On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 1:09 AM, Gary wrote:
“I hope that you are healthy and enjoying life.”
Can’t say I’m unhappy. My inner world is calm and often cheery. That’s a sad irony though, because pain in my body often stops me in my tracks.
And lately a new twist appears. You can find me grimacing in the grocery aisle holding onto the shelving with both arms trying to stretch out massive cramps that suddenly attack my thighs and back. The pain is so damn hot. Muscles tighten up, clamped stiff, and so damn gripping painful. When do I say “off the scale”?
I put a bar across the bathroom doorway and rush to hang off it as soon as I feel a ‘cramp session’ arriving. Writhing in a doorway. Nuts, I say to myself. Hanging off a bar, twisting and stretching my legs and body parts as far as I can into the air or across the floor in a lame effort to stop the cramping. My back, abdomen, legs, feet are on fire. My face is twisted. Heavy cramping pain attacks me. Day to day is different, yet several times over 24 hours smothering pain can hit hard. No photo. Can’t film it. Too ugly. Within three, four, five minutes, as if a switch somewhere in the vast snarl of cellular proteins, calm returns to these rabid muscles. My mind clears, no longer in a damn cauldron. Pain goes down. I can stand up.
I try to put away my utter confusion about the last 2-3 years. What kind of disease is this? I remind myself I have university ties. Half dozen known and renowned docs and neurologists well-versed in the sour academy of pain. Dozens of vials of blood show me healthy. Tests show I’m a healthy guy. Ultrasound and CT scans show me healthy. Not even a speck of cholesterol; “Not a speck.” Pelvic, thoracic, neck and brain MRI; hours in that clackity-clack tube show I’m healthy. Doctors shrug their shoulders and say, (oh it’s terrible to hear it), “There’s nothing I can do. You’re one of the tough ones.”
I’m not anxious or compulsive or blue, although any amount of morphine seems to bugger decision making. I try to get out, to walk half a block, drive to a deli; can’t sit through a movie, can’t eat out in public. Pain cycles up and down and will hit so hard there’s no chance of a movie or a meal. Almost all day every day I’m reclined, switching TV channels, cruising the Internet, or drifting off in morphine somnolence. Sold the Honda scooter. Put disability plates on my truck. I can hobble for an hour or so. Buy my own groceries. Pick up a pizza.
There’s three implants in my body for pain. First, a neurostimulator tries to confuse pain signals picked up by my brain. Two, a pain pump dribbles a recipe of opioids directly onto my spinal cord. A third implant is a pacemaker so the dope won’t slow my heart too much. (Worried about being unable to stay awake, I drove to the ER two months ago to find my heart beating less than 30 times per minute. They installed a pacemaker. “Three implants,” I tell ’em in the waiting room, “and room for more!”
I’m hovering at the lonely ends of the Bell Curve. Hot chainmail wraps my feet and legs with pain. Drugs barely cut the peaks or spread out the boilings. Tortured and there’s no cure. No other word for it. C’mon? Any suggestions? Pain is constant. It’s generally 3-4-5 on the pain scale. Regularly jumps to 6-7-8 pain on the scale of pain. As if a bomb, ‘curling-up’ pain drops onto me unannounced 24 total-disability hours a day.
There’s rain in California. The cows across the street are calm. The boxer dog at the gate waits for a treat. Refrigerator is cold. I’ll always miss my wife. I’m sixty-seven this January and except for this nuts serious Peripheral Neuropathy, I bet I’m younger than many my age.
After it’s all been said and done as they say, all in all as they say, I am enjoying life.”