Pain Removal Machine
A thousand Buddhas meditating in my brain could not have stopped the heebie-jeebies crawling up my spine as I drove with Bobblehead to the neurologist. It wasn't just Philadelphia drivers that made my sphincter curl like an angry fist - though they helped. Are people morally opposed to the use of turn signals for reasons I don't know?
This Monday trip to the hospital (after just being there on Friday for methotrexate) starts with a premise . . . Blinding pain is unacceptable.
All the pain is unacceptable, technically, but I have to pick and choose where I will focus and what I will sacrifice to escape it. I am going to yet another doctor in another non-descript building to ask not for a solution but for options. For something.
I'm scared of what I'll hear, but I am counting my blessings even now: this neurologist already knows the deal is hit-and-barf, and that playing doctor is about detective work, not throwing pills at people to stave off a sense of impotency. While I may work from home and set my hours, I still have to make deadlines and produce, produce, produce. That is impossible when my body decides that IV narcotics are the only answer; not only do I miss precious time to screaming and puking, but the hours are also lost to hospital processing and being strung-out on whatever is pumped through my veins. Narcotics are no longer the answer. They lose their punch after too much exposure; like everything else, after a while, they are too tedious. Dilaudid, my former angel, is the biggest slack-ass bore. Even Kevin Federline at his grimiest with Dorito fingers would look competent and motivated next to its lackluster effort. Dilaudid and I have to break up.
Dilaudid: "Why leave? I'm trying my best."
Me: "I think I need to see other drugs."
Dilaudid: "But we've been together for years. You hussy, have you no sense of history?"
Me: "I've changed. You've changed. We have different needs and goals now. I'm not sure what we have in common besides my rusty veins."
Dilaudid: "I think we should give it another chance."
Me: "It's not you. It's me."
There, the death blow. I said it. We are so over. I can't ruin a project/commitment I have from now until March. I can't have my head implode into shattered brights lights as I hurl into paper *and* plastic bags (that's right, I can take them BOTH out) while someone is waiting for me in the lobby. I can't explain to them how neither my arms nor legs are working.
I have to make my options, if not solutions - again. That means being pro-active, so I went to see the neurologist where he ticked off the names of drugs like roll call. I sat at attention.
"Compazine?" "No good." "It's a great drug. Why not?" "The ER has forbidden me from taking it. I shook until the bed rattled and moved on its own. It was not an excellent day for an exorcism. The ER doc gave me the legal limit of IV Benedryll, which didn't make anything stop, and then the legal limit of IV Valium, which means I remember nothing after that. I can remember that even my jaw shook." "Reglan?" "Same deal, but the hospital will use it as long as they give me a shot of Benedryll first so the shaking is tolerable." "Phenergan?" "Made my tongue swell. Is that okay?" "No, no, that's not okay." We had to decide priorities. Daily treatment meant chomping another pill in addition to my cocktail o' joy: more side effects, more possible interactions, more brow-furrowing from doctors in deciding what was really wrong when shit invariably hit the ER. Daily treatment was no longer an option: goodbye, Inderal, you were a great one-night stand who could deliver the ooooo and the ahhh, but you made a terribly grumpy breakfast partner. I won't miss ya. The real priority was decided: fast, acute care to deal with problems as they presented themselves so that I could just get through. We decided that I would take a wallop of prednisone when I felt an aura - whether from a migraine, body pain, continued nausea, dehydration, sleep problems, medication cocktails, whatever. He calculated one milligram to every kilo of body weight. It would be a big dose. I would take two other drugs with it that have both worked at various times to help with pain while not inducing lethargy too badly. They could work together as a triad, as another cocktail. I would break the pain as soon as it presented and then run around as unfettered and hyper as a meth junkie.
So goes the theory. Works for me.
As I left, he told me to call to update him on the results: it might work; it might not. My veins conduct an ongoing chemistry experiment. The point is trying as pain teaches the way.
Photo credit: "buddha gaggle" by Perfecto Insecto on flickr (click on photo for more work by this artist). Permission obtained for use.