Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Returning Home from Being There


An endless numbness, a dull sullen hanging sense of nausea and, barely the energy to read a single word, listen to a note of music; if only I had the stamina to put a thought together it would probably turn into a single-syllabled question. The querulous word would, I suspect, be more on the lines of “What” rather than “Why”.

I’ve long since given up on the existential / metaphysical why; more an exercise in futility rather than to proffer any result. “What” keeps the world alive, “why” seems more like an evasion.

Well, that’s yesterday dealt with; today I have returned to me. The preceding days, and nights, had been dominated by intensely excruciating pain, ranging from the numbing tourniquet, to the slightly blunted arrow; the bone and muscle crumbling ache in combat with those swiftly-fleeting nerve-tingling darts that seem to take one’s breath away; a kind of Topsy-Turvy Terpsichore:

Dance rules over all – it prevails against reason, common-sense and substantial portions of ritual belief. Trouble is that, we are never in control; I am currently in thrall to a kind of voodoo dance –nature’s response to a crushing debilitating pain scenario.

When all else fails, randomly fling limbs in whatsoever direction they feel like; if it causes further discomfort then that adds a whole new terpsichorean overlay, disclosing hitherto undreamt of fraught sequences of space displacement.

On Monday my pain-killing medication was changed, to a 3 day slow release opiate patch. Having applied the patch, late afternoon, my familiar discomforted restless night was in attendance, so nothing different then but the following morn was quite a different proposition. A total inability to concentrate, a generalized dull ache underlining the spasmodically erupting specific sharp pains; all was eventually blanketed under a heavily nausea spiced  airless cloud of unbeing, crushing a body wracked in turn between hot and cold shivering sweats.

Needless to say, all the remaining patches have been returned to the pharmacy and, my routine has been switched back to Tramadol, this time of a non-modified release type, to enable me to remain in control, modifying the dosage as necessary. Meanwhile, I’ve once again been referred to the hospital for further investigative work.

The 18 hours respite, including some ‘real’ bed rest, between removing the patch and taking a further pain-killer, has served to enhance my appreciation of the home environment. For the first-time this season, I was aware of the seasonally decorated dining table, and the various Christmas ornaments and tinsel sundrily scattered around our abode. This awareness of one’s habitation, the taste of food, the sound of music and always one’s loving companion is a gift to be truly celebrated. The return from a pain-riddled drug addled stupor makes me feel like the fabled Prodigal Son; although at heart I am always aware of the love that surrounds me, it’s good to receive a whole-hearted reminder, for one’s abode to find it’s rightful status as Home.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Message

I just sit and look across the room, my beloved lost in thought, a slightly perplexed smile on her face as she ponders the words she’s typing. I smile to myself, a token of admiration coupled with adoration. Sometimes, I lose track of time as I simply contemplate ma belle’s visage; I enter a wonderful world of devotion and love. It seems strange that no matter how much in love I am, it continues to grow.

We’ve gradually completed the Christmas decorations and enter into the magic of the season. Most importantly, for all the gewgaws with which we surround ourselves, we remember that our real celebration is of a helpless child born to a teenage mum in an occupied state in the Middle East. Research suggests that this child Jesus would most probably have been born around April but, I rather like the way Christianity has assimilated this pagan feast time to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Those who choose to follow the way of the Christ child should not seek to separate themselves from the world but always be there alongside those they can assist in a far from perfect world. Christians are to be “in the world but not of the world”; it’s never enough to accept the world as it is but, rather, we have a duty to transform it.

Just as our Christmas lights and decorations transform the darkest time of the year; Jesus message was to turn the accepted values of the ruling elite on their head. Sadly, just like we put away the lights before twelfth night so, through the centuries, have some of the ruling elites served to restore the injustices which Jesus challenged, in the name of Christendom!

May the message of Peace On Earth and Goodwill To All Men be taken seriously in this twenty first century of the common era.

Just as my contemplation of my beloved gives me such a warm glow, so does the true meaning of Christmas.


This post first appeared on 22 December 2006

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Slow Deliberate Dance

You put your right leg in,

Then you scream and shout,

hang the limb over the edge,

let it all hang out …

Once again my old-time bed dance routine has been resurrected; the agonizing back and lower limb pain has returned with a vengeance; a painfully laboured tossing and turning is the only response I’m capable of, in my attempt to overcome the two pronged attack of sundry sharp shooting pains and excruciating dull bruised aching numbness. It’s uncomfortable to sit, whether on an upright dining chair, a firm supporting comfortable chair, or even on the edge of the bed. After struggling to attain an upright position, hindered by locking of knee, ankle and back, (slyly preceding a crude collapse back onto the surface from which one was attempting to elevate oneself), the relief felt, albeit very temporary, must be tangible to anyone within a few miles radius. A few steps, assisted by a couple of walking sticks, managed to tease out a sigh of release from every screaming muscle, joint, or nerve-ending.

Then follows a real brain teaser; does one attempt to sit down again when body and spirit together urge one to have a lie down? The problem is that any recumbent posture soon becomes a source of discomfort.

Earlier in the day, I’d taken a slow deliberate walk around the block with my beloved in the misguided belief that this little stretching exercise would prove beneficial! It turned out that I was locking up even more after this little outing. Things got so bad that my beloved actually managed to persuade me to talk (telephonically) to an “out of hours” doctor, who then arranged that ma belle chauffeuse would take me down to the “out of hours” practice at the District Hospital.

After a tediously painful one and a half hours waiting time, the duty doctor was really good and, managed to sort out which of my sundry medications could be safely (and effectively) taken in combination, and wrote me a prescription for a further supply of Tramadol SR 100mg which she has doubled up to two to be taken twice a day. It’s also safe to continue with the Meloxicam (anti-inflammatory) although my daily dose of Lanzsoprazole (a ppi) has to be increased whenever I take anti-inflammatories. Other medication continues as normal.


Contrary to appearances, I don’t like resorting to pain-killers and, it is only with the greatest reluctance that I visit the GP. The sole reason that recent postings have centred on health is the intensity of my current dis-ease, precluding the possibility of resorting to my beloved distractions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

collapse of the stoical front

Occasionally the stoical front collapses and tears catch one by surprise. That sudden inexplicable low, amidst the sundry serial and perpetual ailments that beset one, tips the balance. Is it the constant pain, the seemingly interminable incapacity, the sense of isolation resultant from that same invisible disability, or a more general existential angst? Perhaps it’s the combination, of all those things, that sets the tears flowing; for a while I teeter on the brink of self-pity and it proves a real struggle to regain my general positivity. [No sooner have the symptoms of a recent chronic bout of sleep disrupting sciatica receded than a case of TMJD (temporal mandibular joint dysfunction) takes pole position in the table of well-being assailants.]
I’ve always suspected that it’s much harder to witness and share the suffering of a loved one than it is to suffer oneself but, when one does suffer from any ailment, or dis-ease, the awareness that those who care for, and about you, somehow share your pain, intensifies the sense of spiritual suffering. The sufferer also feels guilty at imposing, on the one who loves and cares for them, some of the restrictions (on the socializing front) implicit in one’s own condition. I frequently find myself apologizing to my beloved for my, all too familiar, achingly fatigued condition, and the consequent wearyingly low stamina levels; it’s not that I blame myself for being ill but, to be honest, I’d prefer to be an enabler rather than a burden.

This posting is also on Mal's Murmurings.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Art of Affirmation


Sometimes I think that I’ve grasped it, at other times the whole technique seems to elude me. That sense of gratitude for the many blessings that have come my way is so easily submerged beneath current setbacks, whereas the fact of these setbacks should serve as sufficient reminder of those blessings, rather than a blanket which veils them from view.


To give thanks, show appreciation for, the simple fact of being, ensures that the simple ‘given’ takes pride of place. It’s always easy to celebrate a great step forward but, the more consciously we are able to affirm each action, each moment of our lives, those instances become more worthy of affirmation.


Sometimes it feels as if one should squeeze the last drop of pleasure out of each experience, wallow in the moment and, if possible ….  What am I talking about, we should try to squeeze the last drop of pleasure, out of each experience, all of the time!


Right, I’ve grasped the theory, now all that’s needed is the determination and stamina to practise this affirmative art.