Trying out a pain patch this weekend. Pretty interesting. I have been very relaxed (physically) this weekend, although I feel loopy enough to get kind of cranky at times. All of my pain – except my damned right shoulder – has been removed. It is amazing though that the only thing that will make my shoulder stop hurting is prescription strength Ibuprofen multiple times a day. Nothing – not one of the powerful pain killers I have been taking seems to be able to lessen the pain in the right shoulder, and I have been taking double doses of each! Holy crap, that will tell you something about the type of pain I have. No massage will loosen it up, no pain killers will touch it, in fact the only things that will help it are anti-inflammatories and acupuncture. Luckily I can afford the Ibuprofen right now, and soon I may be able to get back into acupuncture again.
It has been a good weekend just being able to reduce about 75% of my pain issues. I get about two hours of relief for every Ibuprofen I take, so that ends up being about six hours each day nearly pain-free. That is one thing I really do appreciate about the pain patch is the constant relief – no peaks and valleys between doses. Unfortunately, it is not something I can do very often because it is meant to be on for 72 hours, during which time I cannot drive or do anything that is remotely dangerous, so I will probably only take it in the future when I am in really dire straights.
That is really what a life of chronic pain is all about – compromise. You do the best that you can but often it is the lesser of multiple evils. Pain relief means reduced mobility – no driving, no outdoor adventures, and not much of a brain either – although I am writing this under the influence of the patch and (I think) managing to be fairly coherent. I have learned to adjust to doing things while under the influence of whatever pain relieving drugs I am on. I used to never read or write while high, but now I have figured out how to do it out of sheer necessity.
I don’t like admitting that I have to do all this, but at the same time I am not ashamed. The options are a life of sheer agony, pain and exhaustion. Drugs actually give me a higher quality of life simply by reducing my pain and allowing me to function. There are worse things than addiction, in my opinion. The pain I have suffered made my life a living hell, and there were many, many times (especially in Winter) when I was truly close to suicide. Drugs have given me my life back.
Yet despite having to engage in what I have termed “enforced drug addiction”, I live a pretty productive life. I am a loving father who takes great care of his kids, a devoted and loyal partner to Brook, a successful mountaineer and rock-climber, a published author, a budding film maker, and when my pain was not as severe as it is today, a great employee. Now I am doing pretty well in school, I write excellent papers (I have gotten A’s or B’s on virtually every first draft of every essay I have written in writing 121 or 122). Believe me, if I could make my pain disappear, the pain killers, the anti-inflammatories and patches would all disappear with them. I still have hope that someday I can live like that.
I am thankful to have this relief. At this moment, sitting here at my desk writing, I feel almost no pain. If I didn’t have the patch on, if I hadn’t taken an Ibuprofen an hour ago, I would have pain levels that would probably keep me from getting up and writing, I would probably be on the couch moaning and not doing anything.
A good weekend. A weekend with less pain.