Monday, May 27, 2013

Desperate Times

This blog entry will be scattered with typos and subpar in every regard.  It will have no style whatsoever, unless you consider sophomoric and blasé as a distinct style.  It will be depressing and morbid.  But it will be personal.  And it will be real.  That I can promise with full confidence.

I've had it.  Absolutely, without a doubt, HAD it.  It's been almost ten months since I lifted that old lady out of a chair at a neighborhood garage sale and herniated my disc.  If someone had told me I would still be in pain nearly a year later, I would have screamed.  I'm frustrated, angry and hopeless.  These are desperate times.

I'm willing to try anything it takes to get well, including surgery.  Since this happened, I've seen two chiropractors, one physical therapist, two orthopedic surgeons, one neurosurgeon and my family physician.  I've also seen another boatload of doctors on two visits to the ER.  I've had two MRI's, three sets of x-rays and a bone scan.  I've had two cortisone shots in my L5-S1 disc and one in my left sacroiliac joint.  I was taking Flexeril, Diazepam, Hydrocodone with Acetominophen and Naproxen.  I was icing and rubbing Bio-Freeze into the painful areas.  I was avoiding any activity that hurt me, including sitting or standing too long.  I wasn't driving but on the rare occasion nor doing any of the normal activities people do, like working (my writing has been put on hold) and all but the least vigorous house cleaning.  I've worn a back brace and a sacrum belt.

And the result of all this time, money and energy devoted to my healing process?  None of the above has given me significant relief.  The only thing that has benefited me has been the PT, which I've done religiously every day even when the pain was at its worst.  Thanks to a wonderful physical therapist, these stretches and exercises have strengthened my core -- especially my back -- and my legs.

In addition to the back pain, I've been having hip pain on my left side and feel something "go out" there any time I move my left leg the wrong way, usually too far to the left or right.  This has been happening for about two months now.

Up until two weeks ago, I was making progress.  My back pain was more manageable, and I was in the process of weaning myself off all the meds.  But my left hip is getting progressively worse.  It actually feels like the bone is coming out of the socket and when it happens, it hurts like hell, then creates waves of pain and/or muscle spasms afterward.

I will call the neurosurgeon tomorrow and let him know that the SI joint injection has only reduced my pain slightly and most importantly, it has done nothing to prevent me from dislocating something in my left pelvis and creating more inflammation and pain every time.  I have been wearing my sacrum belt all day, but it does NOT prevent that "thing" in my pelvis from "popping in/out" or at least trying to.

Like I said, I've had it.  I want my fricking life back!!!  I miss everything... walking, writing, taking baths, shopping in a real store (vs. online), holding my cat on my lap, sitting, reclining on the easy chair, my writing workshop.  I miss not having to be careful every minute of every day...  I miss bluegrass jams and drum circles and church and meeting friends in coffee shops and bird-watching and running and riding in the car with David (and sitting vs. laying in the backseat on a row of pillows).

I'm tired of feeling like a completely useless invalid.  I can't sit for more than thirty minutes once a day nor stand for more than ten minutes at a time.  This means I can't contribute much of anything to my marital relationship.  I can wash dishes (IF the pain isn't too bad), do laundry, make dinner, excavate the litter boxes, sew buttons back onto shirts.  But other than that, I have no reason to get up in the morning.

All winter I was stuck inside, unable to walk outside most days due to ice and snow.  So I walked in our basement every day.  Now that spring has sprung and the lawn and trees are verdant and green and the birds are singing and the sun is shining, I can go outside any time I like.  But I cannot walk now, due to my pelvis injury.  Great timing, eh?  Nice. Real nice.  Give it to me and take it away again, that's been the drill.  Why stop now?  Fate, you really know how to beat the spirit out of someone.

Today, my left leg is numb or painful down to the foot or wracked with pain and spasms.  My left pelvis feels like it's coming off the hinge and both the left and right hurt like a sonofabitch.  I am hobbling from room to room, unable to bear weight on my left leg at all.  The pain is off the charts again without meds and barely tolerable with them.  I'm back on Vicodin, which I'd been off of for three months.  I've taken ten steps backward.

My body is broken, but worst of all is that heart is broken.  My writing career was just starting to take off before this injury.  It's been almost a year since I've written anything but the very rare blog entry.  I can do in short spurts, and I don't need to critique while I write.  I don't need to ensure it's good technique.  It's just for me and no one else.  No worries  But it's not fiction.  It's not what I LOVE.  I can't write my beloved fiction.  It requires more concentration and skill and TIME than I can manage because I still cannot fricking SIT.  The sacrum pain, when I do sit, is off the charts.  It's unbearable.  It feels like I'm sitting on an open wound, a broken part.  It's horrendous.  So I keep sitting to a very short time each day.

The other reason I can't write, even were I to try from this position (laptop on my legs, while laying on my back) is it strains my lower back.  It's not a perfect position, that's for sure.  I'm already at my limit right now, and it's only been a half hour.  Writing fiction requires time.  Just one short story takes me ten to twelve hours, and that's on a good day.  Then there are several more days of editing before it's ready to submit.  And most importantly, if none of that were true, I still couldn't write because it's sooo addictive.  I cannot stop when I should.  A new story sucks me in with a great whoosh, and I disappear for a few days.  It's just how the creative process works for me. I have to give in to it or else it's gone.  The magic, the ideas, the flow is interrupted if I stop.  I just can't write fiction in fits and spurts.  It doesn't work that way for me. In order to write my beloved fiction again, I'm going to have to be able to endure at least THREE hours of sitting.  If I can't do that, it's not going to happen.

And last, but not least, there is the pain.  Always the pain. It's my most unwelcome companion.  Pain has taken up residence in me and refuses to vacate the premises.  As long as I'm in this kind of pain, even WITH heavy drugs, my creative flow is altered.  I just can't be creative when I'm in pain.  All I can think about is the pain.  It blinds me to anything else for more than a few minutes.

I have nothing to look forward to, no purpose, no sense of accomplishment for anything since I can do virtually nothing.   I feel like a pathetic, worn out old woman, crawling from one day to the next like a rusty roboton.  From time to time, I feel a surge of hope and my step gets a teensy bit faster, and I do a joke of a dance, like a fragile antique puppet on a frayed string.  Why do I keep moving?  Because I'm supposed to.  I'm trained oh so well.  Keep going, you must always keep going.  My husband says, "Don't give up.  You have to keep trying."  Yeah, right.  That's worked so well up until now.  Maybe giving up hope, giving up trying is the way to go.  It's definitely less stressful, and they say stress impedes the healing process. Hey, maybe I'm on to something.

It was a good life, and I want it back.  I've given up hope.  It's too painful to feel it surge in my chest, full of promising visions of vitality and normalcy, and then wave it goodbye as it's snatched from my arms once again.  I finally realized yesterday that nothing I've done, nor do, will affect change.  The only thing that has or will make a difference is TIME.  And how much longer it will be is a knowledge forbidden to me.  I have to just suck it up and wait it out.  Continuing on this roller coaster ride of hope and dashed hope and hope and dashed hope is too painful.  I give up.

Do you hear me, God or fate or whatever and whoever is in charge of this measly life I lead?  I give up.  You win.  You're in control.  I get it.  I'm here in this pathetic non-existence and wracked with unimaginable pain, day and night and maybe there is a reason and maybe there isn't.  Maybe it's just for kicks, a source of entertainment for someone.  Maybe I'm being punished for all the horrible, thoughtless, selfish things I've done.  Maybe this is my comeuppance.

Maybe my house is haunted or some evil spirit put a hex on me.  Yes, maybe I am cursed.  Hey, it sure feels that way.  And it's not just the injuries that make me consider this.  Lately, everything I touch crumbles into bits of nothing.  Everything I attempt to do backfires.  Everything I touch breaks.  Every time I try to communicate I am misunderstood.

Friends and family have begun to give me that look or that silence, both of which say, "What more do you want from me?  What more can I say?  I'm tired of saying how sorry I am, you poor thing.  Jeez, get over it already.  You obviously don't want to get well or you would have by now.  Maybe you're just looking for attention.  Your serving of sympathy has run dry.  Enough already!"

Yes, I hear this every time they don't answer the phone, every time I leave a voice mail message or send a letter, every time they say they're busy and can't talk right now, have to get back to their nice, normal lives.  I hear it every time I send them a card or gift and don't hear back.  I hear it every time I spread my guts on a platter and everyone looks away in disgust.  "Get a hold of yourself."  "She's obviously unstable."  "She's so stressed out.  That's the reason she's still in so much pain.  It must be psychosomatic."  "Yes, maybe she's imagining all of it.  It's possible.  It makes sense.  Snap out of it, already!  We're tired of hearing you whine.  Can't you find something nice to say, for God's sake?"

I don't blame them.  I'm sick of me, too.  I'm certain that my level of flabbergastedness with myself is miles higher than anyone else's.

So I say -- Get on with it, God!  Slice me up and feed me to the birds already.  End it.  End me.  If that's your plan for me, can't you just move it along?  What a cruel god.  He plays with me like a curious little kid with a bug, holding a magnifying glass at just the right angle to burn the writhing victim below the glass.

Like I said... I've had it.  Done.  Finito.  Over and out.