How Much Can You Take in This Life of Chronic Pain?
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I know this isn’t a contest, thispain-filled life, but there are times it certainly feels like it. Two days ago, I definitely came in last in this macabre race. Chicken Little kept coming to mind as life dropped the sky on top of me time and time again. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” My day began with the usual pain and morning nausea. I stopped taking my methotrexate several weeks ago for numerous reasons, and am still trying to decide if that’s a good thing or bad.
I had to go to the market because we were running low on all staples, especially milk. If you think the sky will fall on my family, it shall indeed if my dear hubby doesn’t have his milk with dinner. He would understand, but it would just be one more of those things that would make me feel like I failed him. I dragged my sorry self out to the car — in the rain — and made a quick grocery run. I always spend more when I’m in a hurry, grabbing this and that without much thought. I had a short list and more than filled it. When I slogged back out to the car, I noticed someone had keyed a nice long scratch down the whole side of it. The car was lovely, in prime condition even though it was used. I don’t know if some moron got his kicks from damaging my car at the market or if it happened out in front of our house and I had not noticed in the rain. I was furious and started throwing my groceries into the trunk. Eggs, what eggs? I climbed behind the steering wheel, sat there for a moment, tryied tocalm my blood pressureand heart rate, and then called my husband at work. I told him what had happened. Why should I be the only one upset? When I heard his voice I started to cry.
This vandalism came on top of dealing with a leaky area on the lower level of our house we’re trying to fix, my last car (which was kicked in the rear panel by another moron, making it difficult to sell), my fatigue from the holidays, and my worry over my spouse’s health. I felt as if I was walking through life with two little gremlins hanging onto each ankle, dragging them along with me every step of the way. There they are, those little devils, cackling away as I scrape them across the ground. Perhaps, sometimes, Chicken Little’s fears come true. It sure felt like the sky was falling and I had the headache to prove it. I hauled in half of the groceries, up our front stairs in the cold and rain, leaving the rest for later. My knees had all they could take. I clumsily dropped a pre-made plastic carton of salsa fresca, spraying it all over the kitchen, and then I began to curse while yelling at the dogs not to step in it or, God forbid, eat it. All I needed at that point was to have dear Annie develop diarrhea; that poor Jack Russell has enough trouble as it is. That’s another irritation. I had made the long trek out to the vet’s to get her medicine and it wasn’t in yet. Splat, splat — another piece of sky falling on my head.
Some days, it feels like that pair of gremlins is following me with a hammer and a nice long piece of string for tripping me up. I know this is all second class worry except for my fears for Jim’s health, but when I feel lousy, everything hits me harder than it should; and my coping skills, usually finely honed, are challenged. I felt teary, empty and angry. Throw pain into the mix and I was one sorry individual.
I hate it when life throws days like that at me and know you do, also. Who in their right mind would like it? Recovery is a must. First of all, I hate feeling thatticked off. I know it isn’t safe for my body, makes the immune system go wild and makes everything hurt more than ever. It also messes with my naturally cheerful nature. Hate that! I have to gain control, calm down and get back on track. I take a deep breath, cry out whatever I need to, and leak out all my frustrations and concerns. Then I blow and wipe my nose and get on with it. I have to keep busy, and if my body rebels, then I give in and lie down for a while. I need the distraction of a good book or an uplifting movie while I rest; otherwise I’ll just lie there and feel sorry for poor little me. “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” Sorry, couldn’t resist.
I give myself permission to be pissed off. Life is full of reasons to be upset. The list would fill this page wouldn’t it? Okay, let’s see: joint pain, dry eyes, trouble swallowing, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal cramps, rashes, photosensitivity, spasms of just about everything from the neck to the rectum, swollen and painful knees and ankles, ass pain, back pain, fatigue, cardiac irregularities and vagaries, and changes in eyesight. All of life’s irritants aren’t health related, as we all know, such as uncaring doctors, rude nurses and office girls, morons who can’t afford a nice car and want to spoil yours, perverts, thieves, and generally disgusting individuals. Like you, I hate the way all of this impacts my life. I’ve spent most of the last 20+ years learning how to “get on with it.”
However, there are days when you trip in that hole in the road and feel like staying there even though you know you can’t. It’s impossible to pull the floor, the carpet or the asphalt up and over your head. Oh no, you can’t get out of it that easily.
I know I’ve said all of this many times over, but it is still true. We have to get up and brush ourselves off and get back into life. I thought it might give you some reassurance to know I am not a hypocrite. I always try to follow my own advice. I’m proud to share with you: yesterday I took down many Christmas decorations, did some stretches,lifted a light weightfor half an hour and remained in a bad mood. Well, three out of four isn’t bad. Life doesn’t come easily. Sitting there and doing nothing is too easy and leads nowhere except decay, depression and the screaming flight away from you of everyone you know.
We all reach our limits and can only take so much before we crack. Cracks can and do heal. As that dear little redhead Annie said, “The sun will come out, tomorrow…” The kid is right. I know it because it’s shining here in the land of green everything — including bricks, sidewalks, trees, porch rails and sometimes, half the dog. Hang in there my friends and I’ll join you.
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