Tag Archive | pain

Running, running

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Running, running to catch a star
She needs to go, go so far
away
from there and here
she is
Blindly leaping, crazed, and dazed
Idiots they are amazed
by her
They are running, running to catch a lie
stick a needle in your eye
promises broken, again she cries
screaming silently, can’t you hear
from there and here
she is
Running, running to catch a thief
A stolen life, eternal grief
lost
before being found
Her shooting star, was shot down
nearly lifeless to the ground
Running, running, to catch release
She needs to find that life can cease
to chase her
from there and here
She is
Blindly leaping, abused and bruised
lost and confused
seeking
only
peace

Rest in peace, my good boy

This morning I was fairly certain what was to come. I tried to prepare my kids that their dog might not be coming back home. I explained we would try to help, but if the vet thought it was best, we would instead make a choice to end his suffering.

My kids all gathered round and lay on the floor hugging the sick, barely moving dog. They formed a nest around him, each one crying while they petted him. Then it was time to go. Our 10 yr old put himself over the dog and said, “no, you can’t take him, he is not ready to die! I will protect him.”

Oh no. Now what. He doesn’t understand. The other kids do, but he does not, as is usual.

Hubby had to physically pry him off and remove him from the dog. We promised him we would do everything possible to help and would make the best decision for the dog, maybe not for us.

He slammed his door as we left. So angry at us.

At the vet, I minutes later, I said goodbye to my sweet dog. I already knew that the vet was not going to have good news, but when I saw that he had lost 10 pounds since his last checkup it cemented how poorly he has been doing for some time now and made the decision somewhat easier.

He had barely eaten in several days, could barely stand. We were carrying him up and down the stairs to get to the grass. He was not even attempting to stand on his own. He would drink if we brought a bowl and held it just right. His head was stuck at an odd angle, he was unable to lift it upright.

The vet said the vestibular disease could pass…in 3 more days or 3 months if it was an infection, or it may keep getting worse if it was a brain disease. Counting in his confusion and anxiety, and his snapping at us lately, plus the large number of fibroids all over him, we were thinking brain involvement.

If we were able to possibly nurse him to recovery, he would be weakened and stiff. He could barely stand already, with his hip displacement and arthritis. He looked at me, so sad and tired, and I wanted to end his pain.

I signed the termination papers with shaky hands and blurry vision through my tears.

The vet first gave him a sedative. We petted and talked to him while he fell asleep on the table, but cradled in our arms. Then she shaved his leg and delivered a lethal injection. Hubby and I were both crying now. I was using kleenex after kleenex, petting him and rubbing his ears the whole time. Hubby and I recalled happy puppy days and other stories, and then we hugged each other.

After a bit the vet listened to his heart and ordered another injection. She used the other leg. We continued to pet him for nearly 30 excruciating minutes. The vet checked again and said we should go, they would need to administer another injection in the back room, that his veins were blowing and not delivering the full dosage to his heart. She apologized and had tears in her eyes too.

I didn’t want to leave him, but she said she would stay with him herself, he wouldn’t be alone.

So we left. With tears running down our faces. With heavy hearts and empty hands. To return home to our kids.

Our 10 yr old saw the empty leash and screamed, “noooo, you killed the dog” and started crying. We tried to explain that he could never get better, that his brain was sick, and we were being kind, humane, to end his pain. Again the other kids understood, but not him.

I’m not sure how else to explain it. I did not want to lie about any of it or bring home my dog to slowly die a painful death. I know I did the right thing. I’m just not sure middle kid is ever going to agree or forgive me.

I fed only one dog dinner tonight where usually two eat. The other dog looked around the house and at me, sad and confused. I told her, its okay, you will be dining alone now. Go ahead and eat girl. This is going to be tough on all of us here.

Rest in peace my sweet boy. You will always be loved. I pray you are pain free and running happily now. I pray I truly did make the right decision for you. I’m so sorry you are gone. So sorry.

You’re too young for a cane

You’re too old to be this clueless, or insensitive…

You’re too stupid to walk at all…

Those are the things I want to say, but I of course never do, when seemingly harmless strangers approach me as I’m walking along.

Today on the way to therapy a nice older lady holds the elevator door for me to get on. Then gives me that look of pity and the ‘awwww’ sound of pity as she puffs out her lip watching me slowly make my way. As soon as the doors close she says, “sweetie, did you fall and break something? You’re much too young to have a cane”

I tried to smile politely but I’m not sure it worked too well, and gave her the short answer that I have a bad disc in my back. I did not make eye contact and turned away hoping she would know I really don’t want to discuss it.

The whole time I’m thinking was I too young for a wheel chair at age 12 then?  How about the walker and braces? Is it really impossible for someone to imagine I’ve had a spinal cord injury most of my life? That being 39 does not grant me a free pass to great health?  I wonder what age is too young for migraines?  Hell, what age is too young for abuse?

Yeah, I suppose I’ve through many things that I’ve been too young for according to the wild assumptions of others.

Please don’t make assumptions and dumbazz comments to people. Please do offer to hold the door for me and wish me well. I appreciate the help when my hands are full with my binder in one hand and cane in the other. I will actually hope you have a good day too instead of muttering what a sheltered buffoon you are.

Feels like too much

I want to distract myself. I want to drink that whole bottle of whiskey. I want to binge eat. I want to push away everyone I love. I want to run away.

But I don’t want to die.

And that’s progress.

DBT has taught me opposite action, to use self compassion more effectively. I look at the whiskey and I understand why I want to feel numb instead of like this. I don’t hate myself. I understand and hold my own hand. I reach out to friends and tell them I’m having a bad day. I ask for and receive a hug, some virtual, some in real life.

I’ve accepted where I am. It’s not a war zone any more but a construction zone. So pardon my dust as I remodel and rewire. I’m a quick learner…but unlearning…that’s not quick at all.

I’m approaching the one year anniversary of AFs death. Wow. Still putting that in perspective really so not saying anything else about it today.

I don’t often wish, but I wish I could run. I feel like running, lightning fast and free. Limping along with my cane, well, its hard to feel strong enough.

But I am. Because we all are.

Get Out of My Face

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/08/29/anxiety-linked-to-a-need-for-more-personal-space

 

Another study that makes me wonder how much these scientists get paid. Seriously. I’m not sure about the validity of this study overall, but it did give me something interesting to think about. Recording people’s reactions to how far their own hand is away from their own face when stimulated just seems so odd. And quantifying a need for space based on a forced blinking reflex? Come on.

I will say I have definitely noticed that people (me included) seem to need more personal space when feeling any type of anxiety (frustration, pain, worry, insomnia, fear, etc).

I think we’ve all experienced the “Just get out of my face” feeling, maybe not as directly as was tested in this study, but in a more natural setting. When people disagree, they tend to back up away from each other, unless anger or feelings of agression cause them to step closer, and then a brawl or argument breaks out. And any good sibling knows thew power of the “I’m not touching you” poking game. There is only so much tolerance for these types of invasions, and even the sweetest, most patient person will eventually react strongly with a loud and clear “Stop touching me!”

So I have to wonder if these results are more a response to someone who is already on edge, just can’t handle anything else in their face, even their own hand.

I’ve also noticed that pain, which can be a source of anxiety, causes a need for space. I’m thinking this is a deep rooted protective instinct to keep ourselves free from further pain. Maybe an anxious body, is also hyper vigilant, and reduces our tolerance for nearness, thus increasing our perception of pain when it happens closer to our face. I’ve also seen that vision increases pain. Meaning that if you don’t look at your bloody leg, you can keep running, but as soon as you look, panic sets in and the pain alarm bells sound. (From my own experience and watching kids play) Sometimes I think that’s why blood is so bright and red, so we notice it and trigger the right response when we see it. Although some people respond too strongly to that sight too, and pass out instantly, which is evolutionarily not helpful at all.

That’s it just wanted to share an interesting thought about how our bodies are wired up, and how so much seems out of our control where our nerves and responses are concerned. We are a product of our nervous system, and our nervous system is such an enormously complicated beast that we may never understand it completely. So instead, someone (likely our tax dollars too) pays someone else to come up with odd studies like this one to see what happens, and hope something fits in a nice straight line to show a tendency of one way or another towards anything reportable.

Stress, Headaches, and the Miracle of Life

My head has not always been kind to me. In fact sometimes my head is downright cruel. I have blogged extensively here already about the internal working of mind, the negative thoughts, depressive cycles, cognitive distortions, and general stinkin’ thinkin’ I have endured for so many years.

I have not written much about the physical pain my head causes. I used to get migraines so extreme that I would go to the Dr, worried I had a stroke. I can recall the sharp pain, the blurred vision, the tingling/numbness that went down my cheek and arm. And the vomiting. Hours of retching and wishing for death to release me from the torture. That was when I first had Prozac, because I was obviously depressed and stressed out by college classes, my Doctors told me. Partially true. Definitely depressed and stressed – but not by my classes. Although suddenly having to keep a 3.8 GPA to keep my scholarship was stressful, even though I had never had a GPA that low.

Anyways, I had one doctor tell me that migraines were a warning signal and should be taken seriously. He said that our nervous system can only handle so much, and basically a migraine was central nervous system temper tantrum. Like a toddler threatening to hold his breath to get his way, my brain was telling me to relax, or it was going to hurt me. Now I am an unusually quick learner when it comes to most things – except my own brain.

I suffered with crippling migraines all through the years of my first teaching job, where I was still in Grad school, had 2 other jobs, got our first mortgage, got back-stabbed repeatedly by coworkers, and eventually had a complete and total nervous breakdown. I was 24 years old, never had any parental help, managed to get a degree, a husband, a house, a dog, and what I thought was my dream job all on my own. All I had was my strong internal drive to go-go-go. Which apparently has a limit. I ran out of fuel. The stress of my past, combined with the stress of the current (what? problems did not disappear when you graduate college and get a job? I was so disillusioned) was too much for me. I just could not do it anymore. I could not do ANYTHING any more. I called off way too often, and last minute when I could not get dressed in the morning. My principal put me on Administrative Leave and sent me to work in the Admin building and gave my classroom to a sub. My students emailed me and told me how terrible she was and I felt so guilty for leaving them. I did this for 4-6 weeks and finally convinced everyone to give me my class back. Big mistake.

I wasn’t ready to handle it. The other teachers all seemed to abandon me, even more than before, like I was diseased. (Not sure if I only imagined all the conspiracy and avoidance and whispers – My depression and anxiety were severe then, and I was heavily medicated for both. I had panic attacks every time I left home – if I managed to leave home. Then one day, while taking my new dog out for a walk, he pulled me too quickly and I fell on the stairs of my new back porch. Between my weak leg and the snow-covered steps, he tugged and I followed, landing sharply on my back on the steps. It didn’t hurt that badly at first. I was fine. But that night the ache turned into roar, and by the next day, it was a full on scream. I made it to my classroom, because I had promised not to call off any more when they returned me to my duties. I tried to sit in my chair and not move, and eventually the tears started falling.  Not the tears of actually crying, but the occasional tear that leaked out as I tried to hide my misery. Which I could not do. One of my students snitched on me and the principal came in, and told me to go to the hospital. (That may have been my last day in the classroom – strange how I can’t remember) I thought the hospital was silly, but I did get in to see a family doc, who sent me immediately to the hospital for a CT scan. He didn’t quite believe me that my leg was already sluggish and the obvious nerve damage was not recent.

The doctor saw my scans, saw my spine, already damaged from scoliosis, already damaged from the spinal fusion surgery. He saw the huge metal rods along my spine. And he saw my second disk – about to burst. He said he had never seen a disk so herniated without a complete rupture and declared me lucky. He gave me pain pills (which did nothing),  muscle relaxants that were nice but wore off quickly, and said to see an orthopeadic specialist. You’d think I had one, with my back troubles, but see that was a pediatric ortho that did my spinal surgery in 1988 and refused to see me. I tried. So I chose a provider from my insurance book, and hoped for the best, keeping my back on ice and popping muscle relaxers. Things were much better by the time I saw him, but he thought a cortisone injection would help. In my spine. Good God did that hurt! The needle was so long, it seemed impossible to be real. But I felt the cold relief spreading even before he withdrew that freaky needle. I bounced home, so happy to be able to move without tears. This lasted for several hours. Until the numbing agent wore off. And then I was in so much more pain than the original accident ever caused. I panicked. I cried. I completely flipped out. Hubby brought me fresh ice packs, pillows, blankets, food, drinks, and even escorted me upstairs when nature called. I don’t know how long that terrible pain lasted, but way too many hours, that’s for sure. I promptly cancelled the other 2 cortisone shots scheduled in the upcoming weeks. No thanks, I can torture myself in some other way.

At some point in those months, I lost hope. I stopped getting out of bed. All I knew was pain. Pain in my back, pain in my head (though not the acute migraines-more of a diffuse aching headache), pain in my soul. I know it was winter when I fell on the stairs. I know it was a sunny and beautiful spring/summer day when I attempted suicide. I can’t recall much else though. Except that I remember watching ER, and Sally Fields was on there, and her brother (I think) was bipolar and overdosed on sleeping pills. That was what gave me the idea. It sounded so nice to lay down and sleep forever. I remember the calm, peaceful feeling I had when I formed my plan. I was proud of myself for finding a solution. A way to end my painful, miserable, worthless existence – and stop bothering everyone. I didn’t want to burden Hubby any more, and I felt so guilty with all the medical bills when I lost my job and insurance. I thought Hubby could find someone new – someone who could work, who could function, and wouldn’t be such a rotten, terrible bother.

Digging my way back from the pit of despair, I again can’t recall much of those months, even years. So many meds, so many docs, so many therapy sessions. Slowly, but surely, I became ready to try again. I wanted to be alive. I wanted another chance. My internal drive was returning – but I was not healed yet. I still wanted to appear perfect. I suddenly became concerned about the gap on my resume. How would I ever work again? Then I figured it out. No one would have to know of my failure. I figured I could list my employment as a school year, and no one would see that I left a few months early. But I would need some reason to explain why I left. THAT is how I decided I wanted to become a mother. To hide my failure. I figured it would look noble to quit teaching to become a Mom. And so, just a few short months after attempting suicide, I convinced Hubby I wanted a baby, and started a new life just like that. No waiting or guessing for me, first time off contraceptives did the trick. I was relieved, and put myself wholly into being a PERFECT mother.  He did not know all my faulty reasoning, and was just so happy that I seemed to be all better, so he went along with it.

Pregnancy hormones brought along a new type of headache – ocular migraines. I would see these sparkly rainbows crossing my field of vision, but had no pain. I laughed out loud when I self-diagnosed on WebMed. Headaches without pain, and a lovely light show to boot? That was my kind of headache! (Hubby was self employed when I lost my job and so we had no medical insurance for the first pregnancy – I went to a free clinic for the prenatal care, and basically ignored anything else in me unless I thought it could affect the baby)

Late pregnancy introduced me to yet another type of headache. This one was not so fun. This one was caused by high blood pressure, and was a symptom of Pre-eclampsia. No! I could not fail as a Mom. I had to have a perfect pregnancy. I had to. If something happened to my baby, I would never forgive myself. Depression started again. I thought I was stupid and selfish for ever thinking I would be capable of producing something so precious and beautiful as a baby. I started having daymares of mutant, rotten babies.  I was unable to believe something as rotten, worthless, and disgusting as me could do this right. And that I did not deserve my own miracle. I was convinced my baby would be born disfigured and soul-less.  I was off my meds in late pregnancy, and the darkness was returning. I was back to nearly constant headaches and regular vomiting. Doctor said let him know if the vomiting became uncontrollable, and get to the ER, as a sign the pre-eclampsia was worsening. I asked him how I would know that type of vomiting from the already constant vomiting? He said Hmmm, and signed me up for some more tests.

A week or so later, my blood pressure was just staying too high. They had to induce me. Labor was the most painful and frightening experience of my life. Pitocin is an evil creation. The Magnesium they pumped in my veins to lower BP burned. My spinal cord injury made it impossible to push. But somehow, after an episiotomy (another evil word), my baby girl came to be. And she was perfect. But I didn’t get to see her. I was hemorrhaging dangerously. I heard her cry, and heard the Apgar announced – a 10! she really was perfect! but could not see. I was blinded by all the doctors working to save my life. I remember being annoyed that they wouldn’t let me even see her, just move aside!, I remember thinking, and straining to see around them. Of course I got over it once I understood. The headache after delivery was unbelievable. All those meds, dehydrated, high blood pressure, no sleep, so much pain – it felt like a train was running through my skull.

Until someone finally brought my girl to see me. She opened her scrunchy little eyes, and met my gaze. I thought I sensed relief, and immediate understanding – like there you are! Instantly, I felt no pain. I practically heard  angels and harps. She was OK. No, she was better than OK, she was a tiny, beautiful miracle. Sometimes I can channel that moment of in time, forever cemented in my memory, as my place of calm, joy, and happiness. That spark has carried me through the past 10 years of ups and downs, and is my reminder that life is beautiful, even with the pain.