Sunday, June 10, 2012

The world through pain-colored glasses

I didn't know I'd been wearing them until my wheelchair ride last week.

That cortisone shot? Supposed to last three months? Six months, even! "I've never seen it last less than two months," the doctor said as he stuck the needle into my knee.

Well, welcome to my world. Two days. Yeah. Two days. Long enough (since I am ever the resilient optimist; what's up with that??) for my hope to kick in. Two months of this? Terrific. A neoprene brace on my leg. Left the mechanical monstrosity at home. Not feeling perfect... but...better. Better? Better!

Sure. For a couple days.

Monday morning the ache was back. It hurt to stand after I'd been sitting a while. Then the same old crap, only worse. Aching at night. Barely able to hold my weight if I sat a while at work.

Despair. Then resolve.

Marched (read: drove) to have the x-rays my dr had ordered. Let the valets park my truck. Demanded (read: asked for) a wheelchair. Tootled off into the maze of floor tile and carpeting, the vaulted ceilings and cubicles that make up the rabbit run of the clinic (and hospital). Floor numbers and colors.2 purple, was it? I'd worn shorts, prosthesis and monstrosity ('Run-Forrest-run!") brace. I received the respect I've always known I deserve. A guy held the elevator and motioned everyone out of my way.  I managed not to kneecap anyone with the foot rests of my fine machine. I'm still fluent. It's like riding an everlovin' bicycle.

But I couldn't figure out what was different. I was the most cheerful gimp in the x-ray waiting area. Growling, snarling, shuffling around. Not me.

No pain. No pain.

The knowledge slapped my face. Pain has been the warm water in my pot that finally approaches boiling. Pain has worked from a faint hum to steady drone, infiltrating my life, hijacking my plans. It wears me down until I'm tired and grouchy, depressed and downtrodden. It makes me grim.

There's a test you can do on a horse-for-sale if you think it might be lame. (DISCLAIMER!: NEVER buy a horse that seems unsound! ALWAYS have a vet check the horse! And whatever you do, DON'T buy one with three shoes...but that's another story.) This is the test: ride the horse. Then dose it with Butazolidin (an anti-inflammatory drug). The ride it again. If the horse goes better with Bute, woila: he's lame.

My Bute was a wheelchair. And my normal condition? Lamer than hell. Braced to tackle the hikes through my day, staggering and gasping. I didn't know I was wearing those pain-shades until I took them off.

So after my knee x-rays I rolled straight to orthopedics. Got myself an appointment with the head honcho in a few weeks. Sooner, with a cancellation. Time to use this damn resilience of mine. Quit my bitching. Find an answer.


  1. I can't even imagine Liz....I hope your answers come soon.

    1. Thanks. I hesitated about writing this except my credo is We're all in this together. I know I've suffered more from emotional issues and feeling as though I have to face it alone than I ever have from physical pain (even though they come hand in hand.) Plus in this rat-maze of the American medical system (arguably the best care in the world while simultaneously being the least accessible)it's hard to stay strong for the fight. I'd just like others to feel this sense of connection.