Archives for posts with tag: pain and pain management

Sipping coffee and counting down the days to Giftmas. 🙂 I remind myself that the holiday season, and this life with my Traveling Partner, are by far more significant, more meaningful, and more valued than this physical pain I am in. My partner called me on it before I was half finished with my coffee. First thing on a Saturday morning, and I am so visibly obviously uncomfortable that I am uncomfortable to be around. Well, shit. I take my coffee with me on my way to my studio, consider my pain management choices on the way, and get to work on managing what I can manage, and letting go of what I can’t. My results may vary; I know to expect that, too.

…Good cup of coffee, though, and a pleasant Saturday morning on which to enjoy it. 🙂

I think about the upcoming holidays, and smile to myself. Winter Solstice, then Giftmas, then New Year’s Eve and day… then, it’s a whole new year unfolding ahead, and back to the grind. 🙂 No idea what the new year may hold. I didn’t expect this one, just now ending, held a pandemic – or a home purchase. Life is filled with surprises, unexpected turns, and assorted fortune (good and less so). Some eventualities will be very directly tied to my own choices and actions, others less obviously so. Sitting and waiting around for change is one possible choice… still a choice, and potentially less effective than grabbing life with both hands and making of it what we can. I suppose there is also some “personal style” involved in all that, as well. 🙂

…Mmm…Yeah. Great cup of coffee this morning, well-suited to reflecting on life. lol

I did scroll through the news earlier – fairly pointless on the average Saturday, unless there is some sort of major event some where in the world. All of the news seems to repeat yesterday’s talking points, retread and regurgitated, linked and quoted, by various other news services that perhaps now wish they’d thought of it first. Uninteresting. I’ve been making a practice of willfully rejecting headlines that seem crafted to stoke an emotional reaction prior to reading the article; it’s a clickbait practice, and I just don’t appreciate having my time wasted, or my emotions manipulated. I definitely read fewer news articles as a result. lol My time is better spent reflecting on my own life and choices. 🙂

I think over the day ahead. I’ve got one errand to run, a bit later, maybe I’ll also stop by the grocery store? I’ll tackle aquarium maintenance a little later, too. Tomorrow? Housekeeping. I know, it’s all very routine, simple, ordinary stuff. That’s what most lives are crafted of; ordinary moments, commonplace tasks, simple everyday acts and efforts. It took me too long to understand how very few individual lives are truly, spectacularly, exceptional or extraordinary in such a notable way that one would expect to read about it in the news. Most of us live very unexceptional lives – and that’s entirely okay. More important that we also live well, show kindness, consider others, care for the world and our community – and take care of ourselves and each other. Isn’t that enough? 🙂 Are any of us really so good at even that, that we ought be discontent and seeking more? I suspect I’m not alone in my awareness I could do more/better, often, even in these ordinary circumstances, within this ordinary life. It’s about the verbs. Our choices.

I sip my coffee, hearing the video my Traveling Partner is watching, in the background. The sound of it, the sound of his presence, brings me a sense of comfort… and joy…

And now I am hearing holiday carols in my head, too… LOL

What is “enough”? Do you have that? Have you defined it so that you can more easily make your way to that goal? Have you been so fortunate as to overshoot that mark, and find yourself living in some comfort? From where you are, right now, what can you do to help heal the world? What about your community? Are there simple things you can easily do, without undermining your own necessary resources, to lift someone else up? To ease suffering in the world? To give something back? ‘Tis the season… what will you do about that?

I finish my first coffee. I think about a second cup. I smile for a moment, feeling pretty okay generally. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I sip my coffee, lukewarm, no longer “fresh”. I find myself in a “work with what you’ve got” sort of place this morning. What I’ve got is a sink full of dirty dishes, and aquarium with an overgrowth of green hair algae, and a massive fucking headache. I mean, just being real; I ate the food that those dishes had supported. The aquarium with the algae? Mine, and I chose the placement in the room when we moved in, which has too much light for the aquarium, and as a result I have a common nuisance that is algal blooms. The headache? Okay, so, sure… it’s “mine”, and obviously I did not choose or created it by intent, but making a big deal out of it when I have had this same fucking headache (worsening somewhat over time, but yeah, same headache) since… 2014, seems pointless.

…Giving credit where it’s due though, this headache has done a first rate job of sticking around, and slowly developing a more precise location and greater likelihood of moment-to-moment continuation without relief… 2014? Fucking hell. 6 years with this fucking headache. Now that’s a fucking headache. I do find myself just a bit impressed by that, in an irritated, resigned way. I mean… if headaches had a culture of their own, surely this headache would be receiving accolades from peers, and doing the talk show circuit about its success? lol

Most moments are just moments. We create the context and significance.

Still. Here is where I am. Now is the moment I’ve got to work with. So. Moving past “it is what it is” (and it is), and reaching for one new beginning after another (and appropriate pain relief steps, however futile seeming)… I’ve either got to yield to this shitty experience, or let it go and do something else… or find a different alternative. Verbs. Choices. My results vary.

I sip my coffee. Now cold. The darkness of the room is mocked by the appearance of the morning sun, through the window shade. The whir and hum of the computer is dimmed by headphones I’m wearing, although I’m not listening to anything that requires them. I mean, besides the whir and hum of the computer, itself. I sigh out loud. One moment of many, and there is an entire day still ahead and things that want to get done. Those dishes for starters. The aquarium maintenance. Ordinary tasks, life to live – headache or not. I’ll work off some of my irritation with some exercise (Beat Saber? A walk?), and by getting some chores done. I’ll have another cup of coffee, and exchange pleasant words with my Traveling Partner.

I find myself wondering, for a moment, how more primitive humans dealt with things like massive chronic headaches? Did they feel cursed? Possessed? Did they lash out at others? What did primitive human beings know about “self-care”? Was that something they were at all concerned with? “Survival” and “good self-care” seem pretty far apart on the spectrum of things people are concerned with…

I smile when I nudge myself to consider recent lovely moments. My Traveling Partner’s birthday was lovely. I’m grateful for the joy we share. I think of a recent busy work day, and a wee dish of unexpected ice cream delivered during a meeting. I reflect on conversations shared with my partner. Goals. Expectations. Thoughts about future projects and quality of life improvements. The routine matters of living and loving. The delight of an unexpected nap, together, side by side on the recliner sofa.

…Fuck this headache! It is too small a part of my experience to get to call the shots on this day.

I finish my cold coffee, and begin again. 🙂

…To the one(s) I love (right now)… 🙂

It’s my Traveling Partner’s birthday, today. It’s been my great good fortune, now, to share his birthday with him for 10 of them. Wow. Quite a bit of time together. It’s gone by rather quickly. 😀

I find it sometimes a bit challenging to find gifts that will suit his taste, and his current activities and interests. Sometimes costs put a neat idea quite out of reach. This year, the real challenge is that we both have what we need, and we’re together; everything else feels “extra”. I did find a couple gift-worthy items that I hope he likes, and I definitely “went for it” with the cake and ice cream. lol My time, my presence – that, too. I’m taking half a day off to enjoy with him. 😀

I slept like crap last night. I mean… I woke an hour or so after I went to bed, and couldn’t fall back to sleep until sometime well after midnight. The sleep I got was fine. I’m tired and in pain, though. I’d like to feel young and fit and thoroughly joyful today, for sure. Gotta make do with this mortal form and all the challenges that go with that – and avoid taking any of it at all personally. Aging? Yeah – totally impersonal. lol

So… looks like today will balance genuine joy and celebration, and the precious gift of our limited mortal time together – balanced with the unfortunate truths of aches, pains, and mortality itself. lol Still – this human traveling sharing life’s journey with me? Now that’s a life worth celebrating. 😀 Certainly my life would be very different today if I were without his companionship and love.

…Don’t forget to tell those special human beings in your life how special they are.

I don’t mean the icy mornings of autumn in my titular reference to “chill” – I mean that fully relaxed state of being in which self-awareness leads observation to a well-spring of contentment in non-attachment to specific outcomes. 🙂 The chill chill. Calm. Still. At ease.

…My coffee is long gone. My most recent break was little more than an excuse to take an Rx pain reliever. Headache. Arthritis. Tennis elbow? (Well, or something unreasonably similar.) The afternoon sunshine sneaks into the studio on an angle, illuminating a tissue box on my desk, beneath and behind my monitor(s), giving it seeming significance of some kind. It has none. It’s a trick of the light. Like this blog post; it has no import, no real gravitas, no significance, just… words. A moment. A break from routine. A few swallows of water, and a mental “reset button” pressed, moving on to another task. I am here, now. I am okay. Nothing to see here. Nothing much to share. Still…

…And I do mean “still”… I think about a friend’s recent observation that she is struggling to “get a minute of peace”. I think about other similar remarks from friends (and readers – I see you!). Me, too. Sometimes busy is far too busy, chaos is too chaotic, and breaks are a challenge to take properly. Have you tried this…? It’s a good starting point on finding that quiet moment, when quiet moments are hard to come by.

…It helps to have a good pair of headphones, too… 🙂

I pause and take my own advice for two minutes. I end up feeling more refreshed than I expect to…but also already looking forward to the end of the actual day, hours from now, when I can flop down onto my bed and just give in to fatigue quite completely. Taking more breaks, more skillfully, would probably really help with the enduring fatigue that has chased me down since daylight savings time ended. Damn I wish we’d get smarter and stop doing that.

…Work interrupts me interrupting work to grab a break. Yeah… this is more complicated than it looks, sometimes. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I push my mind firmly off the work topic, and back to writing for a couple minutes. I know taking proper breaks results in more efficient (and faster, and more skillful) work… so I also find myself, often, wondering where the hell I got the reluctance to do it…? Strange, isn’t it? It’s such an important self-care detail, too. I wonder, also, if this bit of weirdness is cultural (unique to American workers?) or regional, or universal, or… and then I find that I’ve descended into yet another work “rabbit hole” – my field of endeavor being to do with how people work, and how much time things take, and how many people a task or job will require to do well… LOL Fuuuuuuck. This is hard. Clearly I need more practice…

…Only now it’s already time to begin (work) again. 😉

I hurt today. Soaking helped some. Medication helped some. Morning yoga helped some. I still hurt. I’m cross, and finding it hard to deal with people gently. Pain is not visible – still complicates my interactions. Everything from a partner’s heartfelt well-intentioned fitness reminders that seem to overlook how much pain I am in to a colleague’s pleasant inquiry whether I am “having a bad day” (nope, just pain) that lacks any context regarding the one thing truly amiss (pain). I am as frustrated with the lack of ability to really drive the message home in a way that sticks with loved ones (it’s almost always just pain) as I am with my lack of ability to do anything substantial to reduce my day-to-day pain in a reliable way. Neither bit of frustration is the slightest help for actually improving anything whatsoever.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let go of the frustration. Let go of being annoyed by the fairly steady lack of any real helpfulness involved in asking me what can be done to help. Let go of being annoyed with being reminded to do things that are good for my physical wellness, but so very difficult to embrace because I just fucking hurt. Let go of the whining about any of it (while I whine about all of it, right here). Just… let it go. Feel the love instead of the futility. It’s a tall fucking ask, I grant you that. One more thing to do, it sometimes seems…and sometimes I just feel so… tired. I take a breath, and let that go, too. Even that. Let it go.

There are tears in my eyes. Less the pain than the frustration with the pain. Sometimes it’s hard. Challenging. “The struggle is real.” I try to stop struggling and just surrender to this moment, here, now. It’s not a bad moment. It’s got some nice points to it. The work day almost over. Nice. Warm cup of noodles next to me waiting for my attention – a satisfying small bite of lunch, once it’s ready. Nice. The rain has paused and it looks like a good day to walk – I even have a purposeful destination in mind that should be within my fitness “reach”. Nice. All of that is good stuff. None of that is specifically about the pain I am in. I sit with that perspective instead, for a while.

…These noodles are ready, and it’s already time to begin again. I put the work in front of me on pause, and take care of this fragile vessel. For now, that’s enough.