Thursday, March 31, 2011


Typically for me, I have been a bit concerned recently about how good I feel! I have been worried that the morphine and the gabapentin were altering my mood.

I did not take any last night nor did I take any this morning. Yet, once I was up I was talking to the dogs and generally feeling quite chirpy. I went to my swim which went very well and I sang in the car on the way home and I have been playing silly buggers with the dogs.

Clearly, I am just in my normal mood! This is my normal optimistic self. I am so used to feeling grumpy and exhausted and sore that I had forgotten that this was not my normal mood.

I am astonished just now strong the negative effects of not sleeping well are. I got so used to it and if I slept for three hours without waking I thought it was a good night.

My balance is not any better as proven to me yet again this morning. As I approached the poolside my balance went. I grabbed hold of the rail of the disabled person’s staircase into the pool and it moved and if it were not for the quick thinking of the lifeguard I would have fallen backwards and possibly smashed my head on the metal railings. Losing my balance is rather weird because it most often happens when I am stood still as I was this morning. It is like my balance just suddenly switches off.

I have also found that whilst I can do things more easily I still have the fatigue effects of activity even if I don’t have the associated pain. Getting dressed or undressed is not any easier so I avoid doing it!

I am so lucky to be living at this time with these drugs available. Before the likes of tramadol and gabapentin I would have just been on ever larger amounts of morphine and suffered all of its associated problems. Thank goodness for pharmacology!

I have also to sing the praises of my GP. Not only is she a very kind and caring person, but she is a palliative care expert. She has special qualifications in pain relief and regularly updates her knowledge by attending conferences. She therefore knows the best way of helping me.

I am realistic in that I have always known that no drug will have the effect of completely removing my problems. They reduce the severity of pain but they do not kill it completely. They also do not enable me to move as if I do not have a problem. It is not a good idea that anybody expect too much from medication.

The same applies to my heart. The three drugs I take for it work well in reducing the risks of my CHD but they do not cure it.

I know that there are other 24/7 pain sufferers who read this blog. Perhaps what I have written about the drugs will be helpful. What also helps me tremendously is my attitude. I am always aware that things could be very much worse for me. I know of other people who are worse than me. I also see others who are worse than me.

I live within the day only. I may plan for the future, like for example our trip to Paris at the end of May, but I do not allow my mind to live in the future or in the past. The only time I have to worry about is right now, this day, between waking and sleeping. Taking life in small doses is much easier to handle.

I certainly do not think about the progression of my disease but I also do not ignore it. I am not pretending that my disease is not progressive and that I will not get worse. What I am doing is not dwelling upon it. I cannot know the exact effects nor the exact timetable. If I think about the future in this regard all I am going to do is frighten myself. Instead I concentrate on now and all the good things in my life.

This may not apply to other 24/7 pain sufferers, but one of the reasons I find my physical problems so easy to deal with is that I am no longer in the psychic agony that I lived with for most of my life. I have found that physical pain is so much easier to deal with than emotional and spiritual pain.

Sometimes, pain in my body will make me yell because it is suddenly severe but most of the time it is background noise. I don’t really know how else to describe it. Sometimes that background noise is just loud enough to be heard and at other times it is like rap music being played at full volume. The most important thing to understand is that it is constant. There is no time off for good behaviour!

If you have ever exercised and afterwards your muscles have felt very sore and your joints have creaked, multiply that, and imagine it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

So for you non-pain sufferers who read this, perhaps it will help you understand how those of us afflicted don’t always think clearly and are often not on an even keel emotionally. Therefore, we can react more strongly than is called for. In other words, we are more easily upset and more quick to anger. In simpler terms, I can be a grumpy overemotional bastard!

I am what I am! Smile


Mary Beth said...

I yam what I yam, I'm Popeye, the Sailor Man. Toot, toot!

TracyKM said...

This is a very well written post Colin. Living with chronic pain, and chronic lack of sleep, I totally understand what you're saying. It's amazing how quickly you get used to not feeling well and it becomes the new 'normal'. And then when things are good again, it's almost unbelievable that life can be this way. Even your writting seems chippier! I also like how you describe chronic pain as "background noise". While my pain might be only a 2 out of 10 right now, it's NEVER a 0 out of 10. It's like a radio you can't switch off, just turn the volume down.
Is your sudden lack of balance due to the meds? I was going through a period where I was having this problem--suddenly the whole world would seem tilted. My friend suggested it might be "drunken sailor's syndrome" and I used a neti pot for a few days and it's been gone since. But I do know drugs can affect balance so that'd be my first thought with you.
You give me inspiration that I will be able to live a productive and happy life, despite pain!