Pain management for idiots like me

Person with pill in hand

True confession: last week was miserable, and it needn’t have been. Anyone who asked me how I was feeling instantly regretted it, since I responded by weeping. Sorry for that, dear friends; I wasn’t coping well.

I spent the week suffering through debilitating pain unnecessarily. I know better, and you should too. I failed to follow a critical principle of pain management: catch it early and obliterate it before it consumes you. I am passing this wisdom onto you so you don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t suffer when there’s help available.

Over the past few weeks, I have developed escalating pain in my legs. I don’t know what’s causing the pain, and I’m not sure the cause matters. If it’s a sign that I’m dying, I frankly don’t want to know. Over time, walking and standing became excruciating, and it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep or eat.

Pain is not okay. I cannot imagine the life of a chronic pain sufferer. I was trapped at home, since elevating my legs was the only thing that eased the intensity. Going out doing the simplest of errands, or even being active at home, increased my pain. I couldn’t even bake, which for me is tragic.

I had been trying to manage this pain with over-the-counter drugs, which were helpful initially, but not for long. On Saturday, after a brief walk, I arrived home in such discomfort that I reached for the codeine. Remember how I’d recently given myself permission to take the drugs I needed to manage my symptoms? Why wasn’t I doing that? Because I was an idiot.

I’ve been taking a variety of pills for years, all prescribed by my team of physicians. My granny pill cases are full to overflowing. I take what a doctor prescribes, but I’ve always been resistant to adding to that long list with over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. I had enough toxins flowing through my body on a daily basis; why would I want to add to that mess?

But pills can help. Within half an hour of taking that one dose of codeine, my pain started easing. It didn’t vanish, but it was muted significantly. Why had I waited so long for relief? What was I thinking??!!

My medical team has stressed that I need not experience pain while I am dying. I’ve been offered codeine and even morphine, yet I refused it all since any pain I had at that time was minimal and manageable. Why would I need opioids to manage pain I didn’t have? But I had a prescription for codeine just in case I changed my mind, and it’s a good thing I did. One little pill broke the cycle, and three little pills now gets me through the day.

If you see me walking down the street, I may look a little drunk. I’m wobbly and a little dopey at times. That’s codeine for you. Oh yes, and I’ve relinquished my car keys to J. Reluctantly. Before she had to wrest them out of my hands. Safety first, kids, safety first.

 

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6 thoughts on “Pain management for idiots like me

  1. So sorry to hear you had all that pain you managed to hide it well on Thursday. You are such a giver, never want to bother anyone with your issues except in a well written post. Never forget your amazing strength and courage. PS. Your friends are here to assist you with anything you need . Xoxo

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    • Karen: I had a curious reprieve from the pain Thursday night. The wonderful camaraderie and great food must have been just what the doctor ordered. If I cried Thursday night, they were only happy tears because everyone seemed to be getting along so well and having so much fun. I know my friends would jump if I asked–I am so blessed–but thank you for the reminder. I need a lot of reminders, it seems, to care for myself. XO

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  2. So glad that you’ve seen the light. And please promise me that you would (try to) do everything to maintain the best quality of life possible. 🤗😘🤗

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  3. Annie,

    You are so strong and courageous, J too. I am so sorry about the pain. Pain management is such a difficult issue, isn’t it?!! It is difficult to pop those pills when you are not sure you will feel like yourself or be present. It is also a huge generational thing. We just don’t pop pills like the kids do these days (kidding not kidding).

    I hope you are able to find a balance and something you are comfortable with. Most imporantly, I hope your pain subsides.

    You are amazing and wonderful, you are such a blessing.

    Sending positive and healing energy for the pain. Much love and hugs.

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    • Thank you for all those effusive compliments, Marnie. (Are you sure you have the right person?) It is all about balance, I think, and compassion for myself, both of which I struggle with. Any and all healing energy is appreciated. XO

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