Sunday, May 7, 2017

Just Like That

     So, a few weeks ago I was happily wrapped in my soft Star Wars blanket in my recliner, chatting away with my sister in our little chat box online, minding my own business. One of our favorite TV shows was on in the background and my husband was reading his Kindle over on the couch. 
     All of a sudden out of no where I had a searing pain tear through my side. It took away all my thoughts. It was all I could do to just end the conversation and let my sister know that I was retreating to bed. I scooted off to the bathroom, hoping that an over the counter medicine would be able to combat this misery. Then I crawled in to bed and waited for sleep.
     Sadly, I ended up back in my recliner, twisting about in pain, trying to find a way to sit or lie that would alleviate the intense, unending agony. It just wasn't happening. 
     As I was writhing about in my chair, I happened to glance up at the ceiling in the living room. And that was when I noticed the odd stain in the ceiling. A stain like that should not be on a ceiling in a living room, I thought to myself. And then I was done with that thought as there was only room in my brain for the screaming pain that was reminding me that something unhappy was occurring in my side. 
     Fortunately, I recognized the pain. I knew this foe. I also knew that all I had to do was make it until morning and then I could call my doctor. Then I could get an x-ray and hopefully confirm what I figured had gone wrong.
     Little did I know, it would be another whole day before I could be fitted in for an appointment and x-ray. Two days later I was able to be seen by the doctor. And then they said there was nothing visible on the x-ray so a CT scan was needed. 
     Happily, the doctor did prescribe a lovely pain pill. I am a light weight, so it knocked me right out, even at a small dose. And that was why I missed the call later that night that I would be a work in for surgery the next day.
     The surgery went well due to the care of all the nurses, doctors, and technicians. I was back home and in bed before evening. And I was grateful for a new dose of pain medication. There was a whole new piercing pain from the procedure. The medication seemed to smack it down well. 
     However, over the course of the next couple days, it seemed to quickly lose its effectiveness. I called my doctor asking what I should do. The bottle said one pill every four hours. He said I could change it to one pill every three hours if it seemed to be wearing off more quickly or two pills every four hours.
     And suddenly I had more insight in to the slippery slope of how addictions can start. I was stunned at how quickly my body got used to a dose of medication, how I needed to up the dose to find the same relief that would allow temporary escape from pain and sleep. I felt a wave of sympathy and understanding in a a whole new way for anyone that has struggled with an addiction. It was a tiny bit clearer to me how this can happen to about anyone.
     I was fortunate. My healing process followed a fairly typical timeline and I was able to transition from prescribed pain medication, back to over the counter, and then back to needing nothing on an hourly or daily basis. So many people are not that lucky. Their pain doesn't end, not after surgery, not after the bone has supposedly healed, or the last stitch removed.
     I was able to finally focus on other things again, such as why there was the stain on the ceiling. It turned out there was a need for calking along a seam in the roof and a few replacement tiles. One good thing that came out of my nights of misery.
     My healing was also helped by having soothing, purring cats for my lap and some good books to read, to distract my mind while my body healed. A warm, purring cat curled up on the lap is ever so comforting.


     

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dumbfounded: My State Most Days

     Even at my great age (I recently had a birthday) I am still astonished by how much I do not know. This is in reference to things both big and small. On a daily basis I discover some idea, concept, place, or thing that I had no previous knowledge of.
     The other day my sister sent me a link about Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome, AKA ACHOO.
     Now, this is actually not one of my unknowns as it is something that I deal with quite often. It does, however, remind me of a small but important lesson I learned over a decade ago. Or Re-learned. Or was reminded of, as I often forget.
     I was busily working away on the factory floor, helping my team build the headliners for BMW SUVs. A colleague complained that he had a tickle in his nose and really wished he could just sneeze and get it over with. I cheerily told him to just walk over to one of our super bright lights at the end inspection station and gaze up in it briefly as it would surely induce the sinus clearing sneeze he was looking for.
     He looked at me somewhat quizzically. My co-worker Krista asked if I had just gone plain loopy. Now it was time for me to be baffled. I walked over to the light to show them what I meant. I looked in to the light and a sneeze soon followed, just as it does when I exit a dark room/building and walk out to a bright, sunny parking lot, or any other similar scenarios.
     The thing that was most surprising to me was I thought this was something everyone experiences. It was an assumption on my part that it would be common to how everyone experiences the world.
     It was a small but good admonition not everything is a shared event, feeling, or thought. It also reminded me, again, to not make assumptions about what others think, feel, understand, or have had as a common experience.


                                                             

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