The New Thing

I used to laugh at my parents and their friends when they would get together and compare weird things their bodies were doing. And then I realized that there’s a long time where you don’t really feel mentally any older than you did at, say, 28, but your body sure has carried on aging in the ensuing decade.

So, the new trick my body has learned as of yesterday is this. When I am struck with coughing fits, there is a 50/50 chance that I won’t just cough like a normal person, but instead, I will have a feeling like a thousand tiny claws running up my back and shoulders. It is painful.

I’ve been trying to think of how to explain it, in case I have to describe it to the doctor and what I think is going on is this. Imagine your hand is a muscle–your fingers the muscle fibers. Normally, when you flex your muscle, all those fibers contract at once, and you can successfully lift something or cough or sneeze or whatever. Now imagine that each of those fibers instead contracts at a slightly different moment than all the others around it, so that when one contracts, you can feel it pulling on its non-contracting neighbor until the neighbor is forced to contract and so on down the line, in a weird cascade of discomfort.

Even weirder is that yesterday I stubbed my toe on the dog’s bone and my whole shoulder just erupted into one of the aforementioned spasms.

So, that’s been weird, to say the least.