Been quite some time since I updated. Have a boatload of work to get done but wanted to knock this out since it’s been on my mind a lot lately.
Not sure what happened but the last month or so have been so incredibly painful for me that I can barely function. I used to think I knew what a 10 on the pain scale was (and I still do: kidney stones; but as far as body pain with my hips and spine…yea) but it turns out I didn’t. I’ve had so many days that were excruciating. Topping that is walking has become severely compromised. A few steps and I stop…few steps and I stop. I have to plan every single step, every movement, every twist and turn. It’s a special kind of misery.
I’ve tried not to complain too much to my friends, or at the very least spread out the whining. Some days I just need to tell one person ‘I CAN’T FUNCTION WITH THIS MUCH PAIN’…and then I’m fine. Well, not fine, haven’t gotten the pain out but mentally it feels slightly better.
Combined with the added stress of sick parents, looming deadlines and the holidays – the pain has just gotten to be too much.
Previously, I’ve spoken of how chronic pain drains the life out of a person and makes everything more difficult – even in ways you don’t think of. Here’s an example of a simple task made complicated by pain: Showering
Wake up and need to shower (as I do every day)
1) Sit up on side of bed. Do my hips pop? No? Good. Yes? Damn
2) Stand up. Do I need to use the push from my hands on the bed to push me up or can I can sit up without that? No, I need my hands (damn)
3) Limp over to the hallway bathroom. Lean over to turn on the shower. Is my right leg feeling weak? No? Good!
4) Take my morning meds, grab my Clarisonic and step VERY CAREFULLY into the shower. Turn so my back is to the hot water and let the water loosen up my back and hip muscles
5) Brush my teeth, wash my face, slowly turn to face the water so I don’t slip in the tub
6) Wash my hair, condition. Soap up my body.
7) Rinse my hands of soap…and very carefully place my left hand on the side of the tub and lower my body so the side and sit. Stretch out my left leg slowly. Do my hips pop? Is my groin screaming at me? YES
8) Lather up my leg…stretch to reach my ankles. Reach down and over and shave slowly. Repeat until leg is done.
9) Cautiously Slide foot into a non-stretched out position. Did my Left hip pop? Yes! Twice!
10) Slide right foot forward, then take hand and use it to lift up and rest on the other side of the tub. I can’t lean over and down as I can with my left leg.
11) Lather up and reach forward. Can I reach my ankle today? No. Oh well.
12) Shave until leg is smooth (except the ankle). Use right hand to guide leg and foot back into normal position. Did my hip pop? OMG YES OUCH
13) Put legs together, bracing to stand.
14) Count to 3. Reach forward, hold onto the soap dish in the wall.
15) Pray when I use this to help me stand it doesn’t rip off the wall, and I fall back out of the tub, breaking something and giving myself a concussion and or gaping head wound
16) Count to 5
17) Breathe deeply. Count to 3 again
18) Tell myself I’ll be late for work if I don’t get out of the shower.
19) Count to 5. On 5 Use every bit of strength to hoist myself up.
20) Dizzy? Yes. Shake my head. Rinse my body
21) Turn off the shower.
22) Prepare to step out of the shower; Grab body towel.
23) Step one foot out of the shower
24) Brace myself with one hand on the shower rod (which I know isn’t safe) and the other against the door in a curious twisted manner
25) Swing other leg out. Did anything pop? Yes, hips and left knee. But I didn’t fall. Success!
Yea, by the time I’m done showering I want a nap. It’s almost a race to sit down and do my hair and makeup!
Anyhoo. I had an appointment with my pain doctor (whom I hadn’t seen since October) On December 11. Two weeks prior, decided I could not stand the thought of looking at him when I wanted to punch him in the face so I called the central office to see if I could switch back to my old doctor. I would suck it up and just deal with the longer drive in traffic on 495. Ugh. So they were able to get me in today (the 18th).
I was really nervous. I wondered if he would be mad I changed doctors. I wondered if he was going to question me as to why I wanted to switch back. Mostly, I wondered if he was going to help. It turns out the previous doctor put in my chart that I was having surgery in January. I corrected my doctor today and told him no but I would eventually have surgery. I told him about how much trouble I was having walking and he told me I HAVE to make an appointment to see a surgeon…before my next appointment because he can’t keep doing injections and putting a band aid on a wound that needs stitches.
He examined me, made me walk, bend, pushed spots on my ass and lower back to see if I was tender or if it hurt (it did). Then tried to cross my legs. Haha. My right leg won’t cross. My left will. But that’s not very helpful. In the end he decided on a right side SI (sacroiliac) injection. I signed the paperwork and then we discussed my other medications. I asked if there was some other kind of patch I could try.
Because the next one he would try is dangerous (Aren’t they all?) he would start me out at a very low dose – and by his own admission, it would be low and I hurt a lot, but he didn’t want to dump a lot of drugs into my body that I wasn’t used to. And his main concern was that I would stop breathing at night. Since I sleep alone, that’s a scary prospect. In the end, we stuck with my normal patch…that combined with the new injection *should* help.
As I sat on the table after my (quasi painful) injection I mentioned I loved the numb butt check thing I had going on and wished my right butt cheek was always numb. Hindsight, that sounds kind of dirty. But really, I feel like if that were always numb I could walk!! He prescribed a numbing patch on top of the other things. I’ve got one on now. And yes, my right butt cheek is numb. Good thing I’m not dating a man who likes to smack asses. He would welt me up before I felt anything. Haha, what is wrong with me? Can’t believe I even thought that.
Anyway. I’m trying to feel better mentally, am hopeful that this injection will help (although they usually take a day or so). I’ve just got to get in a better mood. I’ve GOT to get ahead of the pain. It’s like trying to climb a wall and you can’t quite get your leg over the top to get to the other side. I feel like if I could get over that big pain hump I would feel immensely better. Since it’s the holiday season, I’ve been in such a funk. Waking up every day and the pain is so awful you just can’t imagine getting out of bed, much less going to work.
Hell, I’ve even been driving to work. It costs 20$ just to park at the garage! Crazy! But I can’t really walk well enough lately to take the metro. Tomorrow I am taking the metro in. I have a cane, probably should use it…I’ve been getting creative trying to pretend I can walk…pausing and leaning against a building, pretending like I’m checking voicemails or text messages when really, I’m just reading something on facebook or whatever so I can have a minute or two of not walking. When I cross from the metro to the block my office is on, I actually time when I walk down the 4 or 5 steps with the traffic light so by the time I get to the corner, I can wait for a full light cycle. I swear, it’s crazy how creative I’ve become trying to alleviate some of the pain and get through the day.
OK back to work. Thanks for reading 🙂