“There's a road to everywhere except where you came from.” Bryan Charles

“Miss you....and worry about you...and miss you....”

It's one hell of a brace for an atheist.
I hope you like my new Goodwill PJs.
I don’t like talking about my health endlessly, but enough people have inquired that I feel badly for not checking in sooner. I have written a few posts about other things, but didn’t use them because I don’t trust myself to make sense. I thought I had done pretty good on a business letter, at least, only to be so embarrassed by it later that I wouldn’t even make a phone call for days. My memory is shot, and my thoughts run in non-sequiturs that I’m unaware of until later when they don’t make sense even to me. Making sense of other people’s thoughts is just as hard. I can read an email repeatedly and come away with a different interpretation each time without being able to understand how I arrived at previous interpretations. I think the Fentanyl might be to blame. The drug makes me delightfully high when I increase the dosage, but after a day or two I can’t tell I’m stoned until I try to think clearly. 

I’m taking naps for the first time in my life, sometimes two hour naps, two and even three times a day, but I’m still sleeping good at night until the customary pain in my shoulders awakens me. I often go to sleep during the day even when I don’t want to, which is something I’ve never done. I’m down six pounds, and, for the first time I can remember, am going days between showers.

Any medical bills accrued in January, I’ll have the pay the first $4,000 of (I go on Medicare in February, so that problem will go away), so I’m determined to not go to any doctors until February. My back doctor offered to see me for free if need be, but I’m optimistic that it won’t come to that, because I’m not doing anything to hurt myself. The urologist said the thing on my left kidney probably isn’t cancer, but there’s no hurry if it is since kidney cancer usually originates in the kidney and grows slowly (I didn’t ask him why a cyst three inches across couldn’t be a sign of advanced kidney cancer). The crushed thumb is healing nicely except that my sensation of touch is abnormal. The last time I saw my internist, I wore a big wrist brace and an arm sling along with my back brace and the large thumb bandage. I did this as a joke, because the time before last when I saw him, I was there for a broken back; then a week later, I came in for a crushed thumb, and he had kidded me about what I might do to myself next.

When he saw me in my sling, the two braces, and a large bandage, he asked what the hell had happened, and I told him the following, “I got bored—what with a broken back and a crushed thumb—and went for a ride on my high wheel unicycle. I was doing okay until I came to a steep downhill, and a squirrel ran out in front me halfway to the bottom. I tried to dodge the squirrel, but there was still ice on the road from the big snow, so I lost control and broke my wrist and shoulder.” It was late on a Friday afternoon when I told him this, and he just stood there with his mouth open, obviously tired and clearly at a loss for something to say to someone so unutterably stupid. I saw that things weren’t turning out funny like I intended, so I let him off the hook, at which point he pretended to have been onto me all along.

I can do light housework (dusting but not vacuuming, straightening but not lifting, and so forth), but I can’t seem to get it together to do it because I know the job would be half-ass when I was done, and because I would be putting myself in a position where I was constantly having to hold back, and that would tempt me to push the limit. I can do work on the computer, but that makes me stir crazy after a while. I’m not supposed to bend over or lift more than five pounds, so that eliminates damn near everything that I would call real work. I feel like a woos for lying around all the time, but I’m clear that I could worsen my condition quite a bit if I overdid something, and that makes me afraid to do almost anything.

I wish I could at least enjoy the drugs more. Marijuana had gotten to where it was pushing me ever more deeply toward psychosis, so I stopped it about four months ago, and now even Fentanyl won’t get me high unless I take so much that it might kill me, or else I combine it with liquor or oxycodone. I can understand how a lot of people die from narcotics, not exactly on purpose but not exactly by accident either. Not that I’m there or anywhere close to there.

The back doctor says that I should come through okay, although I’ll never be as good as new, and I might have to live with intermittent pain. I’m used to pain, so pain per se doesn’t scare me. It’s rather a question of how much pain. I have a limit, but I think that’s true of anyone whether they realize it or not. Most people seem to think there are drugs that will greatly reduce any amount of pain, but they’re wrong, and, of course, drugs have their side effects, and they can be hard to come by, what with doctors running scared that the Feds will raid them if they prescribe more than some drug cop—who makes his living raiding doctors—considers appropriate. Fentanyl is top of the line, and I tolerate it well, so I’m lucky to have it, but I know I won’t be able to keep getting it, and that’s a little scary right now if only because of possible withdrawal symptoms.

My stratagem regarding narcotics is to get all I can while I can because I never know but what I can’t get them at all tomorrow, although I might need them more then than I do now (if you ever need them, and can’t get them, you become almost phobic of being without). I doubt that it’s generally known that most heroin addicts start with legal narcotics, and only turn to heroin when their legal supply is cut off, and they find that it costs more to buy legal drugs illegally than it does to buy heroin. The system is set-up to make people feel weak and dirty for needing narcotics anyway, so that probably makes the transition a little easier...

I’m tired of sitting here, so I’m going to take some oxycodone and clean house...I think it’s it fair to say that I’m pretty bummed about my situation, but, hell, it’s winter in Oregon, so I would be bummed anyway. It’s impossible for me to sort my feelings out cleanly.


Elephant's Child said...

It is lovely to see a post from you. I haven't been cluttering your inbox but it ISN'T because I don't care about you, or because I haven't been worrying. I do care and I have worried. Rather a lot.

Snowbrush said...

"I do care and I have worried. "

Maybe you know this, and maybe it's this way in Australia too, but here in America, a common greeting is, "How are you, today?" I hate the question because it's asked everywhere on almost every occasion by people who don't know you, and don't have time to listen to an honest even if they wanted one. This has led me to respond in many different ways. Sometimes, I make up stuff about me and everybody I know coming to a bad end. Other times, I just say, "Fine, how are you, today?" which is what you're supposed to say. Still, other times, I don't say anything. Lately, there have been a few occasions when I just laughed, and the person asking the question would look at me standing there is my stupid-looking brace, and she (usually, it's a she because it's shes who work as clerks and receptionists), and laugh too. My father used to handle the same question by saying, "Not so good." It had the virtue of being honest because he was miserable most of the time, and it was also short, but, golly, did people ever look at him funny.

ellen abbott said...

You've crossed my mind a time or two recently so I'm glad to see this post.

Elephant's Child said...

It is a common question here too. I still remember a woman I used to work with who always gave a detailed (very) and honest answer. And watching the questioners cringe always made me laugh. When I don't want to answer for what ever reason I tend to say 'next question' and move on. A love your laughter response. And that most people recognise the silliness of the queston and laugh too.

stephen Hayes said...

I've been waiting to hear from you and hoping things were improving. I know what you mean about being afraid to be without a certain prescription drug. My wife has suffered through over twenty kidney stones and is terrified she'll run out of her Vicodin, so she hoards them.

Strayer said...

Glad to hear you are alive at least and yeah, it's winter in Oregon, when everyone is bummed and nothing much gets done anyhow and everyone's on something to stave off the cabin gray fever, mold and nothing-to-do sickness. I thought you might be dead, out on some logging road. I had this vivid dream, that I stumbled onto a van nose dived off the side of a washed out logging road, you were half down the mountain impaled on a splintered doug fir branch. I didn't look at you, but some how it came to me in the dream it was Snowbrush with that branch stuck through, and that's why you had not blogged recently. That's when I e-mailed you, to make sure it was just a dream.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

So glad you updated us! I hope you keep mending.

Snowbrush said...

"I still remember a woman I used to work with who always gave a detailed (very) and honest answer." [The question being, "How are you today?"]

I'm astounded that she would want to give an honest answer.

"My wife has suffered through over twenty kidney stones and is terrified she'll run out of her Vicodin, so she hoards them."

My image of having kidney stones (after having them once in the late '60s) is that you go to the ER, and they either pass, or else they're removed (or blasted), so I don't understand what need she would have of narcotics until such time as she's having an attack and wants something to help her control the pain on the way to the hospital. I would love it if you would enlighten me as to what an attack looks like as my image is obviously wrong. I will mention that if she needs a narcotic a lot, she should ask for something stronger than Vicodin (acetaminophen and hydrocodone), because it's not adequate for severe pain.

"I had this vivid dream..."

I am honored. What a kick that you had such a vivid and elaborate (not to mention painful) dream about me. I can't even remember the last time anyone said they had dreamed about me.

Ellen and Creekhiker, thank you so much for your well-wishes.

All Consuming said...

“I got bored—what with a broken back and a crushed thumb—and went for a ride on my high wheel unicycle. “ - hold on to your humour dear, it's all that's given me a grip on the remnants of sanity when the pain has been beyond description and the darkness of reality far too black. This post will have taken you so long to write by the sounds of it, and for that I thank you, along with the fact that you have kept your gold standard seal of quality in the writing. Your blog is an important part of your life, and I believe it's good for you to persevere, even though it is an absolute bastard to do so. I feel for you immensely. Your experience with marijuana is one that I have seen friends go through a few times – eventually it brings on psychosis and they must stop, no matter how much it might be helping, if indeed it still is by then – I also know a lot of people who don't have this happen, but it depends upon the amount, the kind of 'product' – black, grass, or skunk – skunk being the worst by far – and how their brains deal with the drug individually. I've also never met anyone come off marijuana without going downhill massively psychologically. Folks SAY there's no withdrawal, but they are very wrong, I have seen it with my own eyes a few times, and it's a bugger, so bear in mind that your low of low moods will also have been affected by that, as well as the injuries and pain. You say you don't know why anyone would say how they felt in depth, I have said it a few times – really told them, because I'd have told people repeatedly I didn't want to be asked, or talk about it, and they kept saying it without thinking. It works – they stop asking – and they also get an idea of what you deal with on a daily basis, and was worth my feeling crap about having to list it all, because it meant I'd not have that issue with them again in the future. Although you don't want to end up pushing yourself too hard – which I understand so well – do continue with the small tasks, because no matter what, it is good for you to do so, and it helps Peggy too. As ever, I am teaching someone's grandmother to lay eggs here, hahahaha. Thanks again for the above, have some love - *chucks a bucket of it over his and Peggy's heads.

PhilipH said...

It's a cliché BUT *no news is good news* -- great you have re-appeared Snowy.

And what about Strayer's dream! I think it was so vivid to read and I enjoyed it immensely. The Cat Lady has real talent.

Keep up the recovery old bean. You have been through a crushing mill and now you have to have a much happier new year.

kj said...

Hi snow, a tough time to be sure. I'm a little better than you but not by much: chronic back pain and getting worse since my new knee arrived. For me the first line of defense is not pain meds; it's weight loss. Damn that fact!

Be careful with the meds. I mean it. My very level headed friend Nancy died when her pain confused the time and dosage needed


Charles Gramlich said...

I sure hope the healing proceeds more quickly. Thanks for keeping us in the loop about what is going on. Damn.

Winifred said...

Glad to see your post but sorry your news isn't better.

Mind you have some courage to even think about housework. Crumbs I use any excuse not to do it.

Take care Snowbrush & no more uni cycling!

Strayer said...

My dreams are often very vivid and memorable. Often they involve being chased by cops with a cat in my arms with someone else, who had abused the cat, also chasing me. Buses are often involved, with cops on them too. And always the cats in trouble. I dream about people I must think are in trouble, quite a lot. That post you wrote once, going camping with Peggy, the barely passable logging roads you guys traverse, Peggy at the wheel, must have stuck in my brain. When someone asks me how I am, someone I don't know at all, whom I know doesn't really want to know, or care, I ask first if they want the long or short answer. When I get that look after saying that, I say "Ok, I'll give the short version. Everything is pansies and roses!"

Linda said...

I was wondering why you were confused the other day and thought it was my fault. It may have been the fault of both of us.

I absolutely despise people asking me how I am as I struggle to walk or they catch me wincing and without a very happy look on my face. I have different answers, depending how much they have annoyed me. If I say brightly, breaking into a smile, "I am just fine," with a lilt forced into my voice and a bright smile forced onto my face, they are too stupid to get it. Most people just say they are so glad and buzz on off.

Some people get it, but obviously don't want to hear since they just leave quickly.

I have determined next time to say, "Is there any reason you ask?" No one ever notices I am limping, riding in an electric cart, or seem to have a problem. When I meet a new or old friend and there is a change in their health, I make it clear I am talking about health not just a polite question. No one ever minds a slightly personal question when the brace or cast is so huge that ignoring it would be uncaring.

I could write a book about that question and how I hate it!

Caddie said...

OMG, did I ask you "How are you?" in my email and bug you no end? If so and if it irritated you, you have my apology, Snow L.
My words are always full of sincerity; that is unless I'm cracking a joke; which I do only when I've been made to laugh.
Certainly laughing matters are few and far between these days - for me and you. "Lucky you" though, since you at least have some type of meds to ease the way.
My #!$% idiot dr. REFUSES any pain meds period! Tells me last time in exasperated tone, "Everybody has pain". Hell, maybe its seen as honorable to suffer constantly! Who am I to say? Yet it is a pain! and I don't feel it is whatsoever the least honorable, brave or anything else except suffering!

Spent last night dreaming of getting help from all these alternative healers all gathered together under one roof. Felt I'd dropped into Shangra Lai (?sp) - Hmmph, until I started to tinkle while sitting and these young upstart males looked at me with derision. Well, dang, a lady's (or gentleman)gotta go when you gotta go. How embarrassing that scene was for me and I reckon that's the one that woke me up...and now I sit here with bladder relieved but full body ache and pain assaulting, unable to move but bits and pieces, knowing this alternative avenue requires cash. Not only that; now the blizzard is arriving outside. Just my luck! I don't relish -4F coming down on me tonight.

I too get irritated being asked "how are you" by someone who could care less how I am. A response of "Oh, I'm doing just great!" with my grimacing in pain shuts them up QUICKLY. At the moment I'm thinking of that idiot Walmart supervisor who begged me to give her a smile, a big smile! Damned fool of a public relationist. I hate fakeness. Believe you me, she is tops at that.

Now - how to find a good doctor that can help AND have a bit of compassion on the side; I wonder.

Snow, I wish you had an 'Anonymous' button. It is embarrassing when I spill my guts! Ah, Ha.

rhymeswithplague said...

I must be the world's biggest nerd as I wouldn't know where to go to buy marijuana or heroin or other drugs, not that I want any. "The street," I hear someone say, but which street? Plus I haven't lived to be 72 (the countdown to 73 has begun) by putting myself in dangerous situations in questionable neighborhoods.

I'm not trying to put anyone down or raise myself up. In fact, I have often said that I am pure as the driven slush. It's just that drugs have so far not been an issue or a temptation for me. I do admit to taking them when they are prescribed by a doctor.

Robin said...

No *unusual* dreams here... but, thinking of you daily... and well, you know....I am saying *pr-----s*.

You ARE a brave man...anyone who can *wrestle with pain* as you do...and still make your friends smile...is a Warrior!

Sending love to you, dear Snow!

And..also to Peggy and Brewsky...*Warrior Queen and Cat*!


♥ Robin ♥

p.s. LUV the pajamas!!!! I do! ♥♥

Mim said...

glad to see you're still kickin' snow. was worried.

love the PJs and the cross/brace - ironic a bit.

I was also thinking about Peggy and wondering how she is doing.

hope you don't have too much (more) pain, and are on the mend. don't clean house too hard

The Tusk said...

I'm glad you gave the doctor a story, they are paid to listen and not enough people engage them correctly. Ask the Doctor questions until you get the answers you were looking for. They may not be the ones you wanted to hear but you asked the question. If more people asked Doctors appropriate questions, Doctors would get smarter answering them. Don't take your Unicycle out in the snow again.

Helen said...

Thinking about you this evening ... winds are fierce, bringing more chill than we've had in a while. Mt. Bachelor is adding to its measly base, my fireplace blower is keeping me toasty warm ~~~ I hope you are feeling comfortable, your pain is diminishing .. You're steering clear of the maddening non sequiturs!

lotta joy said...

Paranoid about running out of pain meds? I can't imagine!

But today I counted up my prescription drugs and panicked a blue streak when I realized I'd be running short before the refill date.

Oh. . . that isn't paranoia. That's called efficient accounting.