Tuesday, February 19, 2013


 I wake up and not for the first time. This time I decide that I have had enough of trying to get comfortable. I shuffle over to the side of the bed so that I can reach my sidetable wear I find my drugs. 

In a small tray lays 800 mg of gabapentin, 20 mg of morphine, 100 mg of tramadol, 500 mg of paracetamol, 75 mg of aspirin, 25 mg of atenolol, and 200 mg of  colofac. 

If I manage to get the drugs out of the tray and into my hand without spilling any I swallow them all in one go with a sugarfree drink out of a bottle. Never water because my mouth tastes like the bottom of  a bird tray.

I then have to wait at least 40 minutes before I feel capable of getting out of bed. Before we got our electric bed, I would shuffle myself to the side of the bed and then allow myself to fall out of bed so that I fell onto my knees. I would then use the radiator and the bed to support myself as I got up onto my feet. Now with the electric bed I press the button until the back support has risen to almost vertical. I then move my legs until they fall down the side of the bed. I shuffle along a couple of feet on my bum and then I press another button which raises the part which I am sat on until I raised so much that I am standing. Using the wall for support I put on my slippers and grab my walking stick. I'm now ready to go downstairs. I take the stairs slowly and the two dogs that sleep with me wait patiently at the top of the stairs until they know it is safe for them to come down as well.

I can now manage to let the dogs out and make myself a coffee. I take my coffee and I go and sit at the computer. During my time at the computer the effect of the drugs increases and I then feel able to do more demanding jobs such as getting myself a meal.

What I have described above is an ordinary day and you will note that I have not included showering nor dressing. Only on a very good day can I do either of these things without help.

On a swimming day,  I will add 20 mg of oxycodone or another 20 mg of morphine to my morning dose. This will enable me to get to the pool to take off my pyjamas put on my  swimming trunks and swim. After my swim I can barely walk. However I have a nice large room kitted out for the disabled and using the hoists and supports and the bed I can manage to shower and put my pyjamas back on. What I cannot do is dry myself completely as I cannot dry my back so I invariably and putting pyjamas on a wet body.

On a bad day, I will not be able to get out of bed at all without doubling or tripling the amount of morphine. I most certainly would not be able to dress or wash.

On a dog show day, I have two get up to and a half hours before I need to leave. My clothes have all been set out  the day before. The day before the amount of painkiller I use is increased and I also take a large dose of sleeping pill. I then go through the usual process of getting myself ready. Although I do of course automatically increase the amount of drug I take first thing, I am sure that the adrenaline that has begun to course through my body helps me do what it is I must.

By the time I have arrived at the show I am of course in a lot of pain because of the drive. However as I am usually the first person to arrive I have plenty of time to take more drugs and to wait for them to take effect. I then find where I need to be and I take all of my stuff and my dogs to that place using a trolley which is now electrified so that I do not have to push it.

I sit at ringside all day until it is time for me to show my dog. With any luck I will not be kept on my feet for very long and I will not be asked to move many times. We have one or two judges that like to have you going around in circles after circle after circle while they make up their minds what they are doing. I will not show under these judges now and to be honest I don't really think they know what they are doing. I think it totally unnecessary to move our breed five times in one class.

During this day, I am acting. One, because despite what people may think I am an introverted person.  I do enjoy the dressing up very much and it is a distraction from the way I walk.  Two,  by acting and interacting I am able to push my physical difficulties into the background. I recall quite vividly at one dog show where I had just won best of breed. I was moving my then un electrified  trolley to the group ring when another exhibitor saw me and said, you didn't win then. I replied that yes I had one best of breed. His response was you look miserable. What this person had seen was me with my guard down and the look on my face was pain.

When I arrive home from a show, I go straight to bed.   John will unpack the car and deal with the dogs. Later he will come up to the bedroom and  help me get undressed or if I have fallen asleep he will undress me.

The following day I will be incapable of doing very much at all. I certainly will not get out of bed without double or treble morphine and I will then have a very quiet day. I will sleep most of it. The day after I will be almost back to normal as described above.

Everything I describe here is a normal day. It does not describe the bad day or a terrible day, just a normal day.

Some people think I am able-bodied.


valerieB Canada said...

Brilliant post, Colin! Honest and matter of fact. And I love the punchline at the end!!!!

ValerieB Canada

Iris said...

Reminder to self: No matter HOW bad I feel physically on a given day, remember this. I am amazed at your ability to be upbeat in the face of this.

Anonymous said...

And here I was complaining about sore knees...I wish with all my heart that you will be cured and all your pain be gone.
All the best
Alberta, Canada