Day 10 – Friday the 13th

The temperature changes in my skin up against the cold felt as if I had frostbite. My hand and wrist were so cold they burned a raging fire that not even Danerys’s fire breathing dragons in Game of Thrones could match.

Day 10: Friday the 13th

Date: Friday January 13, 2017
Location: D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Nearly nine months to the day later and I finally realize I starred in my first Friday the 13th film back in January. Hooray for me.

Hundreds if not thousands of times in my life, mostly throughout my childhood and teenage years, I’ve introduced myself and some have said back to me, “Jason, like in the movies right?” My typical reply was often simply an awkward chuckle or smile. Maybe every now and again the defensive me said something like “sure, my parents named me after a fictional serial killer.” The “Jason” of reference here is the fictional Jason Voorhees from the aforementioned film franchise. His hockey mask and machete are transcendent general pop culture and Halloween icons. I only ever read one of the books. I think I’ve seen maybe two movies tops. Despite how many kids thought it would be “cool” if I were “actually Jason,” I’ve never wanted to actually tie my name to the character in any way.

My wife, Crissy, should really be the one writing this post or better yet serving as the narrator to this script. I might not be able tell it with the justice with which it deserves. When I stop and think about it, there may be good short film in my script for any of you horror flick fans with filmmaker connections. J


The story begins a week prior. I sloshed my way through the pain and lack of clarity. I got through the headache pain, extreme arm pain, and confusion and even landed my first few deals of the new year. I came home to delicious homemade soup and went to bed. I wanted to rest for brain MRI the next day.

Beginning on Saturday, I started to shed the migraine headache and was left with the arm pain and the inability to move it in so many ways (hand, wrist, & shoulder). Losing the headache pain made the MRI significantly easier to get through. Later that day, we began noticing the swelling and sweating in my hand. The swelling wasn’t large. It was visible in my fingers and a little bit of my hand. It wasn’t major. We were confused, but not alarmed. Was this part of something that happens after a stroke? Could it have been a pinched nerve type of thing? After all, I have previously pinched a nerve in my neck that gave me arm pain issues. Either way, it wouldn’t change the plan to rest up during the weekend.

Monday through Friday was mostly work with one more of the tests ordered by Dr. Sethi. I began feeling affects of the swelling further and further. My challenge was my neck also still hurt quite a good bit. The neck pain is something I often have post migraine. As a result of the neck pain (Dr. Sethi was going to test for a pinched nerve), I was often trying to alleviate it by allowing my wrist and hand to be relaxed in a downward position in my lap or at my side. This quite effectively reduced he pressure and stabbing pains in the neck. So why not do it? I didn’t connect that perhaps the pain at the end of the limb was perhaps the ugly root cause of the awful feeling in my neck. Little did I know that CRPS, this plot’s Jason Voorhees, was first revealing itself in my hand/wrist. I was blind to it. I kept my arm down because it made my neck feel better. I thought I was helping myself heal. Now, I realize I probably was that tragic character who so often you see in horror films and you want to say, “Look right there! Oh no! $#!%, you messed up. Here we go.”

The swelling after each day of work began looking pretty science-project weird. Even trying to wiggle my fingers was becoming increasingly difficult. I could feel heat between the fingers and also sweating. It was a chafing type feeling. The skin on my fingers began to look like I was a molting snake with scales. We were trying the best of my wife’s moisturizing creams and none of them seemed to help keep me from looking so strange. I could hardly eat or sleep though when I did elevate during sleep, it seemed to alleviate some pain and swelling. When the swelling was down, I could wiggle my fingers, not my wrist, and it would be shrieking painful. Writhing in pain day by day wasn’t fun. I had to be strong and tough to power through.

This is starting out like relatively similar to several horror films with the typical young couple living in the nice, proper home in the calm before the storm setting. See?

Friday night is when this movie plot turns dark and violent.

Among Crissy’s many Christmas presents to me, she bought us a date night to see comedian Louis C.K. Fittingly, the comedian is sometimes known for his dark humor. Another odd tie in, some people said I used to look like him...this was back when I had hair. I never saw that. We were seeing him perform that night at Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) Constitution Hall. Comedy, what a poignant outlet for our current situation! We thought about selling the tickets that day though we thought different of it. No regrets.

We arrived a little early and there was still a line to get through security. Surprise! They were filming for a Netflix special.

It was a chilly and windy night that made waiting in line the beginning of the thrilling horror. It was cold enough we needed to wear gloves. I was only able to wear one glove, on my right hand. My left hand was simply too swollen to fit into any of the gloves or mittens we had. It didn’t even fit into my coat pockets. The temperature changes in my skin up against the cold felt as if I had frostbite. My hand and wrist were so cold they burned a raging fire that not even Danerys’s fire breathing dragons in Game of Thrones could match. When trying to hide my hand in my coat sleeve, it seemed to place more pressure on my neck. I felt crippled by pain. I was dying to get inside for warmth and for water to take medicine.

Comedy certainly helps. Louis C.K. was fantastic from what I remember. The humor was dark, shocking, and hilarious which was a welcome distraction…or at least it was when I could focus on the show. I know Crissy saw me squirming in my seat most of the 90 minute set. I began the constant battle between trying to elevate my arm thereby reducing swelling versus taking pressure of my neck. Ultimately, the neck won and the hand lost.

Swelling exploded during the show. I’m talking enormous. I still don’t know why we didn’t take any photos of this. My hand was purple and about the size of a child’s baseball glove. My fingers were stuck together. I couldn’t budge any part of my hand at all. Forget about it. We tried to briefly grab dinner because we missed a chance before the show. That was unsuccessful. We left with me in tears to the point I think I blacked out. My memory literally stops at leaving a restaurant in the most pain I had ever been in my life.

CRPS claimed a victim that night.

Beat CRPS!


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