but put me in a room full of strangers and I'll sit in the corner of the room wondering why I'm sitting in the corner of the room.

Yes the answer is obvious. Get out of the corner and talk to people. But it fills me with such fear I am utterly incapable of doing it.

So there I was in a crowd of one million people… alone.

I got more depressed.

I started to look around. I started to look at the people. I started to look for people like me. I started looking for men. Gay men. Mid-forties looking gay men. Average build mid-forties aged gay men. The kind of man I would date. And I hardly saw any.

Now I'm not saying you can't be friends with people who aren't like you but if I was looking for someone who I could easily relate to I was not seeing them. My friends, both in real life and online, fit a certain demographic. And I was simply not seeing very many of them in this crowd. Where were they?

I theorized that many were "over" Pride and stayed home or went to the cottage or went anywhere but Pride. And then I thought about all of the people my age that died in the late 80s and 90s. People like me that didn't make it out of the century alive.

I went from being depressed to sad. To grateful. To happy. To sad. To depressed. And finally to bed.


Today, Monday, I sit with myself beside a quiet river. Just me. Not another person in sight. I am grateful to be here. I am grateful for life. And, surprisingly, I am not lonely.

Life is weird.