Archives for posts with tag: pain

Well, it’s not yet “officially” winter, but it is clear that my arthritis finds it season enough to deliver the full measure of winter-level arthritis pain. I woke with it during the night, 3 or 4 times, only to return to a restless sleep after discontentedly struggling with pain for some little while. My quality of restful sleep was… meh. I don’t know. Not enough. Fuck pain. I want to “lol” about it and move on from the moment, but it’s got me feeling angry with the world and just generally fairly aggravated just now. It’ll pass. I remind myself, again and again, it will pass.

A quiet evening in late autumn, spent quietly.

Last night I relaxed quietly after work, just sitting, enjoying the fireplace. I left the Giftmas tree dark, and without the merry colored lights it seemed a more somber, still, and serene moment of calm contentment, aside from the pain I’d spent the day in, and which lingered through the night. I took medication for that, even took an Rx pain reliever. It helped some.

I sit here staring at my monitor, still feeling sort of put out and aggravated by being in pain. Shitty start to the day…

…I can’t help notice that I’m not improving things by focusing on the pain, itself, and letting it lead the morning. I had unrolled my yoga mat and taken advantage of a few reliable postures to ease stiff joints before my shower, and I left my mat out because yoga actually helps, and maybe I would want to do more of that healthy stuff to cope with my pain…? Maybe…? I chuckle quietly to myself, aware of all the many verbs, and how much effort life requires to live it skillfully…

I head for my yoga mat, to begin the day again. πŸ™‚

Fucking hell, this is some real shit, right here.

I woke early – 3:38 am – no alarm. Had to pee, not an uncommon mammalian or primate thing at all, it happens. I wasn’t awake enough, quite, to realize that this moment would cascade into other small unpleasant experiences, like dominoes toppling, each less comfortable than the previous moment leading to it. Having to pee was easy to resolve… then it was all about my sinuses draining… then I became aware of the headache… my pounding heart… the breathless feeling… Why the hell was I “holding my breath” like that in the first place??? Right. Pain. I’m betting it was actually the pain that woke me, because as it turned out, I really didn’t have to pee that badly, certainly not badly enough to wake me from a deep sleep. It is, perhaps, habitual to immediately head in that direction if I wake during the night, at all. lol

Fuck, I am in so much pain, already, today. It’s not yet actually even time to begin the day. :-\ The world is quiet, and there is no sound of traffic, or the existence of humanity beyond this keyboard, and this monitor, right here. It is just now 4:30 am, on a Saturday morning. I could be sleeping… if I were not awake. I hurt too much to feel sleepy. I may as well begin the day… for some values of “beginning”. I made coffee. 0_o

Realizing, after the first sip, that coffee does not, in any way, address pain, and pain being, in fact, the issue at hand, I drop an ice-cube in my coffee and let it melt on my way to the shower, and chug it before I step under the steamy hot water…

…A shower, some yoga, and yes, actually, another shower after that… and generous application of medical cannabis (both as a topical balm, where I can reach painful places, and vaporized)… I make coffee number two, and sit down to write, hopeful that I may find adequate relief without reaching for an Rx pain reliever. 5:52 am. Still far earlier than today needed to begin. lol Fuck – how is this much pain even a thing? Is this really fucking necessary? I know I have arthritis – what fucking help is all this pain?? What could it possibly be telling me that has any value, at all? Damn. Well… the coffee, the yoga and the shower eased the headache pain. That’s something. No headache. I pause to sip my coffee and appreciate that for a long moment. I do not have a headache, right now. Nice. I’ll take it.

Next? Distraction. Cognitive trickery – totally fair game, and a worthy practice. πŸ™‚

Yesterday was lovely. I did not shop. I did not buy. I chilled at home, mostly just looking out onto the deck, sipping coffee, or tea, or reading a book. I’ve been somewhat disappointed since I moved in to see creatures so seldom. I mean, I’ve seen bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, a rather large raccoon, but birds have been fairly rare, aside from seeing them fly by now and then. The one squirrel visitor who seemed to be regular was only interested in the bird seed I had hoped would be, you know, for the birds. lol I switched to putting out a small dish of whole peanuts, on an irregular basis, and an ear of dried corn in a hanging feeder that the squirrel could more safely get to. I haven’t seen the squirrel back, but the dish has often been quickly emptied, and the cob stripped far faster than I had expected, fairly often. Yesterday, spending hours just watching (and hours that are generally spent in the office, far away), I finally got to see how things go, here on the deck. Apparently, things don’t get going until around 11 am, in the late autumn.

A beautiful Steller’s Jay stopped by for a peanut… or… several. lol

I watched the jay coming and going for quite a while. Then, a female jay joined him. Then, a pair of robins stopped by, not interested in the peanuts, but feeling safe to check out the soil in all the pots for tasty things. A hummingbird snacked on each remaining blossom in the garden, which is to say, some nasturtiums in the hanging baskets, and some blooms left on Baby Love, a miniature rose that doesn’t appear to give a damn about the season, and blooms almost year round. A small woodpecker visited a tree just beyond the deck, and the hawk I often hear circling overhead took a seat in a tree top within view. I sat, delighted, for an hour or two (or more…?).

I sat long enough, aware, and patiently observing, to begin spotting dens, nests, burrows, and bowers.

It was time well spent. It was just at the moment I first considered getting up to go “do something” that my last visitor came around.

…my squirrel visitor is nibbling on my tarragon…

I sit quietly, sneaking an occasional picture, hoping not to startle the squirrel, who still seems very shy. Eventually, my wee visitor makes its way to the corn feeder, first checking the empty dish for peanuts (the jays got them all).

…I’m glad to know for sure the squirrel knows the feeder is there. πŸ™‚

The sinking sun was already beginning to change the color of the forest beyond the deck. I smile to myself to see that I’ve used the word “forest”, even now that I can so clearly see it’s really only a strip of trees, a bit of grass, and then the backs of all the houses another street over. lol Those Big Leaf Maples really provide a dense wall of greenery in spring and summer, quite delightfully private.

There are things to love about this place and time. It is worth being here, now.

…And… It’s worked. A bit of distraction, lingering on the recollection of something quite pleasant, looking through the pictures, sharing it with you, in words, here… I don’t hurt as much. I’ve had a chance to benefit from the yoga, the shower, and taking medication. My consciousness isn’t saturated in information to do with pain, or sensations of it. I can move on with the day, and maybe fairly comfortably. It’s not magic. There are verbs involved. My results vary. But… today it is enough, and I can begin again. πŸ™‚

 

 

I woke in pain.

Damn it. A sentence that short doesn’t do the moment justice. Rainy, chilly, autumn days, and colder night-time temperatures, and here it is time again for my arthritis pain to become a serious shot-caller in my day-to-day experience. Damn, this sucks. I woke hurting, couldn’t roll over because my spine was locked up, rigid and aching, from my waist to my shoulders. I laid still with the pain for a few moments, taking time to be aware that I was able to breathe “comfortably” – for some values of “comfort” – and confirming fingers and toes move, and that I felt sensations in extremities.

Time for the winter practices, already? Yeah, looks that way. I slowly, with great determination, begin moving the bits and pieces that do seem pretty mobile. I flex fingers, arms, toes, feet, legs. I stretch anything that stretches. I find adequate leverage to roll to my back. I pull my knees to my chest one by one, and begin working on arching my back some small bit. I push-pull-rock and get rolled first to one side, then the other. Repeat all the motions on each side. Eventually, I am able to roll to my right side, push myself up on an elbow, pull myself the rest of the way using the arm on the other side, and a firm grasp on the edge of the pillow top of the mattress. Sitting up! Yes! It feels like triumph.

I sit for a few minutes, ignoring the tears – a combination of pain and relief, that spilled over as I sat up. Mornings like this one, I am “painfully aware” (lol) that one day I won’t be able to easily live alone; I’ll need help with basic things, at some point. Aging is a thing. I am definitely living that process. I sigh, and the sound fills the otherwise quiet room. Maybe a shower will help?

The long minutes lingering in a hot shower leaves my skin reddened in places, but my spine is a bit more flex-y, as a spine ideally would be. I don’t hurt quite so much. I can dress, with care, and anything to do with standing is as easy as ever, and that means – coffee. πŸ™‚ My coffee this morning even turned out wonderfully well, and I am enjoying it with a smile that has no trace of the pain I woke in. Oh, I still hurt; it’s that sort of day. It’s more manageable now, is all, and that is enough.

I sip my coffee and think about the phone call with my Traveling Partner last night, sharing his autumn and winter travel plans with me. I think, now, about how those may/can change my own plans. I smile. The physical distance doesn’t change much for me; we talk regularly, and the specifics of distance are irrelevant in our digital experience. We see each other when circumstances and choices permit it. (Sure, I will miss him; I always miss him when he isn’t near me, but that doesn’t have to mean drama and bullshit. lol) I was planning to discuss my reluctance to plan regular visits down once the roads begin to freeze, or snow becomes a concern (even though I have chains, it’s just not my preference to tackle long drives in icy/snowy conditions); his plans are such that it just won’t actually be a concern. lol Win and good. Convenient. Stress-free mutually beneficial planning for the win! πŸ™‚

First coffee finished, I make a second, and load a great set,Β from a favorite DJ who does a regular live cast on Facebook, to get me moving, and hopefully provide additional relief of my pain, and a bit more freedom of movement. Movement hurts, but it helps, too. Hard not to dance to great music.

I spend coffee #2 grooving in my chair, writing, and chatting with my Traveling Partner as we get our mornings started. A promising beginning to a leisurely Sunday. I open my “to do list” and frown at tasks I know I am not going to be able to do with any ease, and scroll through prioritizing the tasks that will be more easily handled today. I smile when I get to the line that says “get enough rest” – that’s one I can check off right now. πŸ™‚

No idea what the day holds, but I’m here. You’re here. There’s an entire day ahead to make something of – and that’s enough. πŸ™‚

I remember being in pain yesterday, in the afternoon. I woke in pain this morning. One nice thing about unreasonably hot, wildfire-dry, summer weather – those long hot dry days are just about ideal for minimizing my arthritis pain, no Rx required.

I love autumn. I love crisp cool mornings, colder nights, and warm afternoons. I love the shff-shff of fallen leaves, disturbed as I walk through them. I enjoy the short days, the long nights, the late sunrises, the early sunsets. It’s so exquisitely lovely, all of it, that every year as it returns, I am surprised all over again that with it comes pain. Rather a lot of pain. Everyday pain. Waking up in pain. Yoga to ease pain. Enjoying long walks – that also hurt. It is what it is. I’m glad I am able to walk. To stand. To dress myself. This morning, I find room to be amused that another autumn comes, and again I have forgotten that I am always in this much pain. There will be other mornings, colder mornings, on which I no longer find humor in the moment. I’m not in any rush to reach those mornings. I take a moment to appreciate the morning, shored up by perspective on how much less pain I am in right now than I could be.

I have friends who hurt, too. Family members. Loved ones. Pain is part of the human condition. We feel. We experience sensations. Sometimes, feelings are unpleasant. Sometimes sensations are painful. We easily lose sight of the pain of others, living out our own experience of pain. I know it happens to me. When I hurt, and can’t imagine hurting more than I do, it’s way too easy to forget that there actually is more worse pain than what I am in, myself – and someone else is feeling that. Yikes. Talk about perspective. It’s true for you, too; someone else is in worse pain. Possibly more often. It’s something to remember when we face the world, hurting; we are not alone. We may feel alone with our own pain, but we are not alone in the experience of being in pain, generally.

This morning, I am in pain. I’m not bitching. I’m just noticing it there, reflected back at me when I attempt to ignore it, each movement in my spine resulting in mild nausea, and a chronic almost irresistible desire to flex, twist, move, rock – all of which hurts, but the movement may, over some minutes, ease the pain somewhat. I look at the calendar and frown. Not even October? Shit. I feel inclined to say it seems earlier this year – but I say that, and feel it, every year. lol This year, I commit to caring for myself in a reasonable and rational way (still, and, again). I take a deep breath. I let it go. I get up from my chair and do some more yoga. It helps.

I abandon my writing and take another hot shower. Lingering in the hot water, I catch myself daydreaming about the heated seat in my car and the 45 minute commute to work enjoying it. Oh, Autumn, you are so beautiful and so cruel to me! I laugh about it, because this morning I still can.

I make a mental note to myself to be kind to people; I can’t tell what kind of pain they may be in, or how hard they are having to work at being decent to people, themselves. We’re all so very human. We are interconnected, and our shared experiences color the experiences we don’t share. Being a jerk to someone can so easily become the experience that blows their day – just as a moment of kindness can turn a bad day around completely. I consider the woman I most want to be, and commit to be more her today than I was yesterday. I give a mental shout out to the friends who seem to have really mastered “self” and “have their shit together” in all the ways that matter most to me. I find myself thinking about old-fashioned thank you notes.

The morning moves on. I sip my coffee. I scroll through my playlist absent-mindedly, unsure whether I actually want to hear music this morning. Pain, coloring my thinking, changes my decision-making in subtle ways; something to be mindful of as the day goes on.

It seems like a good time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Most mornings proceed pretty gently for me these days, and even on the worst of them I get by pretty well, and treat myself decently, and with considerable compassion. This morning was less than usually gentle, and although I’ve done what I can, I am less than ideally kind to myself – I am frustrated by my limitations and feeling irked. It’s not the best addition to my morning coffee, which somehow tastes bitter in spite of using the same coffee I find so richly satisfying most other mornings – and in spite of my general lack of ability to detect bitter flavors in the first place. It is one more defining detail of the start of my day.

I woke from a sound sleep, head as stuffy as the room also felt, throat dry, head pounding, and the clock factually admonishing me that it was already 5:30 am, well into the ‘I may as well get up’ time of morning [for me]. I definitely did not want to get up, and I felt groggy and out of sorts. I got up to pee, and opened the patio door to the morning breeze, hoping to cool the apartment down without fully waking up, and noticing my pain well beyond the usual as I did so. (That makes it sound far more efficient than my hapless dizzyΒ clumsy careening around the room actually was.) I took my morning medication, drank a glass of water, and returned to bed, hoping to sleep in spite of the pain. That doesn’t always work out for me, particularly after sunrise, but on this gray overcast moody looking morning, and after considerable tossing and turning trying to find some combination of pillows and posture that would allow it, I slept.

I woke later to a cool room filled with fresh morning air, headache gone, and easily able to breathe. I feel rested. I still hurt. I am in more pain than usual, possibly just the ordinary change in my arthritis pain that comes with a change in the weather. Yesterday, sunny, warm, and clear… today, gray, overcast, cool, and threatening rain – it’s very much the sort of change that comes with more than usual pain, and I feel less cross with myself recognizing that. (At 5:30 am it was less obvious that it would be a cloudy day.) My coffee is still pretty dreadful… and I give some moments of thought to whether it makes more sense to pour it out and make another cup, or just drink it and have a better second cup later? I get up to go pour it out and start over… then remember I am currently getting by on limited income. Shit. I sit down, taking a more practical, frugal approach, and sip my coffee as it is… glaring down into the dark brew now and then, wondering what the hell went wrong with my process this morning to get this result?

Still… pain and a bad cup of coffee isn’t the whole of my day, or of my experience – it’s not even the whole of my morning. I’m barely awake yet, and the day stretches ahead well beyond my ‘now’, unformed, unlived, and largely unimagined. There will be verbs involved, and choices. πŸ™‚ I sip my coffee and wonder whether or not ‘taking care of me’ today is more about yielding to the pain I am in and compromising my loose plans for greater comfort… or refusing to let my pain call the shots, and undertaking the things I am inclined to do, more slowly perhaps and less comfortably, and just understand that the pain is what it is, and it’s part of my experience more often than I’d like… It’s a hard call this morning. If it actually hurt less to just go back to bed and stay there… I probably would. It doesn’t, so that’s not even an option. lol

That’s a funny thing about the vast menu of choices life presents me with, that I don’t consider as frankly as I might, as often as would be helpful… there are some things I want very much to be choices of mine, that are not in fact on my own actual [still vast] menu of choices to consider – when I am honest with myself. I can’t really choose not to be in pain with my arthritis in any realistic way. I can’t choose to be younger. I can’t choose to change the past. I can’t choose to begin somewhere over there, when I am standing right here. I can’t choose for any of the many details of reality to be other than they are – although I can choose to ignore them, or pretend them differently, the consequences of my actions remain tied to the real reality, and the true truth. Reality does not care what lies we tell ourselves. Our truths have very little to do with what we say in words.

So… this morning… pain. I still want to go to the farmers’ market this morning. When I go, some later, I will still have to be mindful that my resources have changed a lot, and being frugal has value – this is a poor time to be careless or wasteful with resources. I will need to slow down a bit, and manage my pain – or my pain will take the driver’s seat and manage my mood. Choices. Always choices. It’s worthwhile to take a few minutes over my coffee to consider what my choices really are – and where they lead me.

I decide on a hearty breakfast at home, accepting as a given that shopping when I am hungry may drive unintended spending. Before breakfast, a walk and yoga. A second cup of coffee. A hot shower. I notice in this one moment, right here, now, I am not actually in pain… I don’t question that, and I do pause everything else (writing, coffee, gazing at the bird feeder beyond the window…) and take some time to be aware that I am not hurting, to savor it, to linger over the sensations of feeling good; doing so is a practice that shifts my implicit memory away from ‘being in pain all the time’ to being aware that I am not always in pain, and improving my day-to-day perspective and sense of my experience. Moment by moment I build my day… the difficult start? Just one moment of many to come, and I let it go. πŸ™‚

Neither a single ocean wave nor one small bird defines a day at the beach.

Neither a single ocean wave nor one small bird defines a day at the beach.