Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pain Hurts

I am confounded right now by a cascade of problems with pain.  Not just a torn rotator cuff that looks like it would not be amenable to surgery, and besides, I have a more important surgery to do.  Back pain. Sudden physical limitations.  Limited use of left arm.  Limited ability to pick things up off the floor.

I was almost unable to get off the floor today when I lay down to meditate in the most painfree position, flat on my back. Driving hurts the shoulder.  Typing hurts the shoulder.  No wonder I'm depressed.  Here's from Wikipedia on the subject -
Experimental subjects challenged by acute pain and patients in chronic pain experience impairments in attention control, mental flexibility, problem solving, and information processing speed. Acute and chronic pain are also associated with increased depression, anxiety, fear, and anger.
So at least I'm normal.

And about pain medications . . . There is a whole raft of things I can't take as a kidney transplant patient.  No Nsaids, no fancy things like Celebrex.  No steroids since these problems seem to be weakened tendons.  I have opiates, limited Tylenol, limited Neurontin.  I am willing - grateful - to use things that help.  But I was still awakened early this morning by pain.  The more you hit pain with opiates, the wierder your mind feels.  I like a crisp, clean mind, able to perceive, to think.  This is a strong preference.

In my fashion I have done things I could think of to do about this.  Ordered a big moist heat pad for my back.  A hot or cold pad for my shoulder.  Figured out a way to wear a bra for a limited time without further hurting the shoulder.  That's progress.  Made an appt. with my wonderful acupuncturist, the doctor who brought me flowers in the hospital, he and his nurse.  All excellent things.  Oh, and joined a health board where a forum on pain looks promising.  Yes, and wrote my transplant e-list and figured out that my new hot flashes are probably caused by the Vicodin. None of these actions have lifted today's depression.  Which may in fact be caused by the Vicodin.

I certainly know more than I did about chronic pain and deep pain and disabling pain.  This is serious.  This is aging.  It happens to everyone who lives long enough.  I don't know any guidelines to offer other people.  I am walking in the dark, one step at a time.  And I guess all I have to offer today is my experience.  I could say some Buddhist things about it being an inevitable part of life.  I still don't like it.

1 comment:

  1. I don't much like pharmaceuticals for pain. The side effects are often just as bad or worse.

    I could also say some Buddhisty things, but seriously, that wouldn't be much better than offering Tylenol.

    So, I'll just say - keep finding comfort and joy in the little things. And take care.