The Agony and the Ecstacy

edvard munch - the scream  1893

I think this guy's feeling my pain

I think it is possible that, were it not for the wonders of modern medicine, natural selection would have done away with my paternal family line long ago.  All have back problems that are temporarily but brutally crippling.

Sadly, I have not been spared from this family curse.  And were a large, carnivorous animal to hunt me in my present condition, I would be much less challenging than your average baby chihuahua.  (Who am I kidding?  Even in peak condition, my only hope against a large, carnivorous animal would be playing dead.  This is why I live in the city.)

Yes.  I have recently been attacked by the evil monsters who lie in wait somewhere around the base of my spine.  What are they waiting for, you ask?  They’re waiting for me to forget they are there.  One moment of complacency, one false move, and out they jump with their brutal vertebral sledgehammers.  And forget them, I did.  I have been lucky enough to not have had a serious back attack in well over a year, and I believe the human brain is designed to block out memories of pain.

Result: very crappy extended weekend spent on the floor.  Actually, not all on the floor; I went to get some chiropracting done, along with acupuncture and massage therapy.  These are interesting therapies, the acupuncture and massage therapies, because instinctively acupuncture is much scarier.  Lots of needles = scary.  Honestly, if I hadn’t already been in a lot of pain, I wouldn’t have considered it.  Meanwhile, massage therapy sounds quite benign, even pleasant.  HA!  The needles are nothing.  You don’t even feel them.  The massage, on the other hand, is forty-five minutes of a thumb digging deep into your spine.  I left feeling battered.

But here is the thing with pain – when you’re in it, you’ll do anything to stop it.  When I am in pain, I am shocked by the person I become, because it isn’t a nice one.  Occasionally I will encounter a lovely human being who will say something along the lines of, “if I could take some of the pain instead, I would.”  As a nice person, I normally wouldn’t be ok with that.  But as a person in pain, I would.  Go ahead, take the pain.  Figure out how to do it and sure, this pain is yours.  I’ll feel bad about it, but honestly, not as bad as I feel now.  Scary really:  is intense pain all it takes to make me a sociopath?  Sort of makes supervillains seem more plausible, doesn’t it?

But under enough pain, nothing is normal.  Of course you aren’t normally going to let a stranger fill you with needles or make your bones go crunch or make you feel like they’re doing that heart thing from Temple of Doom but with your spine.  You will at no other time be reduced to tears by the relief to be provided from a bag of frozen peas.  Or stare in despair at your freezing cold feet because you know there is no hope of getting socks on them.  Or spend half a month’s pay on every menthol-scented anti-pain/anti-inflammatory lotion on offer at the drug store.  (I have a cabinet full of them.)  Desperate times call for desperate measures!

So, I’m in a bit of a state of misery, but so far every time this has happened, it has also eventually ended, so I’m just looking forward to that while making new friends with the dust bunnies under the couch.

But this weekend has also been great.  Because something wonderful happened.  We got up the guts to paint our red walls.  (Yes, we did the dining room like you told us to.  We do everything you tell us to.)  Actually, we didn’t paint them.  We got my extremely clever brother to paint them.  And they are GORGEOUS!  The colour is called cherry berry and it is beautiful enough to make me weep at its loveliness.

So red! So pretty!

So yes, I may be in pain, but pain is temporary.  Paint, on the other hand… ok, paint is also temporary.  But I plan for it to last much longer than my back pain.  And as I lie on the floor, I can tilt my head slightly to the left and see an entire wall that has been painted in my favourite colour in the whole wide universe!  I look at it and my soul lifts and I briefly forget about the pain.

So.  There’s your handy medical tip of the day: red paint = almost as good as frozen peas!

2 thoughts on “The Agony and the Ecstacy

  1. So this was almost a year ago. How are you feeling now? I ruptured a disc six years ago and it was a brutal ten months (the Canadian health care system can grind to a halt when you’re in pain). It’s flared up three times since then, but each recurrence has been shorter than the one before. Could it be that?

    I agree: the red is beautiful.

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