Sunday, August 21, 2011

Again with the pain...

Someone started reading my blog from the beginning.  Egads!  When I was asked a question about something in July 2005, I went back to look it up and was very surprised to see that I was already talking about the cognitive problems escalating.  Surprised and sobered and saddened.  Then, I wondered: Just how many times do I talk about the same topic?  Not sure I want the answer to that one!

Yet there are topics I purposely choose over and over again, primarily because that which I want to say always falls a tad short, never quite becoming that which is in my mind and on my heart. I never seem to frame my world, convey the experience, in a manner fitting the moment, the day, the week. In this case, no matter how much I try to write about pain, it never really touches how I feel.

Twice this week, I have found myself in a battle of despair for the agony of my knees, wrists, elbows, fingers...all the bits of me that bend, I suppose you could say.  The change in barometric pressure from a front passing through is the culprit.  Yet another instance, for me, where there is nothing I can do but endure the moment, the day, the week.

Sometimes, I start downing Motrin or Tylenol or both.  Sometimes, I try something stronger, if I have it on hand.  Sometimes, I think that there is nothing I can possibly do to make the pain easier, better.  Perhaps there is, but I have never found out what.

Those pain scales?  Mostly, I find them rather useless.  I have had one pain or another or many types for so long now that I cannot think of a time when this was not so.  I know that I started Celebrex seven years ago and that was after a few years of trying to deal with the arthritis on my own.  And the nerve pain from Multiple Sclerosis has been a companion since the mid 1990s.  The spasticity in my legs?  How long?  I cannot say anymore.  Though writing those words causes me chagrin since I have not worked on stretching out my leg muscles in months.

The diffuse, constant agony in my joints when fronts pass through, when weather rears its ugly head, is difficult for me to bear.  Christ be praised that not all weather fronts do this!  The curious, ex-professor part of me wonders why this is so, what it is about the weather fronts of this week that trigger the pain.  But would the why really matter?  I cannot affect the weather.  All I really can do is affect how i respond to the weather.  Alas, I fear I do not rise to the occasion in this suffering.  [Bettina, do I get brownie points for NOT wailing to you about this?]

Is it coincidence that this week has also been a week where not a night has passed without agony from my joints of a different nature?

For a while now, I cannot rest my feet on something unless my legs are supported in some fashion or another.  If not, if the weight of my legs is born by my feet and my ankle joints begin to flare in intense pain from being separated a bit, perhaps moving in a wrong direction...the way my knee fails to stay completely together when I am overly fatigued.

That is why I sleep with pillows beneath my knees and arms if I am on my back.  To have my legs straight makes my knees begin to scream in agony.  I have to steel my nerves if I have fallen asleep that way and awake needing to move them.

It is nerve pain that causes my right hand to simultaneously grown numb, stiffen, and flare with agony if I roll over on that arm.  [With the torn muscle in my upper right arm from the pit bull attack, as soon as I roll over, I awake from the pain that still remains.  So, my hand has not been problematic in nearly six weeks.]

Lately, however, I have been having problems with both arms.  Whenever my arms hang off the bed, my elbow joints slowly begin to flare in pain, almost as if they are bending backward.  Move them at that point is almost more than I can bear.  Sometimes I faint.  I never use to find myself with my arms hanging off the bed, and to do so when I have been trying to sleep in the middle of the bed is just plain strange.  So, I am blaming Amos!

Only, to be fair, it happens on the couch as well.  Stretch out my arm as if I am giving blood and soon the pain flares.  Stupid me, by the time the pain is noticeable, it is to late to avoid the agony of moving the joint.  This is because, simply put, I am just used to hurting, every moment, day, week.  Some bit of me or another protests its use or merely its existence. I have become adept at turning the other cheek to those bits.  But with this particular problem I truly do need to figure out a way to notice sooner or avoid such positions altogether.

Pain is a weird companion.  Sharp pain.  Dull pain.  Centralized pain.  Diffuse pain.  Fiery pain. Tingling pain. Girth pain. Intermittent pain.  Constant pain.  You could almost call him dissociative, a companion with multiple personality disorder.  Only he knows who he is.  He is what he is.

I know full well that I have it easy compared to some, especially those with bone cancer.  I know that I also have it easy, per se, for the very fact that I have a fairly high tolerance for pain.  But I tire of it.  I tire of how this wretched companion colors my life, tears at my balance, and turns my mind away from that which I know to be true.

Romans 8:28 does not say that God causes all good things to work together for good.  No, it declares that God causes all things.  All.  What a pesky little word.  There is no way around it, is there?  It is an absolute.  A blessing, really, eh?  I do believe that verse. I do believe all verses.  I do believe in Christ crucified.

Sometimes, when I am over set with pain, I think myself rather churlish for not considering His agony, His searing pain.  I don't know how to see past my own.  I wish I did. Would that it were I could live more in Hebrew 12, fixing my eyes on the Author and Perfector of my faith who for the joy set before Him despised the shame and endured the cross...for me.  The truth is that I am Peter, sinking in the water, begging to be saved because I took my eyes off of Jesus and looked about me.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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