Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Should Be Grateful...


The little things in life are sometimes the biggest things we should be grateful for. 
And I am, (however), I seem to lack my gratitude when my pain kicks into high gear -- any type of pain whether it be physical or emotional. I'm only human. In my deepest agony, I fail to see the joys in life, like watching my puppy swim and play in her little pool to cool off, appreciating a phone call from an old friend, a gorgeous sunrise God gives to me every morning, watching thunderstorms rumble through the valley and long conversations over coffee with my wife. I've been focusing on the negatives, noticing what's not there instead, like a new updated oven (it's like the Shoemaker without any shoes if you ask me), a bathroom that needs to be redone entirely, unfinished projects that have stopped due to 'busyness' and of course, my inability to be proactive because of my chronic pain. There are mornings where I can't even wash dishes, cook breakfast for Mad or even just doing the smallest of tasks. I start resenting my life, not realizing how much worse off I could be. I have my overall health, family and friends. I've been getting little messages from God -- as if I've been given the biggest test of all. Within the past year, through emotional distress of losing my dad and then heading straight into chronic pain, I feel overwhelmed. I'm reminded, whatever I resist will persist. A friend said, "Embrace the pain." Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But it makes sense -- like going against the riptide. If you go against it, you'll be sucked into it even more. If you're a chronic pain sufferer, or have been through excruciating pain, you may relate to my next complaint. Have you ever sat there listening to someone ramble off about how you should 'just get through this' and 'it'll be okay' or just thought-to-be cliched words of wisdom of how to deal with your pain, and yet, they have never once in their entire lives experienced what you're going through? I always think, I wish just for a mere two minutes that they can slip into my shoes, then give me their advice. And sadly, there are way too many people who can actually relate to it all. Don't get me wrong, I know people mean well, but it gets very frustrating not being able to relate.

There are times when I get the thousand mile stare from nurses and doctors when they ask, "From a scale of 1-10, where is your pain?" I say, "10" most of the time. They just give me a glazed over look thinking I'm some sort of manipulating drug addict. When they ask me what kind of pain killers I want and then hear, "I don't want any," they step back and do a double take. "Well, how are you managing your pain?" I always tell them physical therapy, meditation and good ol' fashioned breathing. Most will doubt the level "10" pain and just chuck it up to "acute pain", when in fact, I have come to a high tolerance from the "10" -- I may need to up my "dose" on that scale. It's like drinking. You have three drinks a day. You keep that up for a couple of years, and you will find that you'll need a fourth and fifth just to maintain your level of relaxation or...intoxication. That's how it is with most narcotics or opiates as well. What about tolerance of pain? Why don't people in the medical field know that there is a certain level of pain one can go through that bypasses the tolerance level --- so that my "5" on the pain scale would be an absolute "10" for someone else? Like, for an alcoholic, three beers is nothing. For a newbie, three beers would have them drunk and stumbling. My chronic pain isn't only my back, but it stems from my dysmenorrhea that I've had for the past 20+ years now. The pain sometimes leaves me vomiting or passing out from just an overload of torture. This happens for three straight days every. single. month. Along with that comes the peptic ulcers from taking too many NSAIDs. Many times, NSAIDs don't even touch the surface. It's then I have to reach out to a clinic or hospital to get an injection of Toradol. Now I can't even touch NSAIDs, whether orally or by injection until I fix my stomach ulcers.

But, I'm grateful. I've learned a lot during this time. On a semi pain-free day, I'm just happy to be able to get up out of bed and walk. I'd rather have chronic pain than a life-threatening illness. They say that pain and suffering makes us develop "better character". I'm not sure about that since I snap at the slightest of things when I'm feeling my sciatica kick in. Don't even try talking to me when my dysmenorrhea has me curled up in the corner rocking like a mental patient --- you will regret it. It's like coaching a woman in labor on her 23rd hour. You'll be calling a priest. I have to say I still have my humor and I really try to maintain some sort of 'calmness' when things don't go my way, but lately, I've been popping my cork...just a little.
This too shall pass.
There's always a rainbow after the rain.
Whatever you resist, persists.
I feel your pain.
You're gonna feel better.

The only thing I believe is, "by His stripes", whether this pain stays or goes. With that, I am grateful.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!