For 2 days since I've had the halo off, my weakened, stiffened (and slightly atrophied) neck muscles have been giving me trouble - I know it'll get better as the days go by and my muscles get used to doing the job they're supposed to do. In the meantime, my orthopedist recommended Tylenol for the pain; but Tylenol doesn't do much for me, no matter what kind of pain we're talking about. After I left my doctor's office, I had my mom pick me up some Aleve (naproxen sodium), because Aleve is really the only over-the-counter painkiller that works for me. I have some Vicodin with Tylenol, which also helps, but my supply is running low and I'm trying to kick that habit.
This afternoon, I recalled an odd Christmas gift that my mom had received from a co-worker a couple of years back. It was a tube sock, loosely filled about halfway way up with uncooked rice, and tied off with a couple of bits of yarn about 2-3 inches from the top. At the time, it seemed a bit weird, like my mom's co-worker - now it's become a lifesaver!
It's supposed to be a sort of "heating pad" - pop it in the microwave for about a minute, put it on the affected area, and the rice will hold the heat for a good 30-45 minutes or so, no electrical outlets or lying on top of heating pads (which is dangerous) needed. Best of all, it's the perfect form to fit right over the neck and shoulders comfortably.
I figured all along that part of the problem was that my neck muscles are stiff and sore from having to be in the same position for 3 months, but there didn't seem to be any immediate solution to the problem. At some point this afternoon, I remembered the "odd sock," and figured that a little warmth applied to my sore, stiff neck might help loosen up those disused muscles and help me heal a little faster.
I guess my intuition was right...my neck doesn't feel as sore anymore. I did take some Aleve earlier, but even that by itself hasn't been enough to get rid of the pain, so I don't see any reason why it would work now.
Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of creative thinking. Who'd've thought that such an odd gift would turn out to be such a godsend?
I'm about ready to buy some tube socks and a bag of rice, and use my scrap yarn to tie off the ends of the socks, and use these as stocking-stuffers, or package them along with scented soaps, candles, bath fizzies or whatever I can find on the cheap (Michael's has lots of this type of stuff in their dollar bins) and create a few "stress reliever" packages to give as gifts, maybe for my coworkers and friends.
If I had thought of this earlier (and learned to sew a while back, as I intended to), I could even have sewn up some cute tote bags to put it all in. As it stands now, I have just enough time to buy some tube socks and rice, a few scented soaps/candles/bath fizzies/etc (maybe even some of those gel eye masks if I can find some for cheap!), and some cute bags to package it all in, as well as some cardstock for little handmade gift tags (I already have a variety of Christmas rubber stamps/hole punches). And I bet I could do this for under $50 for all those friends and relatives I can't afford to give big gifts to, but who deserve a little something just for being there when I needed them.
So what say you? Would you think I was a complete freak for giving you a tube sock full of rice (as long as I explained what it was and how to use it) along with some soaps and candles or something like that? Or does it seem like a good idea? I mean, I thought the rice-filled tube sock on its own was kind of odd, but if it was packaged with some other stuff, it might make a great gift. Everyone could use a little stress relief, and once the soaps and candles were gone, they'd still have the "odd sock" to use long afterward.