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.