living with the greatest evil

Saint Augustine once said, The greatest evil is physical pain, and all I can say right now is preach on good saint!

I like to imagine that I can handle pain. I mean I have birthed babies with no pain meds on board. I road a bike from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene and back the next day with my right arm in a cast. I’ve run my fair share of half marathons. Come on, surely I am capable to handle a little pain and survive.

But time, spondylosis, and osteoarthritis is telling me otherwise. Forget an exhilarating 5K run to start the day. The same goes for a slow walk around the park just around the corner from The Big Top. Reach for that salad bowl on the top shelf or bend down to tie my shoes guarantees the constant throbbing to amp up to knives stabbing the spinal column, hips and knees. The 20-30 commute to work just might kill you were it not for the salvation of the heated seat in that fun-sized Dory-car. The pain of swollen fingers,, hands, wrists and elbow promises that sleep will be interrupted numerous times through the night…or day for this night shift nurse. Yes, I tell my ortho doctor, I do take THAT much Naprosyn daily – my stomach is fine, for now. Late at night, as I attempt to console a baby born addicted to opiates because of mother’s addiction, I find myself having a better understanding sometimes what that mother must have been living with and trying to erase with prescription and illicit medicating. I’m still Team Baby, but as my back, neck, shoulder and elbow scream in protest while I hold their baby in comfort from their own withdrawal pain, I can imagine wanting to do just about anything to make this pain stop.

I’m working on it with the help of my ortho and pain specialist doctors; but this chronic suffering did not come about overnight so I imagine that relief or adjusting to a new normal that I can live with, work with and play with will take time too. I tell myself that. I tell myself that a lot – every day, every week.

Today though, today was not a good day because that chronic pain is peaking with no relief. I might have ugly cried at least three times – driving home from work this morning, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep this morning and waking up just an hour or so after falling asleep to that same pain. Days like today, and last night at work can be much too much sometimes.

But hurray for a new ball cap representing the fact that I am just a Steeltown girl and that, in spite of the pain, I woke up like this.

You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and…you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way. ~ Elizabeth Taylor