Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Day without Books

Today is a bad pain day for me, upward of an 8 on a scale of 1-10. I live most days around a 5-6. A 7 will slow me down. An 8 has me in bed doing nothing. On days like this the pain is so bad I can't even read, because my brain can't focus on the words long enough for them to make sense. If you've read my blog at all before, or know me even a little, you know that it has to be pretty bad when I stop reading. These are the days when my prayers consist only of "Please, please, please" which I've read is one of the two most popular and best prayers. The other being "Thank you, thank you, thank you." I know I'll offer that one up as soon as the pain recedes to a normal level.

In the midst of the pain, I find myself counting my blessings. I have a wonderful job with an understanding boss who allows me to make my own hours, never punishing me for not being able to come in when I had planned due to pain. My mom is so terrific. I called her up asking her to get Mia from the bus for me, and Mom leaves her house, drives the six-ish miles, waits for fifteen minutes for the bus and then drops my daughter off, all without sighing in frustration or complaining about the effort, just a "Take it easy, Honey." My husband, Jesse, wanted very much to go to church tonight, but when I asked him if he could take Mia to piano lessons instead, he agreed with just the smallest mention of how he really wanted to attend the Maundy Thursday service. (luckily I messed up the time of lessons, and instead canceled so he can still go) My son, Doogie, is doing the laundry, grabbing me a soda or something when I need it, plus he's taking care of his little sis until Jess gets home from church.

Over the six and a half years of me being sick, the whole family has learned that when Mom is sick, we do things differently. I am blessed that they don't get angry with me or resent the changes in plans or extra responsibility placed on them. In return I've had to learn to let certain jobs go and to not stress when others aren't done with the same level of care that I would do.

The real frustration in today comes from that I don't know what caused the jump in pain or when it will end. I could be better tomorrow or not for a week. And there is no true relief. The doctor currently has me on 60 mg of oxycontin three times a day and 15 mg of morphine twice a day. The morphine is supposed to be for break-through pain, but I take two a day every day, except for a truly rare day of level 4 or lower pain. I have to be very careful not to take extra pills unless I really and truly need them, because with this level of narcotics, the pharmacy will not let me refill them too early, and on the rare occasion I've had to ask my doctor for something extra, his nurse has always treated me as a drug seeker. It's a humiliating experience, and I would never go to the ER, no matter how bad the pain gets, because I know that's how I would be seen. So today I've already taken my full dosage of morphine, and I'll be awake for another eight hours. I'll probably take another one before bed, and this will also most likely be a night when I take an extra oxycontin.

Chronic pain is so hard to live with, never knowing if the plans I make will truly work out. Trying to be careful not to take too many pills and run out before the end of the month. Having to force my family to take on the burdens of living with someone in constant pain, which I know is not easy. But it's also made us pull together and appreciate each other more. It's hard to take someone for granted when you are relying on them for so very much.

James tells us in 1:2-4 of his epistle: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. That's one of the verses I cling to, because I know that God has a reason and a plan for this. Along with this one: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 That's a great provider of hope for me, because I know that no matter how bad my pain is, He will work it toward good. The last verse I lean on is Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” This one is especially meaningful for me. I have cried countless tears from the pain itself, from frustration at missing family events, failing the people I love, and not being able to do all I that I yearn to. That verse is a promise that someday God will wipe away my tears, and I will never, ever experience this pain again. It tells me that there is an end to this pain, even if only in death, there is an end to it.

The best thing I've learned from my pain is to lean on the Lord and His Word. I can't begin to imagine the bitter and angry person I would be without them. I am blessed, even in the midst of this pain. Even without my books. I consider myself blessed.

Today's pic is one Mia took of me a couple of weeks ago. I had just picked up the jacket (which I adore) from a thrift store. I usually hate pictures of myself, but I actually kind of like this one.