Today's barely edited


I didn’t feel old until a year or two ago. I attribute this sudden oncoming of antiquity to the pain. Except for misdiagnosed sleep apnea (which cost me two needless surgeries) and the pain of the last six years, I’ve been healthy as an adult. In fact, I used to marvel at my good health because I would — sometimes for months—feel such sadness that I was just sure it would eventually eat its way from my heart and into my flesh, causing me to sicken and die. The fact that I stayed in such good shape was curious to me.

Then came the sleep apnea, and I grew increasingly desperate over a period of five years until it was diagnosed and treated. Three years later came the pain. For the longest, I thought I would beat it. I told myself that my species, despite its many faults, is very clever in various ways, and that medicine has been one of the major benefactors of the explosion of knowledge that has occurred during my lifetime alone (I would have died had the sleep apnea hit 15 years earlier). How hard, therefore, could it be to eliminate my little old pain? It might be impossible as it turns out.

For much of my life, I held doctors on such an intellectual pedestal that if a doctor couldn’t cure me of something, I would assume that he wasn't trying hard enough—maybe he hadn’t run the right test or asked the right question. I later met doctors whom I trusted as good men as well as good doctors, and when they told me there was nothing they could do, I believed them. Even with this recent pain and the urging of one reader to see a pain specialist, I have no thought of seeing a doctor. For what? Pills? I’ve got pills, and if there were other pills, I would know about them. Dosages? If I want to dicker with those, I have more confidence in the Internet than I do in any given doctor (I've discovered two serious errors in my prescriptions by looking them up on the Internet). Tests? Diagnoses? Surgeries? I could probably get several more of each if I wanted to start from scratch with new doctors, but I don't.

Maybe my "barely edited" experiment is connected with my need to transcend the pain because while I've lost all hope of escaping it completely, I haven't lost faith in my ability to someday live well despite it. I think at least one of you might have worried about me euthanizing myself after my last post, but I wouldn’t do that. I thought a lot about it for a long time, and I must have decided against it because I don’t dwell on it much. Not that I was ever really close to suicide; it’s just that I considered it a reasonable and reassuring option. If you hurt as I do, and you killed yourself, I could respect you for it if you only had yourself to think of (If you were married, I would consider it necessary for you to get your spouse's blessing to kill yourself it unless your spouse opposed suicide on principal). But even if you were alone or had your family’s blessing, I would suggest that you hang in there. You’ll be dead-meat in a few years anyway and you'll stay dead for all eternity, so why not stick around? You might do some good, you might have a few laughs, and you can always decide to off yourself later.  

The photo is of me, from yesterday. It did me good to go to the woods.

20 comments:

Robin said...

Still catching up....and VOILA - you *took my advice*...and went outside....this is a wonderful, wonderful photo! You look at home, surrounded by trees and the river....it's a great photo.

And Snow.... just teling you that I could never squat down like that now...my still-healing ligament would not permit it! So there! Who's *old*.....not YOU!

Love,

♥ Robin ♥

lotta joy said...

A preacher once asked me if I'd consider giving him my guns. I said "No way. It's necessary to keep my options open." But pills are the only way to go in consideration of those who would have to clean up my mess.

I've been in debilitating pain since I was 24. I missed a life that others had without appreciating it.

I'm now old and surrounded by whining people who are - at ages 70+, experiencing their FIRST pains and are insulted by the fact they "must live the rest of" their lives hurting.

I would gladly put them out of their misery just to shut them up. (lol) kind of.

Snowbrush said...

Robin, I felt strange writing about pain while posting a photo of myself in the woods on my haunches--as opposed to writhing around screaming.. In the other photos of the day, I look appropriately old, tired, and frail,but in this one, I look like I might be resting during a marathon. I'm glad you are home and safe, dear.

Lotta, that's quite a powerful response. I'm naturally curious how you've managed. I took out the last sentence to this post because it was unexpectedly grim. In it, I suggested that people keep a supply of lethal drugs on hand so that they will have a way to end their lives that isn't gory or, worse yet, inadequate. Of course, some pills kill by making a person strangle on vomit, or they take forever to work, or they cause seizures that would be difficult for others to watch (should others be present, which is unlikely in America), so, even with pills, it pays to do one's homework.

I often update and improve my suicide pact when I go to a doctor because if I wait until I'm ready to use it, I might not have a cooperative doctor.

"I've been in debilitating pain since I was 24. I missed a life that others had without appreciating it."

Those old people you referred to spent a lifetime believing that the body heals and that pain is temporary. Then they encountered problems that don't heal, so it surely seemed an outrage and an anomaly. I wasn't brought low until my fifties, so some of my best support comes from people who are younger, experience being on their side rather than mine.

kj said...

Snow, since that reader is me! may I again clarify: did I say doctor? If so I didn't mean to limit your options to doctors. My feeling (and concern) is that you are or may be taking and mixing drugs without experienced knowledge of how they will or do or may affect you now or in the future. There are professionals and paraprofessionals and in my case even holistic healers who do or may or could know more about what you're trying to achieve and that may or could be helpful

Everytime I comment lately I'm concerned about being judgemental and that is not where I'm coming from. I'm concerned your playing with matches without a reliable safety net

Now I'll go back and finish reading this post
xoxo
kj

Zuzana said...

To me life is a gift and privilege. Now, I have never been in any excruciating physical pain, so I am not the one to say anything (well, a year ago for 3 days I was having so much pain that I thought I would not remain conscious, but it was only 72hours;). So I am an advocate for life at all times.;)
Love the last paragraph, couldn't agree more.;))
xoxo

Kay Dennison said...

This is the most positive I've seen you in ages!!! Wonderful!!!

I'm kind of bummed these days since my surgery but I'm determined that I'll be okay. Attitude is everything!!!

Snowbrush said...

"Everytime I comment lately I'm concerned about being judgemental and that is not where I'm coming from."

Don't worry about it. I know you want the best for me. I think of you as like my older sister. We argue often, but my love of her remains, so even if I should get pissy, I would still want you in my life for as long as you wanted to be here.

"There are professionals and paraprofessionals and in my case even holistic healers who do or may or could know more about what you're trying to achieve and that may or could be helpful."

Maybe, but money matters, KJ, and I've spent an awful lot of it for not much of anything, so I'm low on optimism about the benefits of "highly paid caring professionals." I am going to talk to my Qigong teacher about what help she might offer apart from class, and I'm theoretically open to disciplines other than modern medicine, but these guys are nearly always so far out in woo-woo land that I wouldn't go to most of them if they were free. What I would really, really like would be a weekly massage by someone good with arthritis. In fact, a resident masseuse would be most welcome.

"Attitude is everything!!!"

And it's so much easier when I can at least get my sleep. Exhaustion was why I had such a meltdown on Sunday.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I have been in so much pain for the last decade... that you scare me Snow. I'm in my 40s... and life looks bleak!

Myrna R. said...

Just read your previous post. Sorry you had such a bad time then.

This post today sounds a lot more hopeful, cheerful even. Nice. Glad for you.

I love your photo. You look handsome, happy and the setting is spectacular. Do you go there often? I know I would if I had something like that around. The desert has its charm, but the fertile, green that surrounds you here is wonderful.

Take care Snow. As always, I hope your pain subsides.

The Elephant's Child said...

I love that photo of you in the woods, with water nearby. Healing things both of them.

Despite being a volunteer with an organisation which aims to reduce the numbers of people who complete suicide, I do see it as an option. Not the only option, and not the first, but valid just the same. Which is reassuring. Some days very reassuring.

kylie said...

you look kinda hot in that picture, snow and i havent squatted like that since i was about 23, i think.
not being comfortable near the ground makes me wonder what kind of a doula i'll make but thats the course i'm set on so i have to hope my love for people is enough to make up for my frailties.....

yea, anyway, enough about me. how are you liking the unedited posting? in all honesty i cant tell the difference, you dont need to edit to write well, my dear

Charles Gramlich said...

When I was a teenager, it was a great comfort to me to realize that if it got too bad I could take myself out. That kind of let me hang in there.

All Consuming said...

“I didn’t feel old until a year or two ago “ - You lucky bastard! Hahaha, well, no, I'm actually really pleased to hear that. And despite everything you're doing better now than I would have expected when I first met you, and after the surgerys too. Easy for me to say I know. “while I've lost all hope of escaping it completely, I haven't lost faith in my ability to someday live well despite it. I think at least one of you might have worried about me euthanizing myself after my last post, but I wouldn’t do that”. - I know. I already knew because I recognise where you are (taps head) I've been as close to doing that as anyone can be, in the past but could never hurt those around me so much. Which means I was still capable of some control I guess. I have hopes for new methods of pain relief, but think it'll down to me to find them, if people can have operations under hypnosis and feel no pain then perhaps one day I can control it too, even for short periods would be good. I'll keep you posted on that eh? Heh. Might just be bollocks of course but if I don't search every crack in the cats arse for something positive I really would be lost. And as you say “you can always decide to off yourself later” - which made me laugh again heartily, which you often do, even in your most emotive sad posts. We have that in common too I think. xxx

Phoenix said...

I don't have much to offer to this that adds anything to the subject. Emotional pain, I know. To the point where I considered taking my own life once. Physical pain I know less about. I hope things get easier.

It's good to see you outside.

Helen said...

First things first ... I enlarged the photo (quite nice) certain I would see "DUCKS" emblazoned across your chest. What did I see ~ DUKE?
Second, I want nothing more than for you to be relieved of this pain .. I found this online and wondered if you had ever tried it ~~

"In Phoenix, Arizona, seventeen former manual laborers who had suffered disabling injuries that were intractable to surgery, many of them victims of chronic pain, were put through a sixty hour therapy course that centered
on immersion in flotation tanks. After the floating regimen, fourteen of them were able to return to work — many for the first time in years — with remission of pain, and recoveries the men’s employer called “on the order
of miraculous.” Psycho physiologist Harold Cahn, Ph.D., of Wellness
Research Associates, claims that a follow up after two years confirms the remission."

Snowbrush said...

"I considered taking my own life once"

Only once? I had to laugh, yet when is one really serious about such a thing? I've had everything set but the date, so maybe you were ahead of me for all my talk. I understand that people think of it a lot before they do it because it takes courage to work up to the act.

"I enlarged the photo (quite nice) certain I would see "DUCKS" emblazoned across your chest. What did I see ~ DUKE?"

The people wanted to close their garage sale, so they were selling grocery bags of all you could stuff in them for $2.00 each. I'm no sports' fan, so Duke works as well as Ducks. The shirt was for their lacrosse team, some of the members of which were accused a few years previously of raping a prostitute. Her testimony was so erratic that the district attorney ended up losing his job for even filing charges.

"a sixty hour therapy course that centered on immersion in flotation tanks."

I have long been very curious about flotation tanks. There used to be one three blocks from here, but I put off going until it was gone. I can't see how such a course could eliminate pain, but I can very well imagine it enabling people to cope better with it. My main thrust is simply trying to live as normally as possible, which means that I protect myself much less than I did.

The Tusk said...

Immersion? Any work out, you apply the techniques you have learned and your resistance is the 100 per cent you put in. In water, it is well accepted that an additional 10 per cent resistance is added, thus scientifically speaking, giving it your 110 per cent. A cliche for some, for swimmers it's a given.

The other near thing about shallow ponds, you buy a pair of waders and wahh Lang, resistance walking. Breakup, would know better not to feed on a pet you fed everyday.

The Tusk said...

Theory: Exercise in general is performed when one applies oneself in determinate of his or her giving it their all. They are all in for 100%. The cliche here resides in the resistance of water speaking in scientific terms adds 10 %. Therefore when swimmers give it their all, they are giving 110%.

An advantage to having a pond, you buy a pair of waders and when you walk through it, you are walking with an additional 10 % resistance. Brewsky would know not to eat your pets that you feed, my neighbors cat always knew not to eat my fish, she loved to state at them.

Snowbrush said...

Hey, Tusky, I think she meant a flotation tank in which you just lie still in complete darkness and quietness as you float in Epsom Salts that has been dissolved in warm water. It's a sensory deprivation environment in which you can have some real trips, or so I hear.

The Tusk said...

Thanks Snow, a kind of "altered States" Movie Tank. Seen it, used one in Buffalo. Will be moving on to your latest post, just came from a High Jackman Katie Couric fundraiser for Harlem Village Academies, to build two new elementary schools for 13 million. They raised 17 Million.