After cooking a delicious breakfast, I headed to Bellingham, Washington. I needed to get my blood drawn to monitor some of my medications and just for some general health check-ups. I had to get this done now, so the labs were ready when I got to Los Angeles a few weeks later.
One of the borders in the U.S. is in Abbotsford. Occasionally I’d drive about one mile from it when I was just driving around the city. Even though the border is so close, crossing it is another story.
I also made an appointment with a chiropractor because the day before it felt like I had pulled a muscle in my neck and the pain was now moving into my back. I arrived at the US border and told them I was just going to Bellingham for a chiropractor appointment and I was staying in Abbotsford. Thankfully, my car was mostly empty so it didn’t look suspicious.
I got through the border, and it would be about 40 minutes to Bellingham. The road winds its way through farms and fields. The speed limit is only about 35 MPH.
I arrived at Labcorp to get my blood drawn, and the guy at the front was dramatic and entertaining. Once that was complete, I drove to the chiropractor’s office. A 2-½-year-old golden retriever was lying behind the counter. The woman behind the desk told me the dog might be pregnant, and they were anxiously waiting for the results.
Once I got into the adjustment room, I noticed a black lab lying on the ground. The office reminded me of the office I visited in Fairbanks, Alaska. (LINK) The chiropractor made an adjustment, but he also used a hard vibrating tool on my spine to try and loosen the muscles. It was painful, and felt like it made things worse.
I drove back to Abbotsford and started packing up since I was leaving in the morning. My next stop was Whistler, a ski town an hour and a half north of Vancouver. I felt sad to leave the house. I had my own place again for a week, and it felt good to have space and privacy. In Whistler, I would be back to renting just one room inside a condo. Then I thought about how lonely I had been in Abbotsford. Maybe being in shared spaces is good for me. It forces me to socialize. I’ve been told on a personality test before that I tend to go into “unhealthy bouts of isolation.”
That night, the pain in my neck and upper back was so severe I had a hard time getting into bed. I couldn’t move my head around and the pain was increasing. I took ibuprofen, but it wasn’t helping. As the night went on, I could not find a position that relived the intense pain. Turning over took about 30 minutes and made me scream.
I lied there all night, unable to sleep, in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I knew there was no way I could load my car in the morning and drive north, but I had to check out of the house, and the owners were flying in that day to stay there.
At 6:00 am, I wondered how I’d get out of bed. Should I call 911? Does 911 work in Canada? I couldn’t move. I thought through my options and realized the frozen muscles were very similar to what I experienced a couple of years ago in my lower back. The muscles froze so much, I couldn’t stand straight or roll over in bed. The only thing that helped me was getting muscle relaxers from Urgent Care.
I realized Bellingham wasn’t too far away, and I could go to Urgent Care there, where I knew my insurance would work. I painfully forced myself out of bed and got dressed. I packed up all of my stuff and left it in the kitchen. I didn’t want to cross the border with a full car, or they wouldn’t believe I was just going for a quick visit.
I made it to urgent care and was told the wait would be at least an hour wait. I sat in the chair, and the pain wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t turn my head and couldn’t stand or sit up straight. After about 30 minutes in the chair, I hobbled up to the counter and told the woman I was in an immense amount of pain and begged to be seen.
The woman said she couldn’t get me in sooner, but she offered me some water and a room so I could lie down. It was a little better than the chair. Finally, after being there for an hour and a half, the doctor came in. He said he didn’t think I needed x-rays and it was likely muscular. He gave me a prescription for some muscle relaxers and pain medicine.
I went to Rite-aid to fill the prescriptions and it was a 30-minute wait. I messaged the Airbnb host and let her know what was going on and that my stuff was still in the kitchen. She was very understanding and said they’d just set their stuff down and go to lunch.
I took a pain pill but couldn’t take the muscle relaxer because it causes drowsiness. I drove through the country roads again back to Canada and got through the border. Just past the border was the Costco where I had ordered contacts weeks earlier. I have very bad eyes, and they said it would take a couple of weeks to get them in.
I went inside, did a quick eye exam, and paid for my contacts. The guy helping me was very nice and pointed out that I was smart to buy contacts in Canada, where I get a 30% discount.
I drove back to the house and painfully loaded my car with my bags in the sprinkling rain. I started my two and a half hour drive to Whistler, leaning my head against the headrest, trying not to move it.
Despite my discomfort, the foggy and rainy drive to Whistler was beautiful! The road climbed through the lush mountains, at times overlooking the ocean.
When I arrived at my Airbnb, I parked in front of the condo and followed the instructions to get inside. It was evening, and Ash, the owner, left me a message saying he was out, but would leave the door unlocked for me. I’ve gotten very used to walking into stranger’s homes.
The condo was cozy and had a mountain cabin feel. I ate some of the food I brought with me and put the rest in his refrigerator. Ash told me I was free to use and eat anything I’d like. He lives there and rents out two of the rooms, but the other room wasn’t occupied.
I was exhausted and desperately wanted to sleep. The cloudy, rainy weather was perfectly suited for napping. I took a muscle relaxer, and while I was still in pain, I was able to find a decent position and fall asleep.
At 10:15 pm, I woke up and could hear that Ash was home. I was embarrassed that he must think I’m a lazy weirdo who was asleep so early. I walked out of my room to the living room, and Ash was watching TV with headphones on. I said hello, and he waved. I walked back to my room, still exhausted after navigating so many obstacles to find pain relief, and decided I would talk to him in the morning.
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