Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Living with constant discomfort/pain/agony for an extended amount of time has taught me many things. I’ve learned that complaining gets old and doesn’t accomplish anything but to make a person appear grumpy. I’ve learned to smile when I’d rather laugh. I’ve learned how to take high doses of painkillers and still function. In a strange way, bearing the burden of constant pain has made me a much stronger person.

I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was in my teen years. Being young helped because I was able to ignore the discomfort more easily and it wasn’t as severe as it is now. I was busy with school and my social life and my body was stronger than it is now so the pain was easier to push to the back of my mind.

In my 20s my disease began to show itself more and began to do more damage to my joints and so the joint replacements began. I went through some pretty miserable times but I like to think that I still tried to keep my sunny disposition. Heck, I managed to make jokes about having my jaws wired shut for six weeks at a time…twice. I looked sort of funny and I definitely talked funny. I had a great time laughing at myself. I had to use a contraption that forced my mouth open once the wires were off so that I’d be able to eat a sandwich or anything taller than a cracker later in life. I looked really stupid sitting in front of the mirror with a huge white plastic mouth spreader in my mouth, forcing it open and crying because it hurt. And yet I was laughing at the same time because I looked so dumb.

In my 30s, I rolled along fairly well because those were the days of being barefoot & birthin’ babies and I was all wrapped up in that and didn’t have time to give in to the discomfort. I had painkillers that I used regularly so for the most part I was a high, happy new mom.

When my 40s hit I became more aware of my body than ever before. When I fell I felt it for days rather than hours. The level of pills I was taking was steadily increasing. I remember one day in particular just before my back re-build. I was attempting to walk some papers through the office to a coworker when the pain became so severe, I had to sit down right then. Not at the end of the hallway, not in 5 steps, right then! I sort of stumbled/fell into a friend’s office and into a chair and just burst out crying. Imagine working at your desk and someone sort of fall through your doorway, gripping their leg, sobbing. Kinda strange don’t you think?  I took so many pain pills, I finally told my boss that I did not go out every day at lunch and drink 7 martinis – I was just on heavy doses of drugs.

I took Vicodin tablets by the bucketful for at least 4 years. Once I got my back fixed I was able to reduce the amount of meds I took by about a thousand percent. Thank gosh! When I visited my shrinky dink last week I told her that I was feeling a bit off. We talked about how I was feeling and she celebrated with me about the fact that I wasn’t the Vicodin Queen any more. It was at that time that she told me that the decrease in drugs was more than likely why my brain was “off”.  It had gotten used to being high all of the time! Who would have thunk it?

I’ve been told that it will take a while for my brain to get readjusted. I think I’m going to use that excuse for at least 10-12 years if I do anything screwball which will pretty much be every single day. ‘Oh, I forgot to feed the children dinner for a week? I guess my brain is still readjusting’. ‘Oh, I bought $500.00 worth of clothes even though I only earn $49.95 per month? I guess my brain is still adjusting’.  ‘Oh, I danced naked center stage at the blues concert? I guess my brain is still readjusting’. You get my drift. This is going to be great. I can get away with all kinds of shenanigans!

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