I never thought I'd spend so much of my time writing about pain. Looking back over the years I've been blogging - since 2008, though those old posts don't exist anymore - I can see that by far, most of my posts have been about pain, either emotional or physical. I used to write about emotional pain - the result of abusive relationships, loss, and sexual violence. These days I'm more caught up in physical pain, though emotional pain still has it's unfortunate place.

When I was a kid, I mostly ignored pain. I was raised that way. If I complained of a headache I was invariably told, "you're too young to get headaches" and I went on with whatever I was doing. Obvious sickness received whatever treatment was necessary. My parents were not cruel, but they were practical; they knew that working on a farm was physically difficult and that injuries would occur and that pain would be a fact of life. They trained me and my siblings to work through and push past pain that wasn't debilitating. That's a good thing, and it has taken me through some really difficult times. But it is also not such a good thing, because I still tend to ignore the warning signals my body sends in favor of just keeping on.

Case in point: At the first of April, I knew something was going on with my body. Vague pain in the middle of my back plus twinges in both sides along with generalized nausea whispered kidney infection, but I ignored it. I had a work-trip coming up that I really wanted to attend and I did not want to stop and do what needed to be done - rest, push fluids, and see my doctor. So I just pushed through the pain. During the trip, my RA flared, but I'd had the foresight to bring Mobic with me. It is the only NSAID I've found that actually helps me feel better, but the downside to that is it makes my stomach lining bleed. Still, I knew I could get by with taking it for a few days and that I'd be able to function if I did. So I took it. By the time I got back home, my stomach was in knots. My back still hurt, and I was still having flank pain, but I had a full week ahead, so I kept going. I pushed past the pain. I got to work every day, in spite of fatigue and fever. But by the middle of the week, I couldn't keep food down. That was partially due to a severe emotional shock I received, but was just as much due to the kidney infection, which was raging by that time. By Saturday morning, I hadn't eaten more than a couple of bites in three days. Liquids wouldn't stay down either. I ended up in the ER on fluids for most of the day because I was dehydrated. I received Rocephin and Levaquin for the infection. They sent me home around three o'clock. I was in and out of bed for several days before I was finally back on my feet. I lost time at work, I lost time with my kids, and I felt terrible. How much better would it have been if I'd just dealt with the infection when it first started showing symptoms?

But I didn't. Many of us don't. We are accustomed to soldiering on. Life doesn't stop just because we get sick. There are still bills to be paid. Work to be done. Kids to be cared for. For the last month, I've wanted nothing more than to go to bed and just not get up again until the issues in my life are resolved. I don't want to face the morning when it comes. I don't want to go to work and I don't want to stay at home. I don't want to eat or drink anything. I don't want to see anyone. But I paste on a smile and I go to work and I do my job, I swallow some food because if I don't, I won't be able to continue. I drink water to keep my system flushed out so another infection won't start. I drive, I walk, I pick up groceries, I come home and cook, load the dishwasher, and hang out with the kids until about nine o'clock, when exhaustion sets in and I go to bed. Then I lie awake more often than not and wait for the morning. Pain is my constant companion these days, and it doesn't like me to sleep or get too comfortable. My Rheumatologist prescribed prednisone two days ago, and that keeps me awake, too. I just hope it helps with the pain.

In case you were wondering if there is a point to this post, there isn't. It's entirely pointless, just so you know. My back hurts, my hips hurt, and my left shoulder hurts so much I can't raise my arm on that side. That makes driving difficult since I've always primarily driven with my left hand. If it gets worse, there's no way I'll be able to come into the office tomorrow. Pain, pain, pain. It's a dreary desert and it stretches out in every direction with no relief in sight. I've lost my oasis - my safe-place that kept me going for the past year is out of reach - and I feel like I'm dying of thirst. There are so many things I want to do that I just can't - finish weed-eating, plant some ivy, dig out the leaky pipe near my water-meter, stake out and start leveling the area for a patio in the backyard. I wish I could just push through this and do what I want to. But my body says "no" - says "rest" - says "stop" in no uncertain terms. I don't have a choice in that most of the time, but it is so hard to just give up on the things that matter to me. I guess I'm going to have to re-examine my priorities. One of them should be finding a way through this dark cloud of depression that's settled in over my life. It expands the pain, feeds it, and allows it to become all-consuming. I'm ready for some time in the sun.


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