Some days the title of this post would be Dying With Chronic Pain.
For the past fifteen years I have been on a down hill path health-wise. Fibromyalgia. MS-like neurological problems. Cognitive impairment. Osteoarthritis. Knee problems. Lower back problems. High Blood Pressure. Diabetes.
The one constant is pain. There are no pain-free days. There are only less-pain and more-pain days. No matter how the pain is treated….narcotics, muscle relaxers, exercise, TENS unit…..it never goes away. All that can be hoped for is a lessening of the pain so that I might live another day.
Some of you know what I am talking about. You are where I am. You know this path quite well.
Some days, like today, I get bursts of adrenaline that make me think I can do whatever I want to do. For about 4 hours I was busy, busy, busy. I even drove the car. I worked in the garage. I attached my “new” router table to the work bench. I put my OCP personality to work and straightened up the tools. Wow…..how neat and ordered things look.
And then everything came crashing down. The adrenaline was gone. I had done too much……time for more medicine. Time to try out the new drug the doctor gave me yesterday. To the recliner. Time to watch a few basketball games. Then on to 2 episodes of Glee. Surf the web on my iPad. I want to buy a telescope. Which one? How much? I read a few articles in Astronomy magazine. Why all the sedentary busyness? Simple. Anything to take my mind off the pain that courses through my body from my head to my feet. Every joint is screaming …….the muscles are crying for relief.
Finally, I am just tired. The narcotics are finally working and the new medicine is calming the muscle spasms. Tired, but not ready for bed. No, that will be 4 or 5 hours from now. Sleep never comes easy. Sometimes, like last night, it doesn’t come at all. Oh well, try again tomorrow, I tell myself.
Some days I try to fight against the diseases that are trying to strangle life out of me. I do silly things. I refuse to admit that I have health problems. I will buy books I know I will not be able to read for a year or two. I subscribe to magazines, knowing that I will never be able to keep up with them. I take Polly out for the weekend. We paint the town. We have lots of fun. I know I shouldn’t. I know there is going to be hell to pay. Fuck it, I don’t care.
I often fight with the way things are. Dammit, I want things to be how they were before I became sick. My counselor often reminds me that one of my biggest problems is my refusal to embrace life as it is. Guilty!
A year ago we started remodeling our bathroom. 12 months later? Still not done. Almost…..The basement stairs and utility room remodel? 2 years and still not done. Almost….My medical doctor tells me that this is better than just giving up. I suppose he is right but some days it seems like I am just adding to a pile that I already find insurmountable. But then I think…what’s the alternative?
That router table I mentioned above? Bought it four years ago. I had big plans…….Yeah……My kids laugh and tell me to keep on buying. They look forward to inheriting all my new tools some day.
Some days, all the books, magazines, tools, and projects do nothing to assuage the depression and despair that overwhelms me like a tsunami. The days that start and end in bed. The days spent in the recliner with barely enough strength to operate the remote.
Give in? Already have. Give up? Not yet.
Besides, I am taking Polly to Lake Michigan on Friday. Yes sir, we are going to get in the car and drive…….We plan on seeing a Lake Michigan sunset. We are going to eat out. We are going to make the most of the day.
Then it will be pay day for Bruce. Polly knows. I know. She tells me……we don’t have to. I say, but I want to. We only live once. Life is short. Besides, this may be the best day I ever have. I can see the future. I know that my days of pained mobility will one day be days of pained immobility. Some days it already is. Wheelchair. Cane.
I don’t know how to live life any other way than I am living it. Up. Down. Backward. Forward. Backward. High. Low.
Polly is home. Time to smile and tell her what a wonderful day it was.
She knows I lie.
(This is not a plea for help, prayer, or medical advice. This is just me talking out loud to my friends.)