Friday, November 27, 2009

Bo Derek's a 10?

I am often asked how my pain is on a scale of 1 to 10. If I say "12," it seems I am written off as some sort of crazy person. But this would be the answer I'd give when I tried to explain how painful it is to get out of bed.

It's obvious I'm exaggerating because 10 is supposed to be the worst pain ever on the scale. But who's ever had the worst pain ever? What's mine is not yours. What I'm trying to do, though, is communicate that I'm in pain to someone who I imagine doesn't hear me.

The very worst pain I've ever had is a migraine headache. It only lasts a few short hours compared to the two months I've had my current pain. I've had some very bad headaches in my 46 years but only two where I prayed for Death to take me. Death would have been better than enduring the pain. (I'm not kidding either. No exaggeration here.)

If I had that pain now - for eight weeks - I'd be dead. I would either have committed suicide, gone insane, or possible made it to an Emergency Room where I would be relieved of consciousness by morphine drip.

So, no, my pain level isn't 12. It isn't even 10. That being said, the worst it could be now is 9 which on the Do Re Mi Pain Scale is "I Cry Out In Pain." (I hit 10 twice when I started taking Percocet but I think that was a reaction to the drug, not the pain. I didn't actually pass out; I got down on the floor before I lost consciousness.)

8 or 9 was generally where I started my day. I would take one or two Vicodin and walk around the kitchen - sometimes moaning - until the drugs started taking effect about an hour later.

I just switched to Percocet a week ago and that first pill of the day would make me nearly pass out. So now I don't get out of bed - it's safer that way. I eat a breakfast bar in bed, take my meds in bed, and then wait 30-40 minutes before I even get up. I haven't felt faint since. I actually take two so you would think I'd be pretty high by the time I get out of bed. (My Facebook entries from earlier today seem to support this!) But even after two Percocet my pain level is 6-8 and it stays in that range until I can take two more about five hours later. Then it levels off to 4-6.

I go walking every day and if I do this in the afternoon, my pain drops to maybe 1-3.

About 5pm the pain starts to increase a little. By then my midday drugs start to wear off, I've been on my feet (avoiding sitting), and I'm starting to get tired. I'll make dinner, watch a little TV, and the sitting will agitate me. The pain level gets to about 3-5 by the time I go to bed.

Getting back in bed is not as difficult as it used to be. (It used be almost as difficult to get in as get out.) Within 30-60 minutes the pain level drops to 0-1 where I can sleep.

Whether Bo Derek is a 10 or not is anyone's opinion. I just know I'm not - at least not right now.

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