Years ago I had a fantasy.
I imagined myself on a massage table having all my troubles soothed away by an experienced masseuse in a fancy spa.
It has to be great right? For years everyone I knew talked about how they felt limp like a noodle when their massage was over and how for days afterward they felt so good.
My 17-year-stint as an entertainment writer at a daily newspaper meant I got to work as a film critic. I saw a lot of movies before they were released to the public and given opportunities to interview the cast and crew of the films at junkets held all over the country.
One day I found myself in a five-star hotel to interview Jim Carrey for “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
I had several hours before my one-on-one interview with the comedian, and the movie publicists suggested I see if I could get a massage at the spa inside the hotel.
I called and not only did they have an opening, they had a woman who would come to my hotel room and give me a massage there. How could I say no?
After the massage table was assembled, I laid down on it and prepared myself for an hour of bliss.
I was gravely disappointed.
From the moment she began, so did the pain. Everywhere her fingers dug in felt like she had gone right through my skin and was shredding the muscles, tendons and nerves.
Since I’d always been told my neck and shoulders were hard as rocks, I hoped it was just hurting because I was tense there.
I didn’t know about Fibromyalgia at the time, but I got an unforgettable lesson on anatomy in that hour.
And sadly, since I’d never had a massage, I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to hurt like that. I lay in agony the entire time, thinking at some point the pain would end and the bliss would start.
I was living a minute at a time. I believe that if you can survive a bad thing for one minute, then you can do it one more minute, then another.
When she finished, she told me to take a hot bath and drink lots of water to wash the toxins out.
I did, and it didn’t help. In fact, I hurt more, and I stiffened up.
Limping into the hotel suite later to meet and interview Jim, I was miserable. I hid it and managed to laugh though his antics and his answers to my questions. Yes, he was funny, and was charming as well, but I barely remember it. I couldn’t forget the pain.
I found out later I had gotten a Shiatsu massage, which is a Japanese form of rigorous massage where the fingers apply pressure to acupressure to points for physical relaxation and to reduce stress.
I have had massages since then but now the first words from my mouth are to explain I have RA and Fibro so they can be careful and do the best they can to work around it.
I’ve never felt the bliss of a good massage yet, nor have a felt like a noodle after one, but I’m hopeful one day I’ll get lucky.