What gives life purpose?

If you discount the existence of a deity or the claim of an authoritarian government or institution, the decision is yours. At the moment, I would say that my life has none. It has its compensations certainly, but mere survival marks the limit of my abilities. My pain is such that I sometimes fight back hysteria. Demerol won’t touch it. Dilaudid is a joke (ha, ha, ha). Percocet and Vicodin are like baby aspirin. I think that, if I were weaker of character, I would lose my mind.

When I ask myself what losing my mind would look like, I picture the drainage canal across the street, and then I picture myself gibbering like Porky Pig while running naked onto the bridge over that canal and throwing myself into the water. The drop is only fifteen feet, and the water is never more than four feet deep, so death would be an unlikely outcome—but that’s the point. Suicide requires judgment, but if I lost my mind, I would lose my judgment, which completely precludes taking the course of a local woman who put on lots of clothes, loaded the pockets with rocks, and drove her car into a lake. Such a woman could not, in any respectable sense, be accused of losing her mind. Losing your mind has to appear profoundly stupid if it’s to count for anything, and the most the woman with the rock overcoat could say was that she was depressed. I laugh at depression (ha, ha, ha)! I left mere depression behind months ago. Depression is for pikers. Depression is okay as a starting point for people whose goal is to lose their minds, but that’s the most that can be said for it.

The more I think about throwing myself into the Amazon (for that’s what the drainage canal is called) the more I doubt the advisability of losing my mind, because it is plain that nothing good would come of it. I might break my legs—or even my back—but in any event I would be locked away in a padded cell and force-fed anti-psychotics. These drugs pose a significant risk of tardive dyskinesia (a permanent condition that causes one to compulsively grimace, stick out his tongue, smack his lips, blink his eyes, and lots of other party deflating activities), and this condition alone is enough to convince me that I really, really don’t want to be locked away in a padded cell.

But then I reflect that, okay, what if no one was around when I threw myself into the Amazon. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have to worry about tardive dyskinesia, but I would have to decide what to do next. I would probably start by sitting in the oil-slicked water until I got cold. Then I would crawl through the blackberries that line the canal’s steep banks until I could peek out and see if anyone was coming. When the coast was clear, I would make a break for my house, take a long, hot shower, and—I suspect—feel relieved that I was all done with losing my mind and could move on to more rewarding activities. In other words, I would be right back where I am now, only bruised, scratched, and with a broken leg or two….

….Since I have no idea what to write next, I paused just now to listen to the clock tick. It’s an electric clock, so I see no reason why it should NEED to tick unless its creator thought he could sell more clocks that way—or had lost his mind. Yes, of course, he lost his mind, and in his psychotic state concluded that ticking noises annoy clock hands, which then run round and round to get away from the racket, and coincidentally tell us what time it is. When the ticking gets tired and takes a nap, the hands stop moving, and then someone has to wake the ticking up again, either by winding the clock or changing the battery.

What I find about being in pain every goddamn moment of every goddamn day is that it takes a lot out of me. I can’t sleep, so I can hardly hold my head up when I’m awake. I’ve taken lots of strong drugs, and they have left me feeling polluted in body and senile in mind. I can’t work at anything requiring two arms, and this means that Peggy has to do her job plus much of my job. I can’t make plans because I have no idea when or even if I will be able to do most of the things I enjoy, plus I’m too despondent to make plans anyway.

This brings me back to the purpose of life. I see life as like a movie that’s weird and not terribly interesting, but that you keep watching just to see how it ends. Only every time I’ve forced myself to sit through some dog of a movie just to see how it ended, I hated how it ended because there was no resolution. It was as if the director ran out of money after 116 minutes and immediately stopped shooting. THAT’S how life is. The different scenes aren’t connected into a coherent whole, and it doesn’t come to a meaningful conclusion; it just stops with a final exhalation of air. It can be a 105-year-old feature length life, or it can be a day old public service announcement length existence, but either way, people try to build a meaningful story out of it (i.e. make sense of it) as an afterthought because we NEED coherency.

I guess most people don’t feel as I do, but I don’t why. Look, I’m down on my own life, okay? I’ll admit it. I look back at my six decades, and damn if I can figure out what the point of my existence has been or why I didn’t do it all better. But I pass the same judgment on other people’s lives, or at least most other people’s lives. Let’s say you’re a teacher, or a plumber, or a road-crew worker; what’s the good in it? Of course you contribute. You make sure kids can read, people can flush their toilets, and the roads are paved; but, really, is that enough to make you feel that all the shit you had to put up to stay alive was worth the bother?

I suppose most people would argue that there’s more to life than work, as if life were a layer cake that gets better as you add to it. So, you’ve got your job; plus you’ve got your family, weekend bowling tournaments, yearly vacations, popcorn at the movies, and so forth. What I would ask then is this: why do these things give you purpose; why do they make your life worthwhile? I can see that they’re fun or that they contribute to the world to some extent, but, on the other hand, you’re going to be dead really soon, and in a few decades no one will even know you lived, and there will be little if any reason to believe that the world is a better place because you were in it. Doesn’t it bother you that, in the big picture, you’re no more important than a spittlebug?

I would guess that most people, if it really came down to the bottom line, would say they lived for their family or for serving God. Take the plumber. He might feel pride in the years he spent gluing pipes together, but I doubt that many people find purpose through such things. Maybe I’m wrong, but if you were on your deathbed, and someone asked you what you did in life that you were the most proud of, would you talk about your job? I would guess that most people would talk about the people they loved. I’m guessing, so feel free correct me. Pretend that I just arrived from Mars, and I’m trying to understand earthlings.

Right now, my life sucks. It really does. I can’t tell you what a drag my life is. I hurt all the time; I’ve lost most of the friends I ever had; I’ve stopped attending all of the groups and activities that were ever important to me (chronic pain is as isolating as a monastery); and I can neither do the work I love nor pursue the hobbies I enjoy. I spend hours a day loathing the present, panicking over the future, and blaming myself for the past. Great. Some life. Yet, it is not without its compensations, and they are partly due to the fact that things are so bad in the macro that I have become skilled at finding pleasure in the micro.

For example, Peggy and I went to Goodwill yesterday. We call such trips our dates. She bought three CDs and a drinking glass with penguins on it; I bought a four-cup coffee maker; and together we bought a book of cat-inspired art and poetry. When we got home, we made supper together and then watched the Olympics. While we watched, Peggy threw the ball to our blind dog, Bonnie, who would alternate between searching for the ball and humping my leg. Except for the Olympics (we usually watch really old TV shows or even older movies), it was a typical evening. In such small things, I find reason to live. I become inordinately happy at times just because I have a roof over my head and food in my pantry. I rejoice on those few days when the rain stops long enough to take the dogs for a walk. I appreciate the fact that neither Peggy nor I have been diagnosed with cancer. I find happiness just by shifting my arm to some position in which it hurts less than it did in the previous position.

And as much as I dread the late hours when I must finally face getting into my chair for another night of suffering, even then I find rewards. Ice packs feel SO good on my shoulders. They make me cold, but that’s okay because the heating pad feels SO good on my chest. Next, I pull the CPAP mask over my face, and I remember that CPAPs were only invented 25 years ago and that without one, I would almost certainly have died a prolonged and miserable death. Some nights, I listen to the rain or the wind, and feel grateful that I don’t have to be out in it. Other times, I feel appreciative that I have insurance to pay my medical bills. When I finally get out of my chair at 11:00 a.m., I rejoice that I don’t have to set an alarm clock and go to a job I hate; or any job for that matter, because I honestly don’t think I could find the strength.

So, do I think—for me, for now—that life contains some BIG purpose? Hell no. My life is worthwhile only because I am well loved by a good woman and two good dogs, and because I still have the capacity to feel joy, pleasure, and gratitude. That’s it. If I die tomorrow, there will be no traffic jams around the funeral home, and people won’t share stories about how much I accomplished or how many people I touched. If they’re honest—and if they know me well enough—they will be at a loss to find much of anything good to say about me, because I have done nothing more noble than to blunder my way through life pretty much as blind Bonnie blunders her way through the house, bouncing off first one wall, chair, or table and then another until she finally stumbles out the exit. Maybe your life has gone better, but I wouldn’t trade. Mine might not be much, but at least it’s paid for.


nollyposh said...

Dear Snow i think that our Life's purpose has a lot to do with our state of mind...

SHOULDERS: Represent our ability to carry our experiences in life joyously. We make life a burden by our attitude...
*Left shoulder: Guilt is stopping you from being responsible to understand yourself so that you can just be yourself...
*Right shoulder: Guilt is causing you to not take responsibility to gain for yourself from what ever you do...

Snow have you ever been to a Kinesiologist? I have & it helped me to 'listen' to my body... i personally believe that every illness has a Mind, Body & Spiritual aspect & that in order to heal we need to address all 3 areas... Kinesiology has helped me to do that... Just a thought X:-)

(Ps) Snowbrush i think you are funny, intelligent, and an amazing writer with a kind heart... Why don't you write a book, it could even just be about a walk inside your head, like your blog... Always a great read X;-)

(Pps) If Peggy doesn't mind... (((hugs)))

Snowbrush said...

Nollyposh said: "SHOULDERS: Represent our ability to carry our experiences in life joyously."

Hey there, Nollyposh. Was it Louise Hay who wrote about how different ailments are symbolically connected to different emotional states? As you no doubt would expect, I put little stock in that because I know of no evidence to support it. It reminds me of the old "doctrine of similars" which taught that, if a plant resembles a bodily organ, then it is beneficial for ailments of that organ. It's the kind of thing that one would like to think is true, but the only evidence is antidotal.

Anyway, thank you so much for your kind words. I would LOVE to write a book. It's not the writing that deters me; it's the business of seeking publication. If I could find someone to take care of that end of things, I would probably go for it. Of course, there is such a thing as literary agents, but when I looked into them years ago, I got the idea that they wanted you to have a resume of previously published articles and such, and my resume was rather scant, and now, it's rather old to boot.

I've read somewhat about kinesiology. Here's the thing about a great many alternative healthcare techniques: they've been poorly researched and they are oftentimes founded upon principles that make no sense in terms of modern science. Now, all of that wouldn't deter from trying them if they weren't also expensive. As of this week, I'm eating collard greens everyday and taking 6,000 units of Vitamin D everyday. I'm doing this at the recommendation of my physical therapist who is himself doing it at the recommendation of an orthopedic researcher he knows. Do I have faith that such things will help me much? Not a lot, but (a) they won't hurt either, and (b) they're cheap.

nollyposh said...

Well ya caught me out there didncha Snow! Lol! (Louise Hay & Annette Noontil) ...And true the money element can indeed be a prob (as i well know) but i also have discovered that if i have faith (oh heck there's THAT word again!) that if i need help, i will also managed the cash ...and i have (and we are a family of 5 on one wage)but i have also learned (part of my journey) that my health is worth spending money on, just like the car (We think it's import to spend money on that when it breaks down no?) ...BTW before i saw the Kinesiologist i too was skeptical (!!!) but i kept my mind open & taking that 1st step towards healing in this way, then lead me onto the next step and the next (Including Bowen therapy & a Cranio Sacral therapist).. For me at least it seems healing has been a continuing journey of combining mainstream medicine with complementary medicine and (as my sister so kindly reminded me in a discussion at a BBQ on the w/end!) at times although i have been in the dark, alone and in pain... i have also allowed myself to grow through these experiences X:-)

(Ps) http://www.wordclay.com/BookPublishing.aspx & http://www.instantpublisher.com/Howitworks.htm

Snowbrush said...

Nollyposh said: "...led me into the next (Including Bowen therapy & a Cranio Sacral therapist"

Nollyposh, you're practically going down the list of therapies that make the medical establishment roll its eyes. So, then, do I hold the medical establishment in uncritical esteem? After two surgeries in one year that cost me thousands of dollars and months of acute pain, no, I'm not wearing rose-colored glasses in regard to modern medicine. Believe me, I study it more than most patients, which means that I recognize its limitations better than most patients. Yet, I still think it's my best shot at regaining a healthy body (it and prudent exercise, proper nutrition, a positive attitude, etc.) because, unlike alternative therapies, modern medicine is (as a whole) based upon scientifically conducted and repeatable studies as opposed to intuition, anecdotal evidence, and even spirit guides. Still, whatever works for you, works for you, and I support you in pursuing it. For me though, it's not a question of money, it's a question of what I would consider to be throwing money away based upon my best efforts to supervise my own care prudently. Believe me, my sweet friend, I would spend money like there's not tomorrow on something I actually believed in based upon SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE.

RNSANE said...

I can, of course, relate to your chronic pain, Snow, though mine, so far, isn't as bad as yours. I am bitter that, at 64-1/2, my 21 year forensic nursing job with the city and county of San Francisco, a position that I could do and did well, was eliminated in massive budget cuts. With a mobility disability and so many years in such a specialized area, I couldn't move into any other nursing position. I ended up retiring, with a decrease of $90,000 a year in income....not happy about that and, really, having trouble making ends meet...not how I envisioned the last part of my life.

You are an incredible writer, though, in spite of your pain and, though I may not necessarily agree with all you say, I welcome your opinions and thoroughly look forward to each post.

I wish I could ease your pain..but, hell, I can't even take care of mine.

Snowbrush said...

RNSane said: "I ended up retiring, with a decrease of $90,000 a year in income..."

Whoa, 90-grand a year less to retire on! Man oh man, you would be living high with that kind of money, at least in most parts of the country. I am so sorry.

Yep, I too wish I could ease my pain, your pain, and a lot of other people's pain. Age does cause one to get hit between the eyes by human limitations, does it not?

Debra Kay said...

I've been thinking a lot about life lately-I've recently been laid up with an injury and the flu. While I had the flu I didn't think much about anything, which was kind of nice, but then the flu was gone and I had a lot of pain from the fall (I fell off a horse).

So, I've had time on my hands and to avoid thinking about all the things I should be doing but couldn't, I tried to think about what I'd like to do with the rest of my life. I'm 50, there is still time to do SOMETHING really fabulous, but not if I don't start it now.

And that's just it-I don't have a clue. I always thought I'd have something that I just knew was my life's calling-and nothing really has called. I have a lot of things I enjoy and I happy-but I get the feeling the world would keep right on turning whether I was in it or not. That is comforting on one hand, but a rude awakening to realize that I really just don't matter that much.

Snowbrush said...

Debra Kay said: "I always thought I'd have something that I just knew was my life's calling-and nothing really has called."

Debra, I'm with you. I went through much of my life thinking that I was on earth for some special reason, which would eventually be revealed to me, only it never was. Like me, you're in a situation where you have maybe too much time to think.

Bernie said...

Snow I have read and re-read your post.....I know you have pain and I am so sorry about that but you are not the only one who has experienced great pain. Perhaps I shouldn't say this but I think you are taking far too many pain killers, and justifying it by saying your pain is so horrible then saying they don't help....you still have pain....so why keep taking them? They probably interfer with your thinking.
You do have a gift for writing, yet you find excuses not too. Others will recommend something to you and again you find a reason not to even try it. This makes me feel sad Snow, you are better than this.
Life will go on if you, me or anyone is not here....that is life. We have one shot at it then pass it on to another generation, someone must of done something during their liftimes as we are surrounded by new technology, beautiful buildings, landscapes. We have advanced so far in our society and world. Everyone in some way has contributed. It is not perfect, nothing is.
I'm sorry Snow but I think its time you quit playing the victim, you are enjoying this role far too much. All of us have been victims or survivors at some time throughout our lives. It is not about what happens to us, it is about how we deal or react to it.
Okay so you are getting older, we begin to age the second we are born. Every age can be enjoyed, again it is a choice.
Please Snow find someone you can trust that you can share your heart and feelings with, someone who is educated enough to understand and advise you in a healthy way. We as blogger friends are not qualified and I am concerned your depression may get darker, I send you much love Snow, I pray for your health and more than anything I wish you could accept yourself, your limitations and love yourself. You say your life is Peggy and your dogs, there are many people who don't have this much, and would love to have what you have, a warm house, food in the pantry, a good woman and the love of a pet and insurance to cover your medical bills. More than anything Snow I wish for you contentment, its something I feel you have never known and keep serching for. I hope you understand I don't wish to sound mean or uncaring, it is because I do care I say these things. I also feel you want our opinions or you wouldn't put your words here on your blog for us to read if not to comment on.
Always in my heart and prayers....:-) Hugs

Snowbrush said...

Bernie, thank you so much for your loving and well-thought out response. It is late, but I will go ahead and respond to a few things.

For the most part, I take two (50 mg) Demerol tablets at bedtime and, at most, two more during the night. This does come to a substantial amount of a strong narcotic, but I do only take them at night. I also substitute other narcotics from time to time so as to avoid building up too much of a tolerance. As I said, they do little to kill the pain, but they make it less disagreeable by giving me a mellower attitude toward it, and by making me a little more drowsy.

As I said, I never (well, almost never) take anything for pain during the daytime, and I often experiment with substituting sleeping pills for the narcotics at night (on my very worst nights, I take Dalmane, a sleeping pill which is far more effective than any narcotic I have). I also occasionally try to get through the night with nothing at all, but I haven't succeeded at this for at least six weeks, which means that the pain is actually worse now (nine weeks after surgery) than it was for the first few weeks after surgery. Much of my angst comes from the resultant fear that the surgery--or rather the recovery--has failed, and the surgery will have to be repeated. The only way to verify this would be with an MRI, and I'm not going to have one done until it is so obviously necessary that it's a no-brainer. MRIs are expensive, but, worse than that, they are excruciating to someone with my problem.

As for relishing my victim role, I don't see myself as a victim except, perhaps, of myself. In that regard, I have felt stuck for a great many years, feeling that I could do "more" with my writing but not knowing how to go about it, or even knowing how to approach finding out how to go about it. I did spend a couple of years writing professionally, but learned that it meant subordinating what I wanted to write for what an editor wanted. Could I not, then, just pick out some periodicals or book publishers and send my work to them and let the chips fall where they may? Yes, although the process is a bit more cumbersome than that, I certainly could. Will I? Who knows--I haven't yet, and I've had a lot of years in which to do so.

"I know you have pain and I am so sorry about that but you are not the only one who has experienced great pain."

And, unlike many, I have the hope that my present pain-causing problems will someday be behind me. Again, I don't see myself as a victim so much as I see myself as someone with a bummer of a problem. As I've said before, mine is far from the worst problem in the world, but it's the worst I've experienced. Well, even that isn't true. I would say that sleep apnea before I got a CPAP was worse. It just didn't drag on as long.

"They [narcotics] probably interfer with your thinking."

Yes, and the pain does too (it's a bit like trying to focus your attention when you have a toothache). In fact, I often have to struggle to think straight. I use writing as a way to focus my thoughts and to distract myself from discomfort. It is the best way I know to do this.

Gaston Studio said...

Sometimes, I think of our (human) life as compared to hills of ants... who go about their daily tasks with no thought and perhaps no joy, as if automated. Other times, I'm grateful for the loving, albeit small, family around me. On the average though, I go through life like an ant.

So sorry your pain hasn't lessened much Snow. I'm not going to offer advice of any kind because I think you're intelligent and aware enough to seek professional help close to home. I just wish someone could find something that would really work for you, for at least long periods of time. Hang in there.

Marion said...

Snow, I had an epiphany once that pleasure was simply the absnece of pain. I was a bit put out when I discovered that "Epicurus and his followers defined the highest pleasure as the absence of suffering, and pleasure itself as "freedom from pain in the body and freedom from turmoil in the soul"." ~From Wikipedia

I'm living with chronic/acute pain and I struggle with almost every issue you discussed. Only I have no insurance and therefore am able to buy only the cheapest pain medication that comes in generic. I had a first visit at a pain managment clinic and had to cough up $300 for that visit, then almost $200 for the medications. I couldn't fill one that I needed the worst because it does not come in generic. Needless to say, I foresee a lot of pain in my future because I have no income at the moment and won't be able to pay these obscene prices for long. What to do? The only way you get help in this country is to be penniless and then medicaid is iffy. I can't see spending our entire little savings for medications then becoming destitute. At the moment, the state of Louisiana is not paying medicaid bills to doctors. My poor 81 year old mother who has severe osteoporosis of the spine cannot find a doctor who will take her medicaid. She lives on less than $600 per month. Even her doctor of 30 years will no longer take her medicaid (which pays for what medicare doesn't cover) because he's not being paid by medicaid. It's a total government clusterfuck. I say all the Senators and government officials & their families should have to spend a year on Medicaid and see how they feel. My sisters and I have had to pool what money we can scrape together to help Mama pay her bills. It's sad.

I pray that you get some relief from your pain soon. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Love & Blessings!

ellen abbott said...

As terrible as your life is it could also be worse. You could still have all that pain, no narcotics and be a beggar living on the streets in India. I don't mean that your feelings aren't justified, but it can always be worse.

The purpose of existence is just that...existence. The full range of which is why some people seem to be charmed and others seem to do nothing but suffer. If you are not more special than any other part of existence, neither are you less special. Though knowing that doesn't make things any better.

I'm sorry that you are having to suffer through all this and I hope that you do achieve some measure of recovery.

My personal pains, arthritis in my thumbs and a lower spine that I have to keep strong, are nothing compared to what you (and others) suffer every day, and still live on. But live we do. We have no choice in the matter (well, except for suicide of course) until the body just wears out. Unfortunately for those who suffer chronic pain, pain itself doesn't wear the body out. Just the spirit.

I have no way to make it better for you. All I can do is witness and recognize your life.

the walking man said...

Because I don't know you well I am not going to comment on the attitudinal portions of this post other than to say, yeah babe depression is for light weights.

But after 15 surgeries and years of chemical intervention for pain resulting from a Broken neck (twice) and 7 fused vertebrae to correct chronic pain, and well over (seriously) 100 damn doctors I found a specialist in pain management that didn't have his head four square up his ass.

One who knew the best protocols for the different types of pain his patients were encountering.

This is what I ended up with

It reduced me from 11 different scrips to 2 for occasional use for pain or when I have left the thing turned off because I don't want to wear the battery down to soon (5-7 year life span)

Doctors find it easier to write a scrip than do the research and keep current.

Here is where I found massive relief. I know they are here in MI but they may know of someone in OR who doesn't have their head where the sun doesn't shine.

All I can say Snow is that the damn thing works and even though it's implanted in my ass and the wires run all the way up my spinal column the only things it caused me to forgo are deep tissue massages and 9 pain meds.

rhymeswithplague said...

This is not original with me (I think I read it on a tee-shirt), but I laugh when I think of it:

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."

Being covered in oil and crawling through blackberries sounds positively erotic.

If in any way your pain has caused you to write posts like this one, perhaps that is why you have it. Not that it is an envious position in which to be, though.

[signed] An Admirer, a.k.a Spittlebug #17,643

P.S. - Snow, you are an amazing person. I mean that in the best possible way.

If you are not writing on this blog, I'd like to know what you think you are doing.

rhymeswithplague said...

Ever the pedant, I wanted to point out that in your first response to nollyposh, you said "antidotal" when you meant "anecdotal." Then, in your second response to nollyposh, you used "anecdotal" correctly. Which led me back to your first response to nollyposh to see whether you really did mean "antidotal" (with a wry smile) and now I am convinced you DID [mean "antidotal" (with a wry smile)].

If I am wrong, please don't correct me.

The-Fire-Olympus said...

I've always said that shallow thinkers are happier than deep thinkers.

When you over thin things you end up miserable which I believe explians the high suicide rates among writers,artist and atheists.

It's amaing how one person or one thing can make your life have meaniing. It's the little moments of peace and the familiar that seem to give us the most happiness.

I least that is what I believ from my observations.

Cheri Starr said...

I've not been blogging because I seem to have found myself knee deep in amateur porn. lol...who know that I'd be such a hit. All of the time I used to spend writing, I'm now creating sexual adventures for myself...
You can look me up on Xtube as AlphaHarlot...You can see how busy I've been.
Porn is my purpose. It balances me.

Snowbrush said...

Gaston Studio said: "I go through life like an ant."

Jane, I immediately thought, upon reading this, of Martin Buber, so I copied the following over from Wikipedia. His is a fairly readable book and not too long either.

"'I and Thou', is a book by Martin Buber. Buber's main proposition is that we may address existence in two ways: that of the "I" towards an "It", towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience; and that of the 'I' towards 'Thou', in which we move into existence in a relationship without bounds.... All of our relationships, Buber contends, bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou."

Marion said: "I had an epiphany once that pleasure was simply the absnece of pain."

Along with the ancients you mentioned, Schopenhauer also beat you to this realization. He wrote about pleasure being a negative state in that it is simply the absence of discomfort as opposed to the presence of comfort.

I'm very sorry that you pain goes on unrelieved. What a drag to finally get a referral and then not be able to afford the meds. You might try contacting the manufacturer (some of them will give you the drugs, at least for awhile) as well as ask the doctor if there is not a different drug (that comes in a generic) that might substitute. I find that doctors often write prescriptions with no thought for how much they cost.

Snowbrush said...

Ellen Abbott wrote: " If you are not more special than any other part of existence, neither are you less special. Though knowing that doesn't make things any better."

I think it makes things better. It is even partly why I didn't feel that Bernie was right about me relishing my victimhood. As Solomon wrote, "Time and chance befalleth all men." As I see it, we are but an evolutionary means of carrying on our species, which is why we begin to fall apart as soon as we pass prime breeding age. After that, our lives are meaningless in regard to the purpose for which we were created.

To Walking Man. Two broken necks? Took Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" to heart did we? I will visit the sites you recommended. I have put off seeing a pain specialist because I had hoped to actually get past my pain. As it is, I still hurt from the surgery ten months ago as well as the one two months ago, plus I have other accumulated aches and pains related to wear and tear and aging.

Rhymes said: "Being covered in oil and crawling through blackberries sounds positively erotic."

Why, thank you, Rhymes, you silly boy you. I also thank you for your kind words and for your corrections. I went back to check antidote versus anecdote, and I did indeed mean the latter. I do remember when I wrote it that I had a sinking feeling that I might be spelling it wrong. I guess I told you at some point that my father's father moved to Mississippi from your area, specifically from Bridgeport, Alabama, and that I still have family around Trenton, Georgia, although I doubt that I will ever see them again.

The Fire-Olympus said: "I've always said that shallow thinkers are happier than deep thinkers."

Why thank you--I guess! I don't know if this is true though simply because I've seen too many dumb/swallow people who were miserable and too many smart/deep people who were happy. Artistic types are another matter, my guess being that art really does have its roots in mental illness. I hadn't heard that atheists are more prone to suicide. If you have some studies on that, I would LOVE to see them.

Chris Starr said: "All of the time I used to spend writing, I'm now creating sexual adventures for myself..."

Wow, maybe i should try that. Maybe ALL bloggers should try that. It sure would clear up the Internet if it worked. Well, then again, maybe it would bog it down with all those extra photos.

Cheri Starr said: "Porn is my purpose. It balances me."

I probably looked good enough to make porn at one time. If I may be so bold, you might branch out as far as what you find purpose in because you most assuredly won't always be able to make porn that anyone will want to look at. If I am being overly presumptuous, please pardon me as I truly do have your best interests at heart.

Snowbrush said...

Bernie sad: "Others will recommend something to you and again you find a reason not to even try it."

Bernie, I meant to address this last night as I don't know what you're referring to unless you were writing in regard to Nollyposh's suggestions about alternative medical options. If this was the case, I have studied all of them, which means that I didn't reject her suggestions off-handedly. Oftentimes, Nollyposh's decisions are made on the basis of feelings, intuition, and, I suspect, an aversion to modern medicine, which she rightly sees as a discipline that is often unfeeling and downright dangerous. By contrast, I'm more inclined to go by research data partly because I simply don't have tens of thousands of dollars to throw at various kinds of alternative healtcare practitioners based upon no better evidence than how my friends liked them. If you will go back and read what i wrote to her, you will see that I AM taking some suggestions that my PT made about things that probably won't help, but aren't likely to hurt either and that have the added advantage of being cheap.

Natalie said...

How do you know whether something that you have written on this blog page, has changed someone's life for the better?

How do you know if you have given someone hope, because they don't feel alone in their beliefs about the world, because they have found you to bounce ideas off?

How do you know whether your words provide opportunity for many to ponder, and to look inside themselves for answers, where before they were oblivious?

I can tell you right now, Mr Brush, that YOU are a very important human. You may not know until you get to the other side, but you have served a great purpose in helping people grow in awareness. Because of your wisdom and intelligence, there are many here in Blogland, who have become a better person because of you.

Each of us does wonderful things while here on the Earth.Even if those deeds seem miniscule to you, your words/ kind deeds etc. may have a PROFOUND impact on somebody elses life.

PLEASE, stop saying you have served no purpose. It is a symptom of depression to continually castigate yourself, PLEASE stop this.
Being in chronic pain will cause depression every time, try and step outside yourself and see that EVERY one of us has something to offer.xx♥

Snowbrush said...

Natalie said: "You may not know until you get to the other side, but you have served a great purpose in helping people grow in awareness."

The other side? Do you mean Australia where you and Nollyposh live? Anywayhow, thank you very much. I sometimes feel that mostly what I do in regard to you (and your Australian compatriot, Nollyposh) is to disagree with everything you say because the two of you mystically oriented, and I am not. So, your compliment means even more to me than it would if we were mostly in agreement.

Natalie: "PLEASE, stop saying you have served no purpose."

Well, okay then. It will be hard, but I will give it my best effort. I suppose even spittlebugs serve some function if it's only to make human beings smile and have sex with other spittlebugs.

geek said...

Made me think how afraid I am that I'll be forgotten once I die -- which is why I've planned for my skeletal remains to be donated to the Anthropology Laboratory.

Family can be a purpose in life. Through your writing, (correct me if I'm wrong) I see how important Peggy is to you. Depression might be nothing, but it's doing hell to me and my family keeps me on the thin thread of life. Plus, being a Filipino means that without family I'm nothing. :)

And I would agree pretty much with what Natalie had said. Lucky us for the internet. At one point, I'm sure you've touched someone in a dark tiny room who has lost all hope in humanity and the world.

Natalie said...

Pssst! Snow, I have a sneaking suspicion that Australia is actually Heaven. Shhhhhh........

Reuben said...

I am so keenly aware of the presumptuous conceit, the plainly bad form, with which a reader will sometimes recommend another writer to the blog author, and so to project his interests - worse, to pretend to teach - that it is with some trepidation that I err not once but twice in the same manner by suggesting for your consideration an article, written by philosopher Thomas Nagel, simply entitled, "The Absurd."

It is much better than the last which you have probably (and rightly) forgotten or never read at all, and I will be so bold as to encourage you, should you find its subject at all interesting, to read it in its entirety. My hope is not to instruct you, but having had my thoughts revolve around its content for some time without resolution, I would be very pleased to read any of your decisions about the article, whether addressed to me in comments, or subtly expressed in future posts. If this does not seem fit, then perhaps you will simply appreciate the read.

My true aim in remarking on your post in this way is, I think, to in some way express the resonance of your writing with my mental world, though our circumstances be worlds apart. It is sometimes humorous in a frightening way and frequently lucidly biting, and in this case exploits a certain paranoia of mental collapse conjoined with a dread fear of a future banal physical deterioration culminating unimaginatively in a useless whimper. For this I am grateful.

Reuben said...

Here is a link:


Snowbrush said...

Geek said: "Depression might be nothing, but it's doing hell to me and my family keeps me on the thin thread of life."

Geek, my dear friend, I don't seriously dismiss the hell on earth that depression can create. I know it only too well from looking within, and, like you, it is my family (Peggy) that has held me firmly to life when I might have otherwise departed (how can one know for sure?). As to what I wrote about laughing at depression, I have a black sense of humor, which is often misunderstood and/or misappreciated, although it serves to keep me grounded and from becoming as heavy about my problems as I might otherwise get.

Natalie said: "I have a sneaking suspicion that Australia is actually Heaven."

And i thought it was all sharks, crocodiles and deadly snakes!

Reuben, that last paragraph was something! I recall a weekly magazine that I got as a school child. It was entitled "Reading for Meaning," and its purpose was simply to teach kids to pay attention to what they read by giving them passages and then having them review them. What you wrote could have been from a review of my entry. I am quite honored to have someone pay me such exquisite attention. I will look up your reference.

geek said...

"I have a black sense of humor, which is often misunderstood and/or misappreciated"

-- I think I noticed it from your entries. :) Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, I don't even react correctly to humor, that's all. Cheers!

Just_because_today said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just_because_today said...

Illness is a lonely place. Interesting but a woman said to me in a letter "you will lose some friends, dont sweat it".

Living in constant pain really makes you at times wonder if it's worth it. I can totally appreciate that.

"I appreciate the fact that neither Peggy nor I have been diagnosed with cancer." I was and in all the bad things it brings, it also has brought me peace in many other aspects of my life.

I have, too, since then ask what the purpose of my life is and I have not found a good answer that satisfies that question. But whatever the purpose is or even if there is no purpose, I hold on to that life and fight to keep it with me.

Chrisy said...

Dearest Snowbrush...I cannot believe that you're in this much pain and your doctor is not offering assistance...I wish I was there and could go with you to him/her and demand that you be given something to make your life more comfortable.The way you're being forced to exist is just not on! I defy anybody to be in severe unending pain and still be cheery and upbeat. Now I've just gone and read through some of the comments and I notice you said you don't often take pain medication during the day...am wondering if you could try taking it every four hours continuously and see how that goes. My love to you...and I mean that...I really have grown to love you Snowbrush...through sharing snippets of your life and thoughts...I know I don't do this on my blog...but I'm happy for this to be a one sided love affair...
ps This sentence is a doozie - I see life as like a movie that’s weird and not terribly interesting, but that you keep watching just to see how it ends.

Snowbrush said...

Just_because_today said: "Living in constant pain really makes you at times wonder if it's worth it."

Yes. Some people have pointed out that things could be worse, and I do hold onto that thought, yet, it doesn't enable me to have a normal existence. I just never get used to hurting. I should think it would be possible, but if there's a way, I haven't found it. I know that many turn to meditation, but it doesn't suit me somehow. I feel like it should, but that doesn't make it so. The best I can do is to distract myself. To that end, I read, write, watch TV. It's getting to be Spring here, and the native plants are a passion of mine, so I'm taking a lot of pleasure is watching my old friends bloom again.

Chrisy said: "I cannot believe that you're in this much pain and your doctor is not offering assistance."

I would need to see a pain specialist to get more effective pain relief (which I might very well do in the next month or two--I'm holding off for various reasons). My experience with surgeons is that they are narrowly focused on surgery. I like my particular surgeon a lot, but you can't beat a dead horse. He has done what he knows to do, and is willing to give me pretty much any medication I ask for, but, beyond that, he's at a loss. As for taking the pills every four hours...the reason they aren't working so well now is that I have been on them for ten months. Narcotics and sleeping pills (upon which I also rely) work best the less you take. If I took them every four hours, I would soon be taking phenomenal amounts for very little relief. I also greatly fear their toxicity, plus they have lots of unpleasant side effects like drowsiness, itchiness, constipation, dizziness, and nausea. I don't even feel safe driving the day AFTER I take Demerol at night. I've learned from experience that I'll THINK I'm over its effects only to have the world start spinning sideways AND up and down when I get in a car and start moving.

Chrisy: "I really have grown to love you"

Why thank you so very much, Chrisy. I can't tell you how important my blog has become to me--especially now--largely because of the support I get from you and others. I awaken many times each night, and often feel the need to get up for a while so the pain can quiet down (it's anatomically worse when I'm lying down). Many times, I'll go to my blog for a few minutes to see if anything has come in. Since I have readers on at least four continents, it is not unusual to find something new even though it's 3:00 a.m. in Oregon, USA.

Love to all...

rhymeswithplague said...

I wish it were getting to be Spring here -- this has been one of the worst winters (translation: long spells of cold spells, and snow more than once) in our part of the country in many years. Some years we've had forsythia bloom in January and azaleas bloom in February.

The folks at the Winter Olympics up in Vancouver probably wouldn't agree.

JOE TODD said...

Snow I always enjoy a visit to your blog. All the years I spent dispensing pain medications as a pharmacist I never really understood my patients pain and I am sorry for that.. I like Bob Perks message so I'll do a copy and paste.

If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit http://www.IWishYouEnough.com
and submit your email address.

"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

pink dogwood said...

I think about you a lot. I think of something to say to make you smile. I try to think of something to write that would make you forget your pain - but I mostly come up with nothing, so I don't leave a comment. But I do think about you a lot if that means anything.

swan said...

Snow, I don't know the words to express the way I feel about this post and your life. Everything I want to say I don't have word wisdom for. I just wish some how some way you could get better, get to feeling good. You are a beautiful person, and you would be missed, you would be missed by me if you went away.
your friend,

The Writing Instinct said...

Wishing you wellness and health. Relish the special moments you have with loved ones, create positive memories for you and for them.

I guess regardless of the type of sense of humor we have or react with, it is non-the-less humor. And without that what else is there?

Reuben said...

Hi Snowbrush. I was reading the first of a series of short reflections by Tony Judt on living with Lou Gehrig's disease, and several themes he touches on reminded me of your own writings. Though afflicted in unique ways, perhaps you might find in him a fleeting kinship on those godawful nights that you wrote of when there is little else to do but suffer and wait for sleep.

Reuben said...



His kajirah said...

Hi Snow

I was able to relate to much of what you've spoken.. or written. Idle thoughts and wonders have run through my own mind.. at times over and over again.

A side effect of pain itself perhaps. I have to believe physical non stop pain causes mental and emotional pain from my own barely breathing at times truth.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to experience a remission, other times I realize this is probably as good as it's going to get and it's not very good at all.

I just try to keep laughing..
and laughing.. and laughing it all away. Then the tears come and I laugh it all off again.

I don't know.. maybe it just seems so.

Thinking of you and hoping you get some pain free days. At least moments to catch your breath to ride out the waves or lesson the flares.


All Consuming said...

“I laugh at depression (ha, ha, ha)! I left mere depression behind months ago. Depression is for pikers. Depression is okay as a starting point for people whose goal is to lose their minds, but that’s the most that can be said for it.”

“I would be locked away in a padded cell and force-fed anti-psychotics. These drugs pose a significant risk of tardive dyskinesia (a permanent condition that causes one to compulsively grimace, stick out his tongue, smack his lips, blink his eyes, and lots of other party deflating activities), and this condition alone is enough to convince me that I really, really don’t want to be locked away in a padded cell.”

Oh this made me laugh out loud Snow; your wit shall prevail, much like mine, even if our minds go AWOL.

Obviously I’m with you on the pain issues and lack of sleep.

And as for “but, really, is that enough to make you feel that all the shit you had to put up to stay alive was worth the bother?”……

The jury is out on this for me, but is finally leaning towards the answer ‘yes’, from what was a definite, unequivocal ‘no’ for many, many years.

I’m ‘lucky’ that as I’ve got older my personal life and living conditions have significantly improved even if my health has not. If I’d had a great life when younger, and then it had deteriorated with my health I’d be with you 100%. Having said that I do feel this is just a brief hiatus of joy which shall disappear down the plug-hole should I live to see my parents and ultimately my husband die. However I’ll deal with that when it happens and in the mean whilst put it back in the tightly locked drawer where it lives gagged and bound at the back of my mind.

I think if there is a purpose for you to any of this fairground ride we call life tis that you HAVE touched people with your writing, and they actually WILL swap/recall stories about you, both on the web and in what is referred to as ‘real life’ as well.

And you may be disappointed to hear, that should I still be around I’ll have plenty of good things to say about you! Hahaha, tis true.

Great post, as ever.

Snowbrush said...

Oh, my, but I've gotten behind in responding again. Sometimes, I just need to be away from the computer for a day or two--you know, go out and have a life. Anyway, I might only respond to those whose thoughts especially call for a response.

Rhymes, yeah, I've heard much about the horrendous weather back East. Here in Oregon, USA, it's about average--rain and more rain.

Joe, thanks for the link.

Pink, I was thrilled to hear that you often come by even though you might not leave a note.

Reuben, I'll go to the link. I read much of what you last referenced, but I simply don't have the attention for too much intellectual argument. I tried to print it so as to make the reading easier, but it came out in a tiny font and, try as I might, I couldn't make the font larger. Suffice it to say that logic is on his side--to the extent that I read--but logic doesn't always over-rule feelings and emotions. For example, I fear being dead, although I have no thought that I will fear it once I get there because I don't anticipate anything but unconsciousness. This being true, why fear it now? I don't have a logically defensible explanation.

The Writing Instinct said: "Relish the special moments you have with loved ones."

This is the most important thing, I believe.

His Kajirah said: "I sometimes wonder what it would be like to experience a remission, other times I realize this is probably as good as it's going to get and it's not very good at all."

Here is where we differ significantly because I do have hope for a better future. I think of you often and wonder if I could survive your life. On the one hand, suicide seems less tenable to me as I go along, yet I can imagine reaching a point at which I would ask Peggy to let me go. I admire your strength, yet I am struck by the irony of the fact that you are in a relationship in which you are the acknowledged inferior. I rather doubt that you are in any sense inferior other than that your pain keeps trying to crush you all the way to the floor. That is a burden for sure, but it's a matter of circumstance rather than innate inferiority.

All Consuming said: " I do feel this is just a brief hiatus of joy which shall disappear down the plug-hole should I live to see my parents and ultimately my husband die."

Peggy used to say that she didn't think she could survive the death of her parents, and she even went so far as to verbally "forbid" them to die. She has since made it through the loss of her mother, and with a lot less angst that I experienced after the loss of my mother, although I lacked Peggy's morbid fear. Losing one's parents is an expected loss that nearly all of us survive. Losing one's spouse would be--in your case and mine--a lot worse, I should think. I have every confidence that Peggy could survive losing me, but I don't know if the reverse is true. Because your own life is at some risk so very often (from your care providers if not from your ailments), I wonder if your husband has not gone at least part of the way toward being prepared for losing you. I often try to imagine being in his shoes, but of course, I cannot.

Reuben said...

“I read much of what you last referenced, but I simply don't have the attention for too much intellectual argument…”

That you are prevented from giving it much attention is completely understandable. Even so I appreciate your response, and hope that the following rejoinder is somewhat worth its length and not overly self-indulgent.

“Suffice it to say that logic is on his side--to the extent that I read--but logic doesn't always over-rule feelings and emotions…”

You are quite right, Snow. Indeed, if either does serve the other, then reason seems to be the slave of our passions. This same conviction made me distrust Nagel at the beginning of his article where he purports to show that there are no good *arguments* demonstrating that our existence is absurd. However, he does go on to explain that these failed arguments are gesturing towards the *actual* absurdity of existence, where through the power of self-consciousness I observe from a universal perspective the inescapable seriousness with which I regard my own life. Whereas Camus wrote that our existence is absurd because the world does not meet our expectations, as if a different universe could provide meaning, Nagel suggests that being self-conscious creature entails the absurd condition, where by simply reflecting on my ambitions, hopes, fears, regrets, or whatever else that I am necessarily determined to feel as being preeminently important, I then realize their triviality, and so come to view myself ironically whenever those passions take hold – which is to say, *all the time*.

Is he correct? Having an ironic attitude about life in the face of absurdity will hardly seem to diminish mental anguish at, say, the prospect of death, and not at all physical suffering, though perhaps it is the only honest attitude aside from utter despair. I do not know. His analysis provocative nonetheless, if only poorly reflected upon here.

Pantheist Mom said...

Snow, I was reading your post with a clenched heart, worried for you, until I read:
"While we watched, Peggy threw the ball to our blind dog, Bonnie, who would alternate between searching for the ball and humping my leg." and I laughed out loud (and then immediately felt guilty for getting some enjoyment out of what stemmed from your pain). ...though I suppose that's what you're aiming for ultimately, so I won't feel too guilty.

I love humans - I do. But we are quite arrogant to believe that we need a purpose to our lives. I don't belittle that - I am the same way. But as far as I know, most other species here on the earth simply "are" - and it's our uniquely human need to assign purpose that makes that sort of life seem bleak. The pantheist part of me will occasionally arise and I can feel myself as simply another wave in the ocean - a strand in the big web...but most of the time, I am right in there assigning days as "good" or "bad" or "productive" and assessing my contributions. Personally, I don't think there *is* a purpose to our lives, and I think there is a way to accept that without it being freaking depressing. I don't have many answers though.

I also want to say that I see you as anything BUT a victim. I love that you use your blog as therapy because I end up benefiting. I admire you a great deal.

His kajirah said...

Hi Snow

The hopes of a better tomorrow does thrive inside me. I suppose I'm exhausted of the hope. It does still exist though. The docs can tell me there's nothing else to do for me and the lingering thoughts remain... I can survive this. I am surviving it even when it seems I'm not.

The thoughts of suicide are just that.. thoughts. And probably selfish thoughts. I suppose I'd more like to be a bear that had an opportunity to hibernate for a good while and begin again.

Have had conversations before with my husband about something you mentioned.. Peggy letting you go.

That is what I want most one day and in an opposite sense, he's ask the same of me.. that at a certain point of suffering to "let him go".

I promised, but I'm not sure if he could keep that promise of me. He would want to hold on and not let me go. There's no mistake I would want to do the same for him. I suppose for me it would be my will to please and obey that would have me do so on his part.

Now a days its harder and harder for me to even form words and sentences that make much sense. I assume it's the scattered mentality induced from pain.

Even in our bits of differences, I love reading you and learning you.

Warmest wishes always

Mim said...

Snow...my hubby has gotten alot of pain relief from accupunture. Do you have anyone around you who is a certified practioner? Give it a try - it might help a bit.

I have another friend who ripped her shoulder, had it "fixed" and has been in pain ever since. What is it with shoulders and pain????

I do wish you could get some relief...

lakeviewer said...

I'm glad to see you getting around visiting people. It helps to know there are folks out there willing to listen. Though, it's very hard to really understand unless you have experienced similar pain.

I send you sunshine and clean air from the coast. This Ocean is truly a mystical place. I hope you find some comfort soon.

rhymeswithplague said...

I hadn't really felt the depth of your pain until I realized today that you have posted only four times in the past two months.

Get well, Snow, or make shorter posts. And that's an order. Because Blogland needs you.

rhymeswithplague said...

Make that get well AND make shorter posts....

Snowbrush said...

Reuben, I see absurdity versus non-absurdity as a value judgment, and value judgments are necessarily subjective, which, of course, makes them unprovable. Like Camus, Sartre also thought that our lives (as well as everything else) are absurd, although he said it was due to our inescapable contingence, which, he believed, we hopelessly try to overcome by making our lives non-contingent (i.e. self-extant). This amounts to trying to make ourselves into deities--if only minor ones.

His kijarah said: "I'd more like to be a bear that had an opportunity to hibernate for a good while and begin again."

I know what you mean, only my fantasy is of an artificially induced coma in which I am knocked out for a few months.

"His kijarah said: "its harder and harder for me to even form words and sentences that make much sense."

Again, I know what you mean. Although I would never presume to equate my suffering with your own, I see myself becoming stupider by the day. I can't even spell any more much less remember anything. At first, I thought all this was due to a combination of never being off strong drugs long enough for them to get out of my system plus the distraction of the pain itself. Then, my physical therapist mentioned that the brains of chronic pain sufferers physically shrinks. Just imagine how many cells you would need to lose for your brain to be measurably smaller! I can hardly imagine anything worse than losing my intellect, yet nothing I do to try to hold onto it makes much difference. I can only make sense on my blog by exerting the most painstaking attention.

Mim said: "...accupunture. Do you have anyone around you who is a certified practioner?"

Eugene is overloaded with acupuncturists and all other manner of alternative therapists. I went for ten sessions and got no relief. Of course, this doesn't mean that acupuncture is useless, rather that my experience with that particular acupuncturist for my particular problem was useless. Yet, there is so little scientific evidence that it works (beyond the placebo effect) that, having spent $600 plus dollars on it, I'm not inclined to pursue it further.

Mim said: "What is it with shoulders and pain????"

Recovery (from the tendon repair alone) takes a year at best, and I'm not a best case scenario, partly because I have other problems, and had other procedures done at the time of surgery, plus I am not so young anymore. Shoulders are more complex than knees and hips and inherently less stable. It is this very instability that enables their greater range of motion.

Lakeviewer said: "it's very hard to really understand unless you have experienced similar pain."

I've noted that the people who are most likely to tell me, in effect, to buck up and purport myself bravely are not people who appear to have a history of chronic pain, which is a far different animal than acute pain simply because it is so wearing. It's the difference between holding a heavy object for hours as opposed to minutes.

Rhymes said: "I hadn't really felt the depth of your pain until I realized today that you have posted only four times in the past two months."

This is because I write so slowly anymore combined with the fact that "thought pieces" (as opposed to "feeling pieces"" take longer. Without looking back, I can only remember three of the four that you mentioned, and two of them were thought pieces. Since they also concerned a subject about which people can easily become upset, I spent a great deal of time trying to make my ideas less offensive. I am definitely not one of those people who say, in effect, that it's my blog, and if you don't like it, leave. I hold onto my followers as best I can while continuing to speak my truth.

Just_because_today said...

Snow, do you know if the pain will ever stop? do you know? when I had that untolerable pain no one knew what caused it so part of my dispair was thinking that if it couldn't be diagnosed, then it couldn't be healed.

I do believe that we find ways to deal with everything. The greatest empires were built in the most difficult circumstances.

Strayer said...

Snow, you got to stay out of those psyche wards and off those pushed horrible drugs. Tardiv won't be the only thing you end up with. You want to find nutcases, go to a psyche ward all right, but don't observe the patients, observe the psychologists and shrinks. That's where the nuts are.

Pain is terrible. Don't know what to say. What about nerve blocks or just cut those nerves. Your arms would hang uselessly I guess. Then I guess you'd have to have them cut off too. Gangrene and all.

I guess I'm not much help. My life is far from um picture perfect. I have a purpose, it is to save the feline world. It's a really fine yet tragic purpose, so it fits all the important criteria. Besides, when I'm not complaining about it, I love helping cats, and kind of behind the helping cats, I'm actually helping out the people who care for the cats. Anyhow, after years of taking abuse in the psyche system, I think finding a purpose gave me a way to feel my entire life didn't get wasted. When I die, I'll probably just go black suddenly, but if have a moment before, I might review a bunch of furry faces. That's good enough for me. We're just here on this huge rock in the middle of nowhere, earth, which is quite beautiful. We crawled out of the dirt and there is no purpose to us, any more so than the ants we step on when walking have a purpose. I'm sure the ants pray to gods too.

julie mitchell said...

If I were in your pain I would be in despair too. I really feel compassion for you. I want to know the same thing just-because wants to know...have the drs. given you light at the end of the tunnel? I'm so sorry you're experiencing your ordeal with pain and the beyond of depression, the true dark hole...that black place.
Purpose...I think to love, to learn how to love unconditionally, and if you are an American our highest calling is to shop.
Wish I could cheer you...hug, hug

khelsaoe said...


Only partially related, but I wanted to remind you that you're brilliant.


julie mitchell said...

Chelsea is right...you are brilliant. And one of your purposes is to make people think, which you do really well.

Matawheeze said...

Oops! I must have missed the line on the Life Contract where there was meaning? I thought I had to fill in that blank myself. Some days I do, some I don't. It seems to be up to me and the prevailing attitude.

Sticking with the small things is all important as the big events have passed me by. Some days all it takes is my cats warm fur or sun on a daffodil. Those have to do.

Write the book Snow. Not for publishing. Not for some reader. Write it for the same reason you blog. Or perhaps these blogs are our book?

Anonymous said...

I find it very profound that in addition to your pain and near hysteria from the constant overload on your endurance, that you must defend yourself to the very people who NEED to spend time in YOUR shoes before offering opinions.

Platitudes, prayers, "it could be worse" and suggestions of "what helped" them will "help you" are what drives many humans into the Amazon. After 1 1/2 years of non-stop excruciating pain, I felt the most frustration from the very people who should never have offered their half-assed assessments of MY situation. THEY, as much as the pain, were what drove me to the back yard with my cocked .38 (so I wouldn't mess up the drapes). Then one of those busy-bodies stopped in to visit, not only to give me the latest health news from the National Enquirer, but to interrupt me as I steadied myself to pull the trigger.

Yeah. Any way they can f*** up our lives, they're ready, willing and extremely able.

Anonymous said...

And to comment on your lack of purpose and relativity: As I look back on MY life, I see absolutely no purpose, accomplishment, or moment of fulfillment by me that required MY existence.

Taking that one step further, I can see NO purpose that anyone else has served beyond random acts of procreation and work related toil.

Afterlife???? There wasn't even a "HERE AND NOW" life of any quality or importance!

Eventually, we ALL end up disappearing but during life there are those who enjoy, suffer, drink, do drugs, have physical and mental atrocities inflicted upon them, or walk through life as if gifted by fortune.

And to all these people, there is no one we should bother explaining ourselves to.

Snowbrush said...

Just_because_today said: "Snow, do you know if the pain will ever stop?"

Recovery from this surgery is notoriously difficult, and I have had two of them in ten months, and my recoveries are both proving even more painful and prolonged than usual. I don't why this is so, and the surgeon doesn't know either. As I wrote further up the page, surgeons are generally useless except when they're doing surgery. We have few healers, just a lot of very busy yet highly skilled technicians. I can but hope that things will improve, and I am optimistic that they will. If worse comes to worse, I might have to have additional surgeries, but I'm determined to put them off for as long as possible, partly because my health in general is starting to go downhill. I know this because I feel weak and sickly, and the drugs aren't metabolizing out of my system normally. I can take a quarter dose of a narcotic or sleeping pill and still feel ripped two days later. I see my internist for a physical in about a month, and I'm hoping he can come up with something that might help. I would like to see him sooner, but insurance will pay for the visit and tests if I wait. If I were really confident that he could help, I might bite the money bullet and go in sooner, but I have no such confidence. Meanwhile, I'm trying to take really good care of myself and to take as few drugs as I can get by with. I've been "clean and sober" for a whole 36 hours now, and I'm drinking water by the quart.

Julie, please see the top of this response entry for an answer to your question. Thank you for agreeing with Khelasoe!

And, Khelasoe, thank you so much for your praise. It came at a good time actually as I had just returned from a social event at a restaurant. It was my first time to any such occasion in months, and I found it quite hard to sit through--so many people, so much talking, so little actually listening. I used to value "society"; now I had rather be alone or with my Internet friends. Anything else is just too tiring. I will look up your reference, thank you.

Matawheeze said: "I must have missed the line on the Life Contract where there was meaning? I thought I had to fill in that blank myself."

Me too. If I seemed to say differently, it was not intentional. I wish religion was right about there being a divinely ordained meaning, but I'm with the existentialists about the matter.

Snowbrush said...

Strayer said: "You want to find nutcases, go to a psyche ward all right, but don't observe the patients, observe the psychologists and shrinks."

According to one study, no one can tell who is who if they don't already know. Do you David Oaks? He works with "survivors of the mental health system." I've not been forcibly included in it, although one shrink did try. I do know enough to stay the hell away. I won't even go to shrinks anymore, partly because I don't trust them, and partly because I don't think they know what they're doing. I've known a good many of them personally, and, to a woman (usually they were women) they were so screwed-up that I pity anyone who is naive enough to trust them.

Hello, Dana! You don't pull no punches, kid, and I like that about you. I wouldn't mess up the drapes either. I've actually thought that the best thing to do would be to go down to the lawn outside the ER, pin an organ donor permission letter to my chest, and shoot myself there so they could recycle my parts. It bums me completely that there are thousands of people who die every year in this country in which hundreds of thousands of perfectly good organs are buried or cremated.

Dana said: "there is no one we should bother explaining ourselves to."

I don't mind sharing my thoughts as long as I don't feel that I'm expected to justify them to someone who really can't understand. I feel about advice a little like I feel about people who offer to pray for me--I'm grateful for all such gifts. It's like at Xmas when someone gives me something I can't really use, I still try to be gracious about it. It truly is the thought that counts. I don't mean to say that you should feel as I do because I have no idea what your experiences have been like.

nollyposh said...

i get Dana's point, as i too have stood with the proverbial gun against my head (Well actually in my case it was a bloody big carving knife)interestingly i too was angry and cursing all those around me for pushing ME ~there~
...So i feel in some ways justified to a position on this one... But Dana i got a grip on my Life and found a way out of the hole and have come to understand that many of us in our own individual and different ways have all been ~there~ too (Some of us just don't share it) Many have been in this same terrible position of pain, sometimes physical, sometimes mental, sometimes a combination of both (and i'm not about to start a bitch fight about which/what is worse) But ultimately when all is said and done it IS simply the human struggle...
And it's not like we come here to Snow's blog just to give him the shits with some high and mighty philosophical platitudes to make me/us feel good, i personally come here because i feel a certain human connection to Snow and sometimes his writing expresses my emotions too... i certainly don't come here "to offer my half-assed assessments of HIS situation"
i come here to share my life and also learn from his experiences too... We all have something to offer each other because Life is, i Believe, more about our connections to each other x

Snowbrush said...

Nollyposh said: "...i too have stood with the proverbial gun against my head (Well actually in my case it was a bloody big carving knife)"

Oh, yuck! Against your head?! I can just picture the newspaper write-up: "The coroner said that Ms Posh stabbed herself in the head 17 times before the knife finally penetrated her left eye socket. 'She had an unusually thick skull,' he explained. Her family said they were not surprised by this information.'"

Nollyposh said: "And it's not like we come here to Snow's blog just to give him the shits"

Not that there would be anything wrong with that, of course, since Snow welcomes any attention no matter how misguided, sick, deviant, or simply on the part of someone who mistakenly thought she was at another person's blogsite.

Blessings, my dear Nolly.

nollyposh said...

Snow you are a shit stirrer! (and THAT is a term of endearment in Aussy!) X:-)

Tabor said...

You have had so many good comments about this long struggling post that I honestly have nothing to add. You are more coherent than I would be in describing this challenge you face each day. I think many of us feel we have not given our lives the purpose that we hoped to.

rhymeswithplague said...

I would like to say here at the outset that although I do have cojones, I don't have enough of them (I speak of size, not quantity) to ever put (and, yes, that is a split infinitive, thank you for noticing) a "cocked .38" (you should pardon the expression) or a "bloody big carving knife" to me 'ead or chest, although there was that one time when I was twenty when I turned on the gas heater in my room at Mrs. Ella Wheeler's boarding house without bothering to light a match and crawled into bed and waited for the end to come, and then, after a couple of minutes, I threw back the covers and yelled, "I WANT TO LIVE!" in a poor imitation of Susan Hayward playing Lillian Roth and got up out of the bed and opened the windows and the door to let in some fresh air.

Not to make light of anyone's mental or physical or emotional struggles, I'm still here, as, I trust, are all of you, or you wouldn't be reading this. I didn't create me, so I feel I don't have the right to destroy me either.

Just sayin'.

Snowbrush said...

I must say that I just read with trepidation my last response to Nollyposh from night simply because I felt so bad when I wrote it that I didn't trust myself to be coherent. I am sufficiently concerned about my generalized downturn in well-being that the strongest--indeed the only--drugs I'm taking right now are sam-e and coffee. Since the former is actually supposed to be good for my liver, I don't think it could be too toxic. Of course, not doing drugs means that I'm experiencing the worst of both worlds at the moment--feeling really bad overall AND being in pain.

Nollyposh said: "Snow you are a shit stirrer! (and THAT is a term of endearment in Aussy!) X:-)"

It is?! No so here because,,, "we citizens of the United States of America value peace and working together with diverse populations for the common good too much to ever intentionally say or do anything that might be construed by any person as pugnacious or aggressive." I think George Bush said that.

Tabor said: "I think many of us feel we have not given our lives the purpose that we hoped to."

But surely it's not our fault. After all, we didn't get an instruction booklet when we arrived on earth, and no one told us how short life would seem as we neared the other end of it, or that we would have to work awfully, awfully hard to realize our ambitions.

Rhymes said: "I didn't create me, so I feel I don't have the right to destroy me either."

I suppose this means you oppose both euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, but what is your position on destroying members of non-human species given that you didn't create them either? I mean if the crux of your argument is that it's wrong to destroy what you yourself did not create, why stop at the boundary of your own species?

rhymeswithplague said...

Are we talking of vegetarianism here or of refraining from extinguishing disease-bearing vermin and various kinds of creepy-crawlies that plague the human race?

First, do no harm (Hippocrates) is a good philosophy. But it's a two-way street.

And how do we know the veggies aren't silently screaming as we separate them from their roots or plunge them into boiling water?

Mariana Soffer said...

So many things to say and think about, I always step on my own thoughts related to what you wrote here, you can see some in my posts, like all that is said by the picture of "the in-descence of time"


Snowbrush said...

Rhymes said: "Are we talking of vegetarianism here or of refraining from extinguishing disease-bearing vermin and various kinds of creepy-crawlies that plague the human race?"

I had reference to the talking of any life.

Rhymes said: "And how do we know the veggies aren't silently screaming"

They don't have brains, but that has absolutely nothing to do with my point. You said: "I didn't create me, so I feel I don't have the right to destroy me either."

You just spoke of yourself here, but I assumed that you had reference to human life. Is this not the case? If it is, then my question to you would be: if you have no right to destroy life that you yourself did not create, by what logic do you apply the rule only to your own species? I bring this up because I have often heard this very statement made by people who oppose suicide for any reason, yet, if taken at face value, the argument would appear to preclude the taking ANY life that you did not create. Since you did not create any life (ex nihilo anyway), you couldn't take any life. I fully understand that people who use this as an argument only have reference to their own species, but the argument itself would not allow such a restriction. Do I make myself clear?

Hey, Mariana, thanks so much for coming by. Boy buy your last post just keep stimulating comment, does it not?

rhymeswithplague said...

Snow, I haven't really thought the subject through as thoroughly as you obviously have (because (a) I'm shallow and (b) I'm lazy to a fault), and I don't want to get into a big argument here with anyone, but my first feeble attempt at codifying what I think might be to say I don't believe in the taking of a life without a good reason and there's the rub. People will disagree until the cows come home about what constitutes a good reason and what doesn't. But one thing I am absolutely opposed to is "killing for the sport of it" and millions upon millions of American bison and deer and fish and birds, if they could, would agree.

If getting into a good discussion takes your mind off your pain temporarily, I'm happy to oblige, but I don't want to lay out my innermost thoughts on every subject in the comments section of your blog! As G.H.W. Bush used to say, "Wouldn't be prudent."

Marion said...

Good Morning, dear Snowbrush,

I love your blog. Each post is interesting, very well-written, and continues to evoke so many heart-felt comments.

At the age of 19, I was in a terrible car crash. It completely changed my life.

I am so grateful I had 19 years of knowing what it was like to be an athlete. Because after that car crash, pain became a constant.

At first, after rehabilitation, I thought I would heal, although I remember being told I would always have pain because in the car crash, I pretty much rearranged my muscles and bones, not to mention the concussion. Denial of pain became constant and allowed me to have children...something I was told not to do. But hey...

The other two people in the crash have MS and Parkinson's. I have chronic pain...none of us came out unscathed.

The ageing process has made pain worse...there is arthritis present in my already gnarled bones. The doctors have diagnosed my condition now as fibromyalgia. I think it's a fancy term for a condition which is pretty miserable but which does not kill.

I still have the intent to live to 104. It is MY life and I want to see what happens in this very interesting (to say the least) world we live in. In a romantic sense, I want to see those sunrises and sunsets as long as I can. And I could go on, but I won't...you know what I mean.

Having been a victim of a suicide, please remember the ones left behind will suffer terribly for the rest of their lives. Suicide, to me, is the ultimate in selfishness.

You see how you inspire people like me to give you their opinions? I want to say I laughed out loud many times here, as I have a very dark sense of humour, as well. Thank you!

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes said: "I haven't really thought the subject through as thoroughly as you obviously have"

I didn't mean to put you on the spot. I rather expected you to respond that human life is in a different category to other life because God made us in his own image. If you had said that, it would have been a conversation stopper because theological claims don't depend upon reason, evidence, or anything else aside from whatever it is that God is believed to think. Yet, you often surprise me. I try to pigeonhole you, and you keep popping out, so I've become more willing to ask you questions about your ideas. I am sorry if I seemed tedious and argumentative.

Marion said: "I thought I would heal"

I know. I thought that too with my shoulder problems. I figured that with enough time and a healthy lifestyle, I would eventually get well. Three years later, I had my first surgery.

Marion said: "The ageing process has made pain worse"

I think of what a mess a great many Olympic athletes are going to be when they're old due to all the injuries they're piling up now. We never really get over musculoskeletal injuries, which come roaring back as arthritis.

Marion, the woman who runs this blog has fibromyalgia as one of her two major problems: http://thesmallgodsshallbemyjudge.blogspot.com/

lakeviewer said...

I see people want to offer comfort, of some sort. Don't you wish they really could?
Life is a bitch most of the time.

Thanks for the visit to the coast.

Pauline said...

Thanks for stopping by my site to leave a comment.

Life is in the details. Glad to read that you can still take some joy in the small things. Chronic pain does make you wonder, as do wars, and hatred, cataclysmic events and meteorites. I had a philosophy teacher tell me once that, "Life is life and death is death and that's all there is to it. The rest is all in your mind."

I'd pretty much agree, but I am willing to wager he wasn't living in chronic pain. Men have been arguing about life's purpose for eons. If there is one, it has eluded me, too.

julie mitchell said...

Hi Snow...You mentioned your liver and the effect of the drugs you're taking, the toxins...Milk Thistle is a great liver cleanse....cheap and can be found at other reg. drug stores...It really does work.
hug, hug

Chrisy said...

Just found myself thinking of you Snow and wonder how you were doing. I hope you're getting some respite from the pain. Take care. Love Chrisy

Strayer said...

Yes, Snow, I know David Oaks. Do you?

Late Happy Birthday to you. I didn't know we shared the same day of birth, different years I guess. Is your pain any less by now? Maybe try ice on your neck, down where the nerves that feed your shoulders exit from their vertebra. Maybe icing there would help some. I can't remember now, which vertebra the shoulder and arm nerves exit out of. Ice it dead there, at your neck maybe.

Snowbrush said...

Lakeviewer said: "Life is a bitch most of the time."

I'm surprised by this since your blog contains so much joy regarding your retirement and the beautiful place in which you live.

Pauline said: "Men have been arguing about life's purpose for eons. If there is one, it has eluded me, too."

Yet some people find it so easy to believe in that which seems appallingly implausible to you and me. If you could will yourself to believe a comforting illusion, would you? Despite the fact that I have so often tried, my intent was to prove to myself that what seems false was true after all--or maybe that was just so much self-deception. In any event, I would now choose happiness at the expense of truth.

Chrisy said: "Just found myself thinking of you Snow and wonder how you were doing."

The pain just goes and on. Rhymes was right about that's why I don't post as often anymore. I never force myself to write, and the pain is so distracting that little comes to mind to write. Last night, I was up every 45 to 90 minutes for a new ice pack, so I not only don't get much sleep, I spend very little time in REM sleep. The pain gets worse lying down and the longer I lie down, the worse it gets until I finally have to get up and move around for an hour or two. I saw the doctor on Tuesday, and he didn't think an MRI was warranted, but he didn't have an explanation for the pain either. It's not just the shoulder that I had operated on in December that awakens me, but also the one I had done last March. When I went off all meds last week, that included Celebrex, and going off it made this second shoulder go right to hell, so to speak, due to arthritic damage, so I went back on the Celebrex yesterday, but it will take a while to have much effect. Fasting is beneficial for pain, and I used to fast for one day each week. I know I would benefit if I went back to that, but the worse I feel, the harder it is to deprive myself of what little (i.e. FOOD) I can still enjoy. I really don't know what the problem is. I've had maybe 15 surgeries in my life, of which three have been joint surgeries, and every joint surgery I had took years to heal, whereas every other surgery I had went okay. I get my yearly physical in four weeks, and my regular doctor is quite good, so I hope he might think of some test that will come up with a deficiency, or, barring that, have some other idea. I know you suggested taking the pain pills more often, but they have a diminishing effect, which is partly why addiction is so dangerous. Addicts have to take more and more to get the same effect, and these drugs are awfully toxic. The strongest thing I have is Demerol, and I can tell just from taking a normal dose that I could easily kill myself with that stuff. It's scary, and when you take it every day, it starts messing with you head, sending you off into your own little thoroughly stupid and confused reality. Thanks for inquiring, Chrisy.

Strayer, I met David Oaks years ago, and went to a single meeting of some group he started. As for the ice, I find it works best when pressed into whatever spots hurt.

Snowbrush said...

Ha, I just wrote that "I would now choose happiness at the expense of truth" when what I meant was just the opposite. I can't reply to your responses without a great deal of moving words around, and sometimes they get lost along the way. In any event, I am quite firm in this. Even if truth should crush me, I would prefer it to an illusion. Integrity matters more than happiness, and no one values integrity could ever wish to believe a lie.

The Blog Fodder said...

Hi, Snow
Finally got up the nerve to read this blog and all comments. Books, movies and blogs that tear at my guts require more bravery than I have at times but always reward.
I do hope your pain subsides enough to let you blog more often. Is that a selfish reason?

Snowbrush said...

The Blog Fodder said: "I do hope your pain subsides enough to let you blog more often. Is that a selfish reason?"

I define selfishness as thinking of oneself without concern for others, and I believe you are concerned for me. Note that, by my definition, a person is not selfish no matter what he or she does, as some would hold.

The Blog Fodder said: "Books, movies and blogs that tear at my guts require more bravery than I have at times but always reward."

I take that as a wonderful compliment, and I thank you.

Sonia ;) said...

I would miss your shittin' grumpy blog for sure. Because you make me laugh and smile even when your grumpy, tired and in pain. So deal with it that some may actually miss ya.

Im thankful everyday for the lil things in life also.


C Woods said...

Snowbrush ---You wrote, "you’re going to be dead really soon, and in a few decades no one will even know you lived..."

I have a question ---If a blogger dies tomorrow and no one deletes the blog, what happens to it? After a time with no log-ins, will it disappear ---or will it be online forever?

If it stays there, then you have a legacy ---if nothing else, it will be a chronicle of your thoughts and your life over the past few years. It may be of interest to students of sociology, anthropology, pain management......

You have inspired many people and they have become your loyal readers. I hope your blog stays in cyberspace for many years to come.

Snowbrush said...

Sonia said: "you make me laugh and smile even when your grumpy, tired and in pain."

I have that affect on Peggy too--nothing makes her laugh like me bumping my head or falling into a hole.

C Woods said: "I have a question ---If a blogger dies tomorrow and no one deletes the blog, what happens to it?"

I often wonder what will happen to our blogs even while we're still alive. I assume we're all here courtesy of Google, so all control is in their hands.

C Woods said: " hope your blog stays in cyberspace for many years to come."

Thank you.

VioletMind said...

Dear Snowbrush,
I stayed after school long enough to read at least a blog of yours and respond. This is the blog I happened to read.

I find it interesting that you pointed out that its the small things that are currently keeping you afloat, while most people overlook those minusqule things you find pleasure in.

I think that is because, well, especially nowadays, people have so many other distractions that they cant appreciate the little things, such as enjoying the warmth of a heating pad. Pleasure, period, seems to be the #1 thing that makes a life worth living, no matter what that thing may be. Weather its a God, a love of a hobby, a person, a tree...

You seem to find some pleasure in communicating with people through blogging, and I can honestly see how. The way you described your current health and physical condition seems like something that would push most people to self- annihilation. You are apparently strong enough to endure, and that deserves recognition and appreciation.

I always wonder what my life'll be like if I get to be your age. What will be my opinions then? How will they have changed, if they do at all? What will be life's purpose then? Because now, it seems as if I'm mainly trying to get out of my mom's house, and successfully onto my own with the freedom to express myself as freely as possible without having to worry about parental interference. The thing I fail to think about is the fact that, even if I do reach that goal, there will always be another thing to overcome. Life is a consistent struggle no matter how ich or intelligent a person may be. When you reach one goal, that only leads to newer problems and/or ideas and obstacles to face.

Speaking of goals, do you have any at this point in your life?

By the way, I agree that in the end we are as insignificant as a spittlebug, and I am perfectly fine with that fact. This is life. At the end of it, it will have been an experience. There's nothing to said other than that. Eventually it will end for all of us. I dont cosider that a good nor bad thing. It just is.

Snowbrush said...

Violet said: "there will always be another thing to overcome."

True, and there is a pretty good possibility that you might someday feel nostalgic for times in your life that seemed to suck when you were actually going through them. I--and maybe you--focus too much on what I don't like, and overlook what I do. If I may advise you, me, and the rest of the world: "Don't get bent out of shape about trivia. Look at situations as occasions to learn from rather than escape from."