It’s been a tough week, I’ve spent all of it locked in a battle, which, although I don’t intend it to get the better of me, it is wearing me down. Those who know me well enough will have spotted, that something was up. I too have noted that I have been clearly picking subjects, that said little about the now, this very minute. It’s not that I am trying to deny that it’s happening, it’s just I know how tiresome it gets when someone goes on and on, about the same single thing, especially when it doesn’t really change. That’s what makes it such a battle, it doesn’t matter what I do, I am in constant pain from my stomach. See, I told you, it boring. So I’m not going to go on about it today either, it’s more an update, a note to say that it’s now three weeks, since I last had a straight six hours, without the level of pain, that makes me reach out for the Morphine. Nor, have I had a single day, where sleep hasn’t been on my mind, far more than I remember before, two things that I am now convinced are locked together. Tomorrow is the start of week four, I just hope that if I need to make an update, it will be to say, that at last, it’s settling down again.
I’m starting to truly hate that word “chronic”. It seems to have snuck its way into every corner of my life, almost everything seems to be “chronic”. The only good thing, the things that 14 years ago at diagnosis, were then counted as “chronic”, mainly don’t bother me at all now. I’m not saying they are gone, they just don’t bother me. That’s why I say that it’s a sneaky word. What it does, is attach itself to something, then it starts looking for the next step above. It’s not even bothered if it’s the same symptom or something totally different, it see’s it, and it want’s it and just like most petulant children, what it want’s, it normally gets. Each step it takes, well it forgets about the one before, because it’s got a new toy, that’s bigger, brighter and more painful or annoying than the last. I’m never been sure which is worse, pain or annoying. In some ways, I’d actually say annoying is wins that match. Painful, well it can be treated with meds, relaxation and sleep. Annoying, just eats away at you, hour, after hour, after annoying hour. Right now, on the annoying scale, the winner has to be my legs. They died a couple of weeks ago now. Well, I think it’s a couple of weeks, that’s the problem with annoying, they appear and become part of our lives. Days, weeks, or even months pass without count, they just are, before you know it, it becomes part of your life. As I said, I am sure that those things that were “chronic” 14 years ago are still there. It’s just, that they are so much part of me, that I no longer know they are there, or that they are wrong.
We have all heard the classic story of the person who on visiting their doctors, forget to mention, this or that. Well, that isn’t just bad memory. It’s because what some might see as wrong and needing to be fixed, are just so much part of us, that when the doctor asks “How have things been?”, we say “Fine”. It’s not habit or forgetfulness, it’s because this horror story called our lives, is “fine” and “normal”, to us, it is us. If forced, I don’t think there is a single inch of my body, that I couldn’t find something bad to say about, but to me, it “normal”. We aren’t as dotty and as daft, as some think us, we just have a totally different way now of measuring our world. Think about it, how many seconds after putting on your make up, or a hat does it take for you to forget that it’s even there? Well, it’s the same thing, just on a bigger more permanent scale. I have heard so many people tell me that they will never get used to this or that, ask them even just a few days later and there is this moments where you can see in their eyes, that they are having to think. They have become used to it, it has seamlessly slotted itself into their lives.
Not being able to feel anything other than numbness in the majority of my legs, is a normal everyday thing. “Annoying”, but “normal”. Most of the time, unless I am drawn to it for some reason, like it being so intense that it if feels like it has frozen its way right through to my bone, I almost forget about it. It hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s just in a quieter spell, or I am deeply distracted enough for it not to dominate.
It has been such a long time now since I felt what most would call “normal” that I honestly, don’t think I can even remember it. I don’t actually think, I can even imagine it any longer. My body, is just my body, and the things that it does to drive me up the wall, are not exactly expected, as I honestly don’t know what it will do next, but I do know it will do something. Every movement I make has some sort of price attached. Messages from my nervous system are so screwed up and so sensitive, that anything, even just a single breath, isn’t just about air, it is about, what every nerve involved, thinks it feels. A breath doesn’t start and end with the pain from my diaphragm, or intercostal muscles. There are thousands of nerves in that process, from the ones the air travels over in my nose, throat and trachea, to those on my skin that should, just feel material on skin, but often finds sandpaper, fire, ice, and numbness right next door to each other or at the same time. My nerves have been turned up to 11 for so long, that I couldn’t even tell you what 10 feels like, all I know is I often wish I could feel nothing, oddly, though, that something I equally fear.
I doubt in reality that there is anything that my body can do, that it hasn’t already done. Those things I often say are new, aren’t really, they’re just a variation on the theme, but that what “chronic” health is, a variation on good health. Admittedly, it’s a rather unpleasant variation, but it’s one you get used to, no matter how unpleasant it gets. We all learn to live with whatever life throws at us, which is very different from liking it, but we live with it, what other choice do we have. In many ways, I suppose not being able to remember “normal” is a blessing and the reason that the longer we are ill, the less we bother to tell people that this or that is causing us a problem. We’re fine, because what else is there? To annoy everyone by being honest, to make ourselves depressed by dwelling on what can’t be changed? I don’t remember taking the decision that I was “fine”, but I do remember that I decided that I had to accept this odd life as “my normal”, as otherwise, I was simply going to make my health worse. I doubt if there had been a film of my life made as it happened and if you sat and viewed it, that many would reach this point in my life and find anything “normal” about any of it. To stay sain, I had to see it as “my normal”, so it only makes sense that I see my health in just the same way.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 12/12/2013 – Awareness
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