The uninvited guest.
January 19, 2014 § 15 Comments
His behavior was explained and excused by two words: bad back.
I thought grouchy and mean were more to the point.
I’d never had a bad back, or a bad anything.
I have now had a pain in my side for much of the last two months that no amount of barium swilling has been able to diagnose. Grouchy and mean are beginning to make sense.
Pain in its many forms: maddening itch, burning, stabbing, dull ache, needn’t be acute to change your life, just persistent.
An uninvited guest, chronic pain moves in and immediately rearranges the furniture, plays music that you hate at full volume, and wherever you go, it tags along.
Decide you want to do something and pain will have the last word.
Pain says sit, and sister, you sit.
Lugging pain around I find it hard to care about anything with the usual passion. It is as if I see the rest of the world through a curtain. I’d like to join you guys, but I can’t quite get to you, you seem so far away.
Chronic pain varies in amplitude—almost as if it is trying to lull you. For a little while, the unwelcome guest cuts you slack, and the optimist thinks, maybe he’s moved out.
But pain, at least for me, even when taking a break, leaves a tenderness, like it is leaning on me, as if to say, “Hey, I’m still here.”
I try to elude its attention, and I never put a stick between the bars and poke it, but it doesn’t need provocation. It flares up at its own convenience, not mine.
My husband (bum knees, crushed heel) says that after a while you learn to isolate the pain, put it in time out. Knees, you are no longer a part of this body. Henceforth you will take your complaints elsewhere.
But I have yet to learn to do that, so pain stays with me like an all-day rain.
Pain makes it easier to cry, not about the pain itself, but about everything else. Life suddenly feels like a shaky enterprise barely held together with scotch tape and rubber bands. How does the whole rickety thing manage to keep rolling forward?
The pain-free self I took for granted has taken on mythic proportions. She was so capable and strong, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Carrying the weight of pain I stumble over sidewalk cracks.
And it is exhausting. Mind if I lie down?
I believe life offers lessons. The lesson of pain could be as simple as, hey, you’re mortal.
Maybe each of us interprets the lesson of pain in our own way. My friend’s father concluded that the lesson was, life is a gyp and misery needs company.
I don’t know what I think. Two months in I am new at this, and the pain is not, except at its worst, acute. Some of you would gladly trade pains with me if you could. But those of you who live with this constant, wearing companion, tell me, how do you do it? And what does it mean?
Note: Having finished another round of antibiotics, the shot in the dark when the diagnoses is elusive, I’ve had a couple of nearly pain-free days, although the low ache is still there. While this is probably not a full reprieve I am thankful for the break. Those of you with uninvited guests of your own, may your courage last until the pain goes away.