Friday, July 9, 2010

Aches, pains, debates, and birthdays

So here I am, still aching from all sorts of things. There's the surgery, of course. Then there's the left arm, where one of the diloted shots hurt more than on the right arm. Finally, there's my right leg, which is so danged tired of supporting my weight most the the time. By the time I'm done healing, my left leg muscles are going to be disproportionately HUGE.

But this whole adventure into surgery has me wondering at the whole approach to my pain management. I've actually feared exactly what's happened to me. That is, I've been taking powerful pain meds to cope with chronic pain. Along comes a moment in time when I need those pills to work their best, and instead I find that my body has adjusted to them, and that I now need something even stronger. Instant release oxycodone, with absolutely no Tylenol, is powerfully scary stuff. And that my surgeon, a guy who hesitates to write pain meds that strong, was willing to tell me I should take FOUR at each dose is a sign that I've dug an unfortunate hole for myself.

Did I dig it? Or was it the fault of my doctors?

Mind you, the oxycodone has been working wonders for me. I'm siting at my computer desk at this very moment. While I'm in pain, I'm not even close to breaking down into the same tears I experienced on Wednesday night. (Even if I cried a little bit, it would be nothing compared to that night. I was hysterical in my pain.)

An internal debate has begun. Should I ween myself off the narcotics? Should I ask for a rapid-detox by way of chemically induced coma and IV medications to clean me out? Or should I be looking for yet another combination of pain meds to keep me up and running?

I believe I said it before, but narcotics were the last resort. Surgery isn't possible because my feet heal like crap. NSAIDS caused me extremely painful acid reflux. The only other route left was narcotics, and...Well, I can't help but wonder if I leapt at the chance for them a little too quickly. They tend to create a marvelous sense of euphoria, which I'd experienced in the past from other surgeries and injuries. It's not easy to describe the feeling, but it was NIIIICE. And when I was receiving IV diloted while in the ICU about six years ago, I was feeling so good that I was chatting it up with my IV pole. "Hello, IV pole. I love you. You're my best friend in the whole world." (Yeah, I was pretty out of it.) I already knew there was more to narcotics than pain relief; they would also put my in a place mentally where I didn't care if I was in pain.

But I've adjusted to that feeling. I no longer go to a happy place. As far as I know, I just get pain relief.

Or do I? Because of some human need to doubt one's self, I can't help but wonder if my pains are imagined, and that it's my body's way of screaming for the narcotics it's accustomed to. Am I really in so much pain that I need morphine and dilaudid to function?

This is something I need to discuss with my pain specialist. I certainly know that I can't take myself off those meds without seriously endangering my health. My withdrawal symptoms will be extreme, I imagine, and I don't believe I'll be able to do it without help. What kind of help? I have no idea what the doctor can and can't do. Personally, I'd like the shortcut of the rapid detox. But I don't even know if that's a viable option.

And all of the internal drama is really great stuff to contemplate on one's birthday. That's right, faithful readers. It's my birthday. For the 22nd year in a row, I have turned 21! (That would make me 43, much to my realistic regret.) Becky has sent me a gift. And with her birthday coming up on the 13th, I have sent her one as well. The two of us have tried to play the guessing game as to what one bought the other. I think she knows what I got her. But as to what she got me...? She claims my official guess was wrong, so I'll just have to wait and find out.

And now, folks, my knee is telling me that I've been sitting here too long. It's time to lie down and perhaps ice my wounds. Thos who have the sudden urge to send me late birthday gifts...? Well, I'll always accept game cards for City of Heroes or World of Warcraft. Just ask for my address (somehow) and I'll get you that information (somehow).

Be well!

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