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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Still in recovery from my opioid pain patch, meaning my feet feel squirmy and I feel a little sick -- though I'm not. But a lot better than last night, which was seriously bad news.

I don't want to imagine what it must be like to go off a morphine drip after, say, a major operation. Not to mention going off junk. When all you can think about is your pain, or your addiction, I'd call that hellish. It was borderline hellish to go off a few milligrams of fentanyl. And yet there really wasn't a better option when my shoulder started freezing up -- that was almost hellish too.

Chronic physical pain seems to be something we don't talk about onscreen much. What is there to say about it? It's not a story point. What someone will do or refuse to do to avoid acute pain when they're being tortured -- that's the materials of story. But ongoing pain that just simply makes life worse, I rarely see. (The only thing that comes to mind is Big Pussy's bad back, which nearly got him whacked because his pals didn't believe it.)

If you're in pain, you're not supposed to whine about it. No one really knows how much someone else's pain hurts. Is it that bad or are they just being a sissy? I consider myself to have a fairly high tolerance for pain, but when my frozen shoulder had me crying, I wondered if that was true.

So pain is invisible for the most part to people who aren't in pain. And yet a lot of people are in chronic pain. They're practically an invisible minority, to go by the sales of painkillers. How are their lives different? How are their stories different? What stories are we not telling when we forget about them?

Something to think about when you walk the dog.

Oh, and if you have a really, really big dog, and you have to yank on his leash -- put the leash across your body and yank that way. Do NOT yank from the shoulder. Trust me on this one.

4 Comments:

Oh, you poor, poor thing! I just got this image of you huddled in the corner of your bedroom with a blankie clutched in your white-knuckled grasp, rocking back in forth in a cold sweat muttering: "no pain no pain no pain no pain no pain..." to yourself in a haze of delerium.

Well, that's pretty much what I do when my back flairs up -- and I've been feeling a bout coming on over the past couple of days.

KJC (who hopes to God she'll be able to get out of bed tomorrow)

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 12:12 PM  

In my case, my dog did the yanking, and it wasn't my shoulder, it was my ribs. They took my full weight as I hit the ground. I'm pretty sure they broke, because my left side is now configured slightly differently from the right, and it hurts when the weather changes.

I vote we give the opiates to the dogs.

By Blogger Marc in MD, at 2:49 PM  

May I also add, do not show your kid how to use a Tarzan swing if over the age of 40.

It's not just the shoulder capsule damage, the buildup of scar tissue, and the subsequent physiotherapy to break it down -- even if your physio is as cute as mine was. I mean, guys pay women like her to be handled like that.

It's the fact that you've now supplied your kid with a hilarious story she'll be retelling forever.

By Blogger Stephen Gallagher, at 3:02 PM  

Check out House season 1. They do a great job delving into that stuff.

By Blogger blindmind, at 8:45 PM  

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