I stopped the Fentanyl (a strong painkiller) this week and spent a sleepless night in withdrawal, wired, nauseous, hurting, shaking, shivering, and unable to lie still or get comfortable in any position, even with a sleeping pill. The next night was a little better, and on the third night, I took both a Neurontin (a non-narcotic pill for nerve pain) and an Ambien, but even that didn’t enable me to stay asleep, so at 3:00 a.m., I got up and asked the Internet, “Why should I continue to live?” The answer was basically because of Peggy. I’ve talked to her about feeling that, in order to keep going, I must find some reason for optimism. I know that three months isn’t enough time to justify such hopelessness, yet no one who hasn’t lived day-in and day-out with severe pain has any right to judge me because only they can understand what it means to live with minutes that drag like hours, and hours that drag like days, day after day after day until all one can do is to cry. It’s also true that when one lies away for most of the night, desperately tired, but in too much pain to sleep, one’s thoughts go into the pit, and my own pit contains statements like, “There being no god, life is pointless at best, and as for my own life, it will only go downhill from here until such time as I kill myself, or worse yet, Peggy dies,” and, “The people who are supposed to be my friends never call or come to see me, and this means that I’m all alone except for Peggy and my blog buddies,” and, “It might take her awhile to realize it, but Peggy would be better off if I were dead because I have nothing left to give, and everything I try to do to help myself only throws good money after bad.

Today—four days after stopping the Fentanyl, I realized that I simply had to take something, so I took a fair-sized dose of oxycodone (the ingredient in Percocet), and since I hadn’t had any for awhile, it took the edge off. I’m still resolved to stay away from the Fentanyl if at all possible if only so I won’t have to face going through withdrawal again.

As most of you know, I’ve lived with pain for years, but this is far worse, not in intensity, but because it never stops. In order to understand my discouragement, it’s crucial for you to know that, instead of getting better with time, the pain is getting ever more severe, and I keep telling myself that It’s not supposed to be this way! My shoulders have been a major problem for nearly a decade, but the pain is nearly always worse at night and can be eased by taking a moderate dose of pills and sleeping in a recliner with ice packs on both shoulders and a heating pad on my chest. Nothing but a high dose of Fentanyl touches this pain much, but a life on drugs is a life spent treating the symptom rather than the problem, yet what choice do I have? I can at least be glad that I have access to good drugs, but they’re scary because the dose that I need to ease the pain is such a high dose that I live with the fear that I might either accidentally overdose or that my liver and kidneys won’t be able to sustain the amount of drugs I take, and then what?

I’m also taking Fosamax (a bone thickener) for a month; I start physical therapy on Monday (I’ve waited nearly a month to get in); doing physical therapy exercises that I got off the Internet; and I see a new neurosurgeon the week after next (I fired the old one). I also get a BIPAP on Monday. I have severe sleep apnea, so I’ve slept with a CPAP for years during which the apnea has gotten worse and worse. Now it has suddenly gone off the chart, so much so that the new $3,000 CPAP that I got in December can’t control it. This means that I’m exhausted all day because of the pain keeping me awake and then the sleep apnea interrupting what little sleep I do get (a major reason I stopped the Fentanyl is that pain killers—and any other drugs that relax you or make you drowsy—worsen sleep apnea). I also started going to a massage therapist today, and while I don’t know how much she can help, I’m well aware of how little doctors have done (it’s either drugs or surgery with them), so it seems worth a try even if insurance won’t cover it. She talked to me about my posture (which I already try mightily to control), suggested that I ice my back frequently, use a foam roller for back stretches, do an exercise that she showed me, and have Peggy massage me both with ice and with a car-wax buffer (being massaged with a buffer actually sounds damn good, although it weirded Peggy out when I told her). That massage hurt like hell, but Sylvia comes highly recommended, and I told her to do whatever she thought would help.

I went back to pruning the apple tree today (it being the tree I was pruning when I broke my back). I can’t say that it wasn’t scary going back up a ladder, plus I did it while Peggy was at work, which meant that if I fell again, I would be alone again. Still, today was as good as it gets for tree pruning; I don’t want to wait until the buds appear; and I don’t want to feel that I need a nursemaid to do work that I’ve always done alone. Besides, work gives me meaning.


Elephant's Child said...

Oh Snow. I am so so sorry. And hope that the massage therapist, the BIPAP, the physical therapy and/or the neurosurgeon can help.
Pruning the apple tree? You are more stubborn than stains. But I do understand the need to do something which gives you meaning.
I cannot find the words I want/need. Essentially all I can say is that I have been and am worried for you and wish you well.

angela said...

I totally understand the pain and how it saps all happiness from your life. It takes away your freedom, your relaxation and eventually all your friends. Being exhausted but not being able to sleep its the worst. Add to it those that have no idea but see fit to tell you how you should be living your life take away even the smallest bit of happiness and self respect you may have. Thoughts of ending it all, well I have had many. But at least I know that while I am still of use to may family I will stay. Give me a few years and maybe the answer will be different. I wish you less pain and more rest my friend that and understanding and support.

lotta joy said...

Climbing a tree with a broken back...And yet I totally understand.

Honest, I do. And I would be happy to call you. I'm just not spaced out enough to know your number without you giving it to me.

Has the card arrived yet?

Hey, a friend who personally MAKES a card for you has to be worth SOMETHING.

RNSANE said...

It's been so long ( too long ) since I've read your blog, Snow. I am sad that nothing seems to have brought you much relief in terms of your pain but I am not really surprised. Your writing,however, is as brilliant as ever. I can relate to your feelings of despair, at times. Chronic, unrelenting pain certainly make life offer little hope and, add to that, pain filled nights with no relief,that is the most difficult - for me, anyway.

I've been home from India since December 3 - spent six months in Mumbai this time. Got a new left shoulder last Jan when I was home, with great relief from the arthritic pain I had been suffering. I know, eventually, the right shoulder will need to be done, especially after two months now of taking care of my 21 lb. granddaughter while my daughter-in-law goes to the fire academy.

For years now, nights have been horrible for me, partly because of a quarter of a century of being on call as an RN. That seems to be when my pain is worst. I love being in India because I get daily EXCELLENT massage there for about $5 US oer day and, if I am in Jaipur, I also get accupressure for $3/day. Once I am home, I can afford neither.

Linda said...

I have often felt the same despair and questioned everything. I am definitely anti-meds, especially anti-pain meds. I have lain in bed shaking from unremitting pain. Now, I just take nothing. And hurt!

While I know there is no simple answer for you or me, I may have found a problem that could ease some of the pain without a med. I wrote about it, so I won't repeat a word of it. However, you can read it.

Don't ever think Peggy is better off without you. Your relationship is more than you recognize when you think those thoughts. "Freedom's just another word for nothing else to lose." That is very apt for you right now and what you think she would gain without you.

Please consider what I believe is a part, large or small, of my pain problem:


I have real physical problems and so do you. If I had not experienced what I did that is described in that post on my blog, I would never have believed it. What do you think?

I wish I were there to be your friend in person.

All Consuming said...

Oh sweetheart I feel for you. I'll not tell you you're wrong to have such dark thoughts, they are there with good reason, and if know something of them myself. No God doesn't mean no point though, you have a point. It's to entertain me. Did no one show you the contract? Not just me though, you may feel Peggy would be better off without you, but she does not agree. I haven't spoken to her about this, I just know it's true. Massage. I find it has helped my pain by about twenty five percent if not more, it hurts becUse my skin is sore all over when pressed, but she's a damn good masseuse, and even when it's at a point where I want to shout out, I feel so much better in my mind immediately afterwards, and know that it all adds up to less pain in the long run. I hope it helps you dear. Also I'd like a video of Peggy waxing and buffing you. I'm a bit sick like that. X

Charles Gramlich said...

Damn, man. I'm very sorry for all your suffering. There is little I can say but that I hope you see some improvement.

PhilipH said...

Not much one can say Snowy. You are in a whirlpool of pain that is unrelenting in the extreme.

I just hope you find a way to keep going although I fully understand your "what's the fucking point" of it all.

Strayer said...

I heard a show on sleep apnea, while driving, think it was on OPB. A woman tasked with helping sleep apnea patients decided it had to be a muscle tone problem with the soft palate and developed singing and vocalization exercises to strengthen those particular muscles. Will try to find a link.

Strayer said...

Here is one of many links on singing exercises to help stop both snoring and sleep apnea.


Sissy said...

Snow, seems life just isn't very fair sometimes. I'm so sorry to hear matters are worse and continue on so long and reading this post is especially troubling for me. Having my share of physical problems, I can well understand defeatism when there seems no way to get relief from any direction.

I sure hope the massage therapy does you some good. I wish for that often but there's always the 'money factor'. One time long ago my hip was "out" so badly I cried with every movement, suffering for weeks with it. A group session for alternative healing was coming up. (this does work wonders, by the way) A massage therapist came in later in the session; put me on the table, worked the joint a few minutes and viola, my pain was gone! I was stunned and very happy for many months. Next time I "got out of joint" acupuncture was suggested. It WAS a miracle treatment, no doubt about it. Five yrs ago and the sciatica issue has mainly stayed quiet Maybe you can consult a good accupuncturist. I truly myself would have more faith in one than allopathics who push the pills or the knife. In them my trust is faint!

Worried about my bones (test had shown they were like a sponge with many empty spaces,I consulted about something to help. Three times they refused to prescribe this Fosamax, highly against using it. I don't remember now their reasons (do research). Finally one gave me Actonel and I in time quit hurting in the bones. But a new doctor started 'something' once a year vs once monthly and it is put in by needle and a drip. Ask your doctor about "this". I will try to find the name/reading material about it and pass it to you. This med actually rebuilds the bone. Two sessions and it definitely must be helping. Now if I could just find some relief from this blasted spine problem I'm now having.
Another thing that can be crucial to our health is our lack of magnesium, which is most definitely needed for our body to absorb calcium, along with the Vitamin D. Lack of these three highly contribute to our bone issues. Reading an article once about magnesium, it stated a doctor had tested all his patients for it and found ALL were critically without magnesium. It went on to say that most people in the United States were lacking enough. It is very odd that no nurse, nor doctor of mine has EVER been aware or even actually listened to what I found for the need of magnesium.
Didn't intend to ramble so long. Sorry about that, Snow. Very concerned about you and sure Peggy is even more so. Can't forget my brother almost two years ago; the pain it cost those many left behind.

Chartreuse said...

I am totally unqualified to say anything about your particular circumstances. But I can only speak from my own experience, and it tells me to urge you to try to hang in there. I survived an attempted suicide 40+ years ago. And in the days after my recovery from coma, the look on my father's face as he bent over my hospital bed, plus the sound of my two-year-old daughter's voice on the phone - these were the most powerful spurs I could ever have to keep on living. I was granted the gift of seeing the effects of loss on my loved ones' faces, and that has got me through any and all subsequent difficulties I may have had. Now I'm on the receiving end of loss, since I agreed to let my husband go a few months ago. It was easy at the time because he was suffering terribly, there was little likelihood of recovery and he'd long ago made his wishes known in writing - and more recently by using what little language he had left to yell out "Die" many, many times. Even so, the loss of a life partner is so terrible, and the awful feeling that one should have been better able to help that partner withstand his ailment is so awful - you can't for a moment think that Peggy would be better off without you. Sure, some parts of her life might be easier. But 'easy' doesn't tell the whole story. The time to let go is when you can no longer even care what Peggy feels or wants. My husband had come to that time. And it was so out of character for him. That is what made it easy for me then to agree to stop his treatment. But the aftermath has been far from easy. So if you're still well enough to think about Peggy and what might be best for her, you need to keep going. That's my view, anyway. Obviously, your decision about what's best and what's right is for you alone to make. But I wish you strength.

Snowbrush said...

"Pruning the apple tree? You are more stubborn than stains."

Maybe it's primarily a man-thing, but as I'm sure you know, pain takes away your identity, and doing things you used to be able to do and take satisfaction in restores some of that identity.

Angela, you GET it. You really do. People who haven't been there can't imagine how much pain intrudes in EVERY aspect of one's life.

"I'm just not spaced out enough to know your number without you giving it to me."

I'll send you and any other faithful reader who wants it my contact information, but I don't want to talk on the phone right now. I would either be at a loss for words, or I would cry. Yes, your card came on Friday, and I was remiss in not thanking you sooner, but I trust that you got my email from earlier today.

More later.

lotta joy said...

I TOTALLY understand not wanting to talk on the phone. I totally understand the weariness of repeating the list of pain, misery, lack of interest, rest, self-worth. ETCETERA

My sister always asks "Isn't there anything to talk about except our pain?"

The answer is "no", unless you truly enjoy meaningless chit chat.

I will send you MY phone number. You'll never use it, but you'll have it.

I'm glad you got the card. I DO DO DO love you. You might feel insane, but you've taught me that sanity is highly over-rated while true INTELLIGENCE is under-rated. and YOU, are truly an intelligent man.

Linda said...

I don't think it is just a man thing. Pain has robbed me of my identity in many areas.

Snowbrush said...

"Got a new left shoulder last Jan when I was home, with great relief from the arthritic pain I had been suffering."

I've had three shoulder surgeries including one partial replacement. I hesitate about the full because it would limit my activities.

"I get daily EXCELLENT massage there for about $5 US oer day..."

Mine will be $80 an hour. Public employees here get massages as part of their insurance benefits, which means that everyone is paying so that public employees can enjoy what they themselves can't afford. I don't know what the answer is though because massage does have its place. I really do feel better since I got mine.

"Now, I just take nothing. And hurt!"

There are consequences either way.

From your blog: "Could gluten be the problem with some of the pain in my body?"

I have no idea. I just know that gluten-free products have become extremely popular. You say you went without bread, but are you sure you cut out all gluten-containing foods (see http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/gluten-free-diets/what-foods-have-gluten.html)?

"No God doesn't mean no point though, you have a point."

I don't appear to be a typical in feeling as I do. In fact, I've never known another who did. The only people who talk about life being absurd in the absence of a deity are always, in my experience, people who believe in a deity, so it's not as issue for them. The difference that God would make would be the difference between objective worth and subjective worth. Every atheist that I know is fine with having subjective worth only, so I don't know why I am as I am, other than that I grew up hearing regularly that life is meaningless without God. This was harped on in my church.

More later. I'm trying to catch on visiting as I respond, so it's slowing me down, but I feel badly I'm so behind.

Myrna R. said...

Thank you for the update Snow. i wish I had some words of wisdom to share, better still something to ease the pain,, but I don't. Just know that I care and worry about you. I love that you find meaning in the tree (still, next time try to wait for Peggy.) if wishes came true, my wishes would have made you well already. Thank you for sharing with your blogging buddies.

Paula said...

I have never suffered the kind of pain that you are talking about here. But I have suffered for 44 years from the suicide that my father committed when I was just a small girl. Suicide is the utmost selfish act, in my opinion. It would solve your problem, that is for sure. But the loved ones that you leave behind will NEVER get over it. I hope I have not over-stepped my bounds here. But if I have then I apologize. And if I haven't then I might when I say that you are NUTS to climb back on a ladder after all that you just described to us. Be safe!!

Snowbrush said...

Thanks, Charles. Thanks, Philip.

Strayer, I've heard that humming is supposed to help but not singing. I Googled, "Can throat exercise relieve sleep apnea?" and it looks the consensus is yes, so I've bookmarked the site, and I thank you so much for looking it up for me.

"Maybe you can consult a good accupuncturist."

Sissy, I wasted $600 on it for my shoulders, so I think I'll stick with the massage for now since I got some relief from just the one session.

" I will try to find the name/reading material about it and pass it to you."

Thank you. As for the Fosamax, it does indeed have some dreadful side effects, but I'm only taking it for a month, and the side effects mostly become more likely with time, so maybe I'll avoid them.

"Another thing that can be crucial to our health is our lack of magnesium, which is most definitely needed for our body to absorb calcium, along with the Vitamin D."

Yep, I take those plus potassium.

I'm sorry I'm taking so long to get to everyone's comment, but I will get there.

Snowbrush said...

"The time to let go is when you can no longer even care what Peggy feels or wants."

No matter how much I might want to, I would never kill myself without Peggy's blessing because if the time were right, she would give that blessing. For instance, she would give it if I had Alzheimer's (that being the only specific instance that we've discussed). I don't really know under what circumstances I would give her my blessing, but I'm sure it would only be if she were in a desperate situation in which all hope had run out, which, I'm sure, is her bottomline. As for my current situation, I know that there is a lot of reason to hope. The first two months were necessarily spent waiting for the bone to heal enough to start any other treatment. Now, I still have PT, the Fosamax, possible surgery, giving things time, the massage therapy, taking meditation classes that are geared to help people cope with pain, professional counseling, and on and on. The options are there, but to tell you the truth, sometimes I just become so frightened that I lose sight of them. I went through the same thing with my shoulders. The pain would be so bad that I would doubt my strength to continue bearing it, and I would become petrified that it would become even worse. Fear makes me crazy and stupid, and I can't see things that are obvious when I'm able to think straight, so don't worry about me, I'm not going to go the way of your father. What I write is the truth at the moment I'm writing it, but it's not necessarily the truth the next day or the next week or the next month, and I do recognize the permanence of suicide and the tragedy of going that route without calm consideration, something that I can't do when I'm in the frame of mind in which I wrote this post.

Snowbrush said...

I'm sorry, Chartreuse, it wasn't YOUR father who killed himself, it was you who tried to kill yourself. I was confusing your letter with Paula's, probably because both made such a powerful impact on me because they're both by people who has seen the effects of suicide--or, in your case, attempted suicide--close up.

"if wishes came true, my wishes would have made you well already. Thank you for sharing with your blogging buddies."

Thank you, Myrna.

"But the loved ones that you leave behind will NEVER get over it. I hope I have not over-stepped my bounds here. But if I have then I apologize."

No, not at all. The only time I don't appreciate honesty is when it leads to personal attacks, and I see them as constituting questionable honesty since they obscure deeper feelings. I know what you mean about the scars that suicide leaves on others, because I've felt them to a smaller extent than you with people I wasn't so close to as you probably were to your father. I had a high friend named Barry, a young adult friend named Kathleen, and a friend from my late thirties named Briggs, and I can never feel the same acceptance for their deaths as with the deaths of others. Suicide is so very tragic in that it constitutes a negation of the current and future value of one's life, and while there is a time when that makes sense (in my view), it wasn't like that with anyone I ever knew who committed suicide because in every case, they were young and healthy, and their problems were temporary. They had options, and they didn't take them, maybe because they were so despondent that they couldn't see them. I can understand that, but, oh, the sorry and the guilt they left for me, and I wasn't nearly as close to them as were others. I am so sorry for the years you've suffered for what your father did.

Linda said...

I did not mean to end with "so I just hurt." I did not finish the thought. I learned that I had to limit my activity by getting into the electric cart at the store, quit working at something before I started shaking and whimpering in bed. I was not going to get any pain meds that helped at all. So, I learned two things 1) limit activity and 2) just hurt. Sometimes the pain is unbearable and I am sure nowhere near what your pain is.

I am quite positive that I did not stop all gluten. But, what if I quit just enough to ease the pain and restore some energy? What if? I know I had some pasta and a few buns. But, that was so much less than when I had bread everyday. What if it worked? All I need is a test for gluten allergy or the presence of the protein, which one I don't know. I am just getting started here, but I thought I might suggest it to you. Any relief of pain due to inflammation will be welcome to me. Anti-inflammatory drugs do work, but I cannot take them. Anything anti inflammatory causes bleeding. But, I doubt leaving off gluten will cause my to bleed excessively.

I already know I am allergic to wheat. Eating some bread causes my throat to swell. Eating white bread causes no adverse affects. Eating whole wheat causes my throat to start to swell and that pain is referred to my ears. White vinegar (distilled wheat) will be the death of me.

Nothing is certain or 100%, so I am just searching to see if the gluten is the problem. I am almost 100% on this. A doctor will have to do a test. If I am wrong, I have lost nothing.

I do not presume your pain will disappear, but figured any reduction in pain levels would be welcomed by you. All it takes is one blood test to figure out if I should act or ignore the gluten in bread.

Ann ODyne said...

oh Sissy (above) I love your tpyo "and viola, my pain was gone". We call Violas Johnny JumpUps, so it seems apt anyhow.
I always want to die at 5am when moving any part of my body even slightly, gives pain that is 9.9 on their stupid damn scale. Does it help to know we are not alone? No.
Had needle acupuncture (good) and laser acupuncture (good while it was happening), and Pain Clinic said "distract yourself with an activity you love" so now I fritter away pleasant hours on Pinterest (do not scoff). Wishing you all the best day tomorrow.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, I'm so sorry for your pain.

Therapy, massage should help. Maybe even chiropractic if you have a good one you trust.

I'm managed to heal some long term pain issues (torn groin, torn rotator) with pilates reformer classes. I find it terribly expensive but have been lucky to buy packages of classes with sites such as groupon, amazon local and social living. Maybe see if there is a studio near you with a free first class... It may help!

Snowbrush said...

"I am quite positive that I did not stop all gluten. But, what if I quit just enough to ease the pain and restore some energy?"

This is a subject about which I am so ignorant that I probably have nothing useful to say, so all I can do is to tell you why I asked whether you were sure you had given up all gluten. My reason was that people who I have known who didn't have Celiac's Disease yet claimed to benefit from a gluten-free diet were of the opinion that even a little gluten would have dire consequences. If this is true, then your bread-free diet probably wouldn't explain such dramatic relief. I have flirted with the idea of giving it up myself, but I hesitate because I'm suspicious of its popularity. Every time something comes along that is touted as practically a cure-all, it later turns out not to be, and this makes me unwilling to give up something that I enjoy baking and eating as much as I enjoy bread. Of course, who knows but what I'm wrong and gluten-free diets might help me tremendously, but I sure would like to see some research before I experimented. If, like you, I tried it--unintentionally in your case--and had the results you had, I would sure the heck get serious about the possibility of making it permanent.

"We call Violas Johnny JumpUps, so it seems apt anyhow."

Here, I think, a particular viola is called a Johnny Jump Up, popular names varying a lot from place to place.

"Does it help to know we are not alone? No."

It keeps me going. I hate it that it does because I feel weak for needing Peggy so much as I do. It doesn't seem right, and it makes me feel weak and needy. Then again, we've been together for 42 years (2/3 of our lives), and, truth be known, men tend to need their women more than women need their men. I have every confidence that if I were to die, Peggy would be horribly sad, but she could continue on and have a rewarding life without me. I think I would so devastated that I might not even be able to give myself a chance to survive without here.

"I fritter away pleasant hours on Pinterest" I had to look it up to know what it was.

"Maybe even chiropractic if you have a good one you trust."

I'm leery because I have the dead vertebra in my neck (osteonecrotic is the medical term) plus the severely compressed vertebra lower down. God knows what having my back popped might do to me. I would so worried that I would have to be completely without options to go there.

"I'm managed to heal some long term pain issues (torn groin, torn rotator) with pilates reformer classes."

Yeah, core-strengthing and all. I only had a taste of Pilates one time as part of another exercise class. I was still in pretty good shape then, but those Pilate's exercises wore me out fast. I still think about Pilates as something to look into someday, but right now, I'm going to stick with the massage and the physical therapy appointments that I started today. I like and trust my masseuse and my PT, and I got lasting relief from that one massage last week (although it is starting to lessen somewhat), so I'm in a whole lot better place emotionally than when I wrote this post. It's funny to go THAT low and then bounce back so significantly, but, you know, maybe it's not uncommon when you're at the bottom to benefit so very much from what, from the outside, might look like so little. Writing this post and getting the responses that I've gotten was also a great help.

Snowbrush said...


"Sometimes the pain is unbearable and I am sure nowhere near what your pain is."

From what you say of your health issues, I wouldn't be surprised but what you live with more pain than I. No one can know such things because there's no way to accurately measure pain, and because so much goes into a person's perception of pain. For instance, someone blogged this week about her husband acting as if his broken toe was the worse thing in the world, pain-wise, which she thought was rather funny because she had had three broken toes, yet because she also suffers from more than one far worse condition, a broken toe is but a minor inconvenience to her. I just know that, for me, I handle pain well until I get afraid that it will NEVE stop and NEVER get any better FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, and then I freak-out, which was what happened with this post (which makes it an embarrassing post to leave up, actually, yet I wouldn't feel right in taking it down either because it was honest when I wrote it, and honesty is what I try to do with my blog).

"I do not presume your pain will disappear, but figured any reduction in pain levels would be welcomed by you."

Yes, and if I sounded unappreciative, I am sorry. When people offer suggestions that I don't, at the moment, want to take, I guess I could just say thank you and let it go at that, but somehow I feel as if I should explain my thinking.

The Tusk said...

violas and johnny jump ups and yoga stretching and strengthening.

find Rachel brathen yoga blog, you might find the photographs of aruba a distraction for your pain.

Snowbrush said...

"you might find the photographs of aruba"

Thanks, Tusk. I can't remember why, but when I was a teacher, I showed my fifth-grade class a film about Aruba one day, and I thought to myself that I would like to visit there. Well, it's not looking good for it, but who knows but what the day will come that I will find myself in Aruba.

Marshall Stacks said...

Aruba! Who knew? I love teh interwebz. It just gave me a return trip to Aruba I must only have seen in a Miss Universe parade until now.

Helen said...

Dear Snow, too late this evening for a proper response to your post (I will return tomorrow) but wanted to tell you that you are the only person who actually "got" my poem. Off to bed now, to sleep perchance to dream? Xx

rhymeswithplague said...

I didn't comment before now because I didn't want, in Paula's words, to "overstep the bounds" but I agree with her thoughts completely.

Suicide may end it all for the participant, but from everything that I have read (I have no personal experience with it) it is absolutely devastating to loved ones left behind. Please don't do that to Peggy. I do understand that you were writing from a place of intense pain.

And, yes, I too think you are NUTS for climbing that tree. Perhaps what you need most is a reduction in testosterone. I've said it before, you are too macho for your own good. And work does not give you meaning. You have intrinsic worth apart from anything you produce or create.

I do hope that you can find some relief that lasts. I really do.

Helen said...

I have re-read your post, the comments, your responses to them. I simply cannot imagine the pain you live with .. how it impacts your life, Peggy's life. Just know, always ... so many care about you, we want your pain to subside, and we want you here on this Earth.

Rob-bear said...

Sorry to hear things are going so badly. The pain I understand, in that mine seems continuous, but nowhere as brutal as yours. (I've been working at my computer for a while, and everything hurts.)

I do hope you can find the right combination of things which will relieve the pain. And I'm glad you're dog a few things that help to make you life meaningful.

Bear hugs form Canada.

Snowbrush said...

"you are the only person who actually "got" my poem."

It certainly seemed so, yet there was nothing subtle about your poem, and this led to wonder if you were disappointed with being so misunderstood.

"Perhaps what you need most is a reduction in testosterone."

It was work that needed to be done two months ago. What am I to do, ask friends to do it, hire people to do it, live with the house and yard going to hell? Besides, I simply don't see ladders as dangerous anymore than I see driving, biking, or walking as dangerous. People get careless, have bad luck, or whatever, but it's no reason to not do things anymore. You might say that, well, it's too early, yet the work I did seemed pretty tame to me, and I'm not all sure but what it did me good. Thanks, though for your concern, because I'm well aware that that's what prompted your remarks

"And work does not give you meaning. You have intrinsic worth apart from anything you produce or create."

I won't argue the point, but will simply say that, if not meaning, then satisfaction. It's harder for me to not work than to work, and by saying this, I don't mean I'm a workaholic because I'm not, but rather that I'm responsible for seeing that certain things get done, and I take pride in doing them promptly and well. Besides, if I don't do them, I have to look at them remaining undone. I live here, so my work here isn't something I can leave at the office.

"(I've been working at my computer for a while, and everything hurts.)"

Yet, many people do it for eight hours or more everyday, a fact that astounds me, especially now that it's known that even if you exercise after your computer job, it's still bad for a person to sit at a desk all day.

"Bear hugs form Canada."

Bears are what you have where you are, and slugs are what I have where I am (BIG slugs too), but I don't guess you're in the market for a slug-hug

Linda said...

I, like you, am wary of fads in health or anything. So, until the moment I was struck with the thought that no bread might be why I hurt so much less, I was probably the worst detractor of the "gluten issues" that abound.

What you forget about suicide is that you will no longer be aware of anything. You think Peggy can get on with her life? You think she will be better off? Do you think she will not be in pain over your decision and how she did not help you? She will replay it all, how she was not there, how she should have not left the house that day, how she did not see the signs, how she did not understand the last passionate kiss and long embrace. She will have to go through being angry, maybe hating you for leaving her of your own accord before she comes back to fully loving you.

Do you really want to leave that much pain for her? Your death of natural causes would leave pain but not the additional agony you could add.

Kate said...

I'm glad you are feeling better than when you wrote this post.

Worth and hope are important factors in our ability to endure pain.

Helen said...

OK ... time for another update!!

Snowbrush said...

"Do you think she will not be in pain over your decision and how she did not help you?"

Last December, the son of my 95 year old neighbor killed himself. She had previously been upbeat, healthy, mentally sharp, and capable of daily walks. Now, she appears to be waiting to die in a rented hospital bed that her other children placed in her living room. When I visited her last night, she was confused, her speech was slurred, and the weight was falling away from her already thin body. I've known other people who killed themselves, but could only imagine the pain they left their families by extrapolating from the pain that they left me.

"I'm glad you are feeling better than when you wrote this post."

Thanks, Kate. I hope you will come again.

"Worth and hope are important factors in our ability to endure pain"

Important if not essential. I tend to think essential because once a person's spirit is broken--as in the case of my elderly neighbor--the body will surely follow. This is one of the scariest things to me about my own condition because if I were to stay for long in the mood I was in when I wrote this post, I believe I would lose the choice to live because my body would take it from me.

"OK ... time for another update!!"

Thanks, Helen. I'm going to physical therapy with a therapist I like and trust, but many of the exercises she gives me for my back aggravate my shoulders, so it's slow going with a lot of frustration. I'm also getting an occasional massage and taking Fosamax for a month. I see a new neurosurgeon tomorrow (Wednesday) in order to determine--by way of an x-ray--whether the bone has shifted or collapsed, talk about how active I should try to be, and to discuss a surgery called kyphoplasty, which is a common treatment for a compressed vertebra, but for which surprisingly little is known regarding its long term effects. For instance, there is the possibility that the surgery will make further breaks of surrounding vertebra more likely, but such studies as have been done don't prove or disprove this. I'm still in considerable pain, and this makes sleep very difficult, and it's also making me stupider and stupider hence my relative absence from writing. Whereas I have for decades felt compelled to write, I no longer have even the desire to write.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. It's funny in a way, but although I've suffered much more actual pain from my shoulders (pain that few people can appreciate because few people have much awareness about problems with shoulders), this back pain has, I think, affected me at a deeper level. Maybe it's because it IS my back, and our backs are the structure from which the rest of our bodies hang. After my fall, I woke up night after night with the image of snakes and dogs I've seen that had been run over and had their backs broken (such things being common in the rural South where I used to live). I especially remember a dog that was dragging the back of his body along as he walked with his front feet. He seemed discomfited that he could do no better, yet he had a smile on his face that suggested his ignorance of how bad his problem really was. His fate was as obvious as it was heartrending, and so I have become, in my my own mind, that dog. I broke my back in November, but only now am I regaining my ability to enjoy my food because, until now, everything tasted like cardboard, although I don't know why. Even so, I'm not regaining the ten pounds I lost, ten pounds that I could scarcely stand to lose. Also, it's very common with broken backs to temporarily lose your ability to shit. When this happened to me, I assumed nerve damage, so it was a very long week that I spent not knowing that the problem was temporary. On and on it goes. As horrific as my shoulder pain was at times, it was limited to my shoulders and, of course, to my mood, but this back pain seems deeper and more fundamental to my existence somehow, possibly because it's in combination with the shoulder pain. I haven't had a problem in years that I got over, rather every new problem was in addition to my old ones, and this makes me future appear frightening and hopeless, and gives me a lot to struggle against. You have no idea how much I appreciate your inquiry. I have a dear neighbor who is 92 who--with her daughter--will be moving to your area within the next month or so, and as soon as she told me, I thought of you.

Linda said...

I am quite sure your shoulder pain is worse than mine. However, I think my back pain can reach the level of yours. But, my pain is helped by lying down, even sitting down. If I don't grab something when my back pain is so severe with standing, I can feel myself losing the ability to stand. I am moments from collapsing. I cannot imagine that kind of pain you have in your back that cannot be stopped. I have nightmares, too.

We had a dog that was hit by a car and had a broken back. Daddy carried him to the shed where he took care of him until he wanted to get up. The dog dragged his back legs. Daddy built him a little cart and strapped it to him with a harness and belt he affixed to the two-wheel cart. The dog was so happy to walk and learned to run. Daddy took it off every night. One day, the dog could walk, then he ran. He always ran funny, like his rear was out to one side and wanted to pass his front legs. Maybe you can heal like the dog. As for my back, surgery is the only help.

possum said...

Hey Snow,
Just want you to know I am not ignoring you, just disciplining myself. Like many, I feel the need to tell you my problems, share my gluten allergy, agree with the need to work, but you do not need to hear about my pain. I know you know you are not alone, but I know you know how alone pain can make you feel. I understand your thoughts of suicide but believe your love for Peggy would keep that from happening. I so feel for you, I truly do.

Chartreuse said...

Just a quick hello to say I do hope you're coping with your afflictions. I have no other way to respond to your recent kind words on my blog. So yes, I'm doing well. I accepted one semester of work at a local university which requires about two days a week (I'm paid for four hours!). I've joined a wonderful Chorale where we are rehearsing The Messiah for a June performance, and also a French conversation group. My grand-daughter fills whatever time is left. So life is much brighter. When there's nowhere to go but up, the decision about which way to travel is easy. I do hope to get back to my blog again soon, but for the moment I'm just too busy! Thanks again for dropping by.

C Woods said...

I haven't been checking my own blog, let alone others for a while, but after reading several of your most-recent posts, I'm overwhelmed just reading about your ills. There are no words that would sufficiently express my feelings about what you are going through, just as there are no words sufficient to for you to explain to anyone else how much pain you are in.

I don't know if I could handle such pain with as much courage as you have, and although I don't know how you feel, dark thoughts are certainly understandable.

I hope the pain, at least, improves with time.

And, please, stay away from ladders.