Miranda Kenneally

Mexican Food Cures Writer's Block

Most Recent Trip to ER and Adventures with Valium

I’ll admit it.  I recently hurt my shoulder rolling over on a loveseat.

Yes, a loveseat.

At first, I thought I’d just tweaked it.  I got up and watched the movie Michael Clayton. I hoped a little George Clooney would cheer me up, and it sort of did, but my shoulder was killing me.  Then I went out to lunch at a nice B&B.  At the B&B, my mother-in-law (MIL) and I were trying to have an in-depth conversation about her poetry when I started sliding down in my chair to the point I couldn’t sit up anymore.  I drank 3 glasses of wine and hoped the pain would go away.  It didn’t.  While MIL was very pleased that I understood what she was trying to do/say with her poetry, she thought my shoulder/neck injury had taken a turn for the worse.

So off to the ER we went.  By the time I got there, I could barely sit or lie down. I could only stand with my right hand on my head while leaning to the right.  I couldn’t move my neck.  The doctors gave me this shot of Valium, which I thought was a painkiller.

Valium, actually, is a drug used to make a person not care about pain.  It doesn’t erase the pain, it just makes you not able to focus or care about anything.

Turns out that I have something called torticollis, which is caused by stress.  My MIL told the doctors I was stressed out because I had been battling State Magazine (oh the drama), and they agreed that’s probably why I was having these severe back spasms.

Anyway, while on Valium for three days, the following things happened:

1) I rode from Boston to D.C. without even noticing the drive happened. I don’t remember any of it.

2) I spent 45 minutes staring at my critique partner’s pages thinking, “This isn’t right. This isn’t what happens here. I know she changed it.” 45 minutes later, I realized I had opened the wrong file.

3) I tried to work on my new manuscript, a dual narration of a boy and a girl, both in first person. In the middle of a scene, I started writing both characters in first person. In the same scene! Again, I didn’t notice this for at least two hours I think.

4) I don’t remember anything else that happened during the three days of Valium.  But I remember being very “at peace” with the world and life in general.

So maybe if we give a bunch of troublemakers like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il some Valium, the world might be a safer place. Who’s with me?

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