Dag nab it, I dun broke my neck again! It’s not like I wasn’t being cautious, I wasn’t running down the beach doing handstands or partaking in Mexican Dwarf throwing competitions. Do you want to know what it took to throw my neck out? At the ripe old age of thirty one, I tried to put my snorkel goggles on and Kablooie. Jimminy Cricket am I irked.
A friend of ours is traveling and came over to Playa del Carmen a few days ago. Deciding we wanted to show her some of the things we love so much about the place, we rented a car and took her out for the day. The idea was to go snorkeling at Akumal beach at around 08:30 and watch the turtles having a feed. Then to find random little restaurant in an as yet unknown but quaint little village. And then to head out to a few cenotes for some fresh water swimming and fish ogling.
That was the plan, unfortunately though things did not quite work out that way. We rented the car in the morning for about $40. We picked up our friend from her hostel, we grabbed a coffee on the road and before long were renting a life jacket for me (I like to float above the turtles with very little effort, but I have heavy legs and they tend to sink) and flippers for Sarah ($5 each). I strapped myself in to the very little crop top styled life jacket and with a smile on my face waded into the water, excited to be trying out my new snorkel and searching for turtles.
That’s where it all went wrong, standing stomach deep after having acclimated to the fresh cool water buffeting my undercarriage. I raised the goggles to my head, lenses to the fore, and attempted to pulled the straps down. Somehow the strain of keeping my head still was more than my previously injured neck could bear, and BLAMMO! Pain wrenched through me, my arms froze in position and I couldn’t move without waves of pain through my upper body. So close to the turtles and yet so far.
As the girls went off swimming I headed back to the beach muttering angry hurtful things to my goggles. A part of me thought it might get better after a few minutes and that I could go swimming again. What actually happened is that after a few minutes it got worse and I could barely stand up or move. I perched in a chair staring out at the horizon and the stupid people having fun, and craved a cigarette so bad (luckily there were no stores nearby, and I couldn’t move). Stupid snorkel goggle straps.
We were forced to accept that the day was done and that we had to head home. Neither Sarah or our friend were too keen on driving a right hand manual, so they propped me up in the drivers seat and acted as my side mirrors. I managed to get us back to Playa del Carmen in one piece, albeit with a fair bit of pain (bloody Mexican speed bumps everywhere).
We dropped our friend off and then it was straight to the International Doctors Clinic for me. I didn’t know much about Doctors in Mexico, but they couldn’t be less effective than my experiences in Australia, surely? They poked and prodded for a bit and then shot me up with a steroid infused anti inflammatory, one in each perfectly formed glute. They gave me a handful of “the strongest pain killers we have”, then it was off down the road for x-rays. A quick dose of radiation from a machine that looked like it may have come from a cold war Russian submarine and then back to the Doctor for a final analysis.
“You see your spine here? We see this kind of trauma in car accident patients.” Right that’s a relief, thanks Doc.
I was told to come back the following day after my Doctor had spoken to a trauma specialist and headed home to let the anti inflammatory do its work.
I have not had great luck with doctors. In fact about 90% of the doctors I have seen are more interested in getting me out of the way and plying me with meds than an actual diagnosis. I hoped this would be different, it wasn’t. The Doctor wasn’t worse than I have had before, but she wasn’t much better either.
I have had this neck issue in various stages of severity for six months now. I am pretty damn sure I don’t just keep pulling a muscle! But the following day I went back to the clinic where my doctor wasn’t. Another doctor called her up and I was informed on the phone that the trauma specialist thought there was nothing wrong and that I need to go to a physiotherapist because it was probably a pulled muscle.
“You fuckin’ what? Yesterday you said it looked like I had been in a car accident, now I should go see a physio because it looks like I pulled a muscle? So what? For six months I have been pulling muscles all around my neck in different places, the last time when I tried to put goggles on my head!?!”
“Deep breaths, it’s not their fault they are stupid.”
So short story long, I just wanted to look at some stupid turtles eating stupid sea grass, and now I gotta drop $40 on a back and neck guy. Stupid paradise with its stupid water based activities…
If anyone knows anything about x-rays or neck injuries, please let me know. The hope is that I can just kinda whack it a certain way and it will be fixed!