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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Monday, April 23, 2007

You don't know how to ease my pain

(Being a replacement for an outrageously self-pitying post of the same name, the presence of which was extremely short-lived.)

It's come to something when the only thing I can think to write about is pain. I mean, it's not as though I'm in any way a novice at this chronic pain mallarkey: my last pain-free day was November 30th 1991, FFS.

But, when my osteopath told me that coming off the NSAIDs would result in my pain levels being dramatically increased, he wasn't kidding. There isn't even anything particularly wrong at the moment. Nothing's locked. Nothing's trapped. Nothing's out-of-the-way stiff. I don't need anything to be manipulated to free it. I've been on bed rest for weeks, so my back is actually in relatively good nick. And God forbid anything does get trapped or locked because I'm barely coping with the pain resulting from it being comparatively ok - add anything else into the mix, and I'm going to experience a serious sense of humour failure.

This is ridiculous. I don't have any sharp, agonising pain of the type which makes me wince, and hiss, and scream. It's all just dull, constant, absolutely bloody relentless pain of the type which I really feel I ought to be able to deal with better than I am currently doing.

It's just about tolerable as long as I don't do anything at all, but I've only got to empty the washing machine or pick the post up from the mat for it to be Really Not Funny. And I've no meds to take which will have an immediate analgesic effect. In the old days, if it was really painful, I'd take one of my dwindling stash of Celebrex to knock it on the head. Now I'm on one Tramadol and two Paracetamol every four hours, and necking those three doesn't make any appreciable immediate difference. Indeed, it was so bad on Friday evening that I took two extra Tramadol, thus taking me up to the safe maximum of six, and that didn't make any appreciable difference either.

The worst thing is that the combination of the pain and the Tramadol-induced mental blurriness is having a pretty negative effect on my psychological robustness. Which means that poor Pop is astonished when I take huge offence at the sort of gentle, affectionate teasing which can generally be guaranteed to reduce me to helpless giggles. And, trust me, I can see that I'm being totally unreasonable and a complete drama queen. Which makes me despise myself but which, unfortunately, doesn't alter the nature of my response one iota.

Anyone who knows me well is quite used to me being snarly, but weepiness is not a state with which I am generally associated. If it's any consolation to those who have been wept at, I don't like it any more than you do.

Ho hum. Anyway, back to the GP tomorrow. Let's see what the next suggestion is.....

The Editor


Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Hell. I am so very sorry. I haven't even anything constructive to suggest, because I'm damn sure you've explored each and every avenue already.

Please please watch those damn paracetamol if you are taking them 4-hourly. Any suggestion of soreness or pain in the liver region (bottom of the ribs and slightly right of centre) and stop them immediately before going back to GP.

People's reaction to Tramadol varies wildly. You should get accustomed to them so that the brain fog lessens. And there are other opioids, ie slightly differing formulations, your GP could try.

May the Force be with you.

2:31 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Thanks, Charles.

these things are sent to try us.

3:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I can't offer any practical advice on the pain relief, just loads of sympathy. Is gin allowed with Tramadol?
Do not joke, put on a brave face or stiff upper lip when visiting that GP tomorrow, tell him what hell you are experiencing.

4:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As charlesdawson so rightly says, I am so very sorry for you. I presume you've read all about Tramadol on Wikipedia? As with MS, what works for one person is not guaranteed to be effective for all. Does your GP have any idea why they aren't working for you? Or is that something you're going to ask about on your next visit?
Can you combine the paracetamol with the Tramadol so there's no chance of you taking too much?
All the best, whatever you try. Let us know how you get on.
Angie xx

4:18 pm  
Blogger Queen_Mum said...

Groaning can be such a comfort. Please try it. Kittens don't mind it as much as howling. Howling alarms them. But a long, melodious groan just makes them curious. And gives a release of frustration beyond tears.

6:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on percosets/oxycotin 500mg 6 times a day due to leg cramps and a constant throbbing pain.At first they helped a bit.But then I needed more and more and they were also very addictive with withdrawal symptoms.
Needless to say I stopped.
Now I use a certain herb,and my pains have gone I feel no side affects,I sleep good etc etc.
I can't say enough it was like a "miracle"and I am a very skeptical type.
Anyway that one mans experience.
I hope you find a "solution".

12:54 am  
Blogger Katie said...


I'm sorry, I have no magic solutions either, but as an experiencer of some level of Ouchiness most of the time, I do have empathy.

Otherwise, I can only suggest:

1. Cod Liver Oil. I know, I know, it'll barely touch it, and it's a hugely patronising suggestion, but it does take the upper end off mine, and it might be worth it. It might not, but it won't do you any harm, either. It's the only disability related 'alternative' treatment I've ever contemplated.

2. Chocolate. Green and Blacks, ideally.

3. Crisps. Your previous post on this subject suggested a number of sensible options.

4. An ample supply of pyjamas and pants - also discussed on this blog - thus reducing the need to empty the washing machine.

5. A slave to do all household chores.

6. An additional slave to massage you constantly. Possibly a number of slaves to work on different parts of your body all at once.

7. Kittens.

That's it, really. Um... I really do hope you feel even just a little better soon...

Sending you good vibes from Brighton.


1:26 am  
Blogger Kathleen Clohessy said...

Tears contain natural endorphins-which of course, link back to the opioid receptors in the brain and make you feel better.
Unfortunately, if you are like me you stopped being able to cry about the pain a long time ago.

I agree about seeing the doc. Do not be "nice". Do not "spare his or her feelings." His job is to help you and if what he's doing or prescribing isn't helping then he needs to try something else.

Good luck from another person living with chronic pain.

2:53 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Right. I'm off to see the doctor at 10.40 this morning.

(I realise this falls right in the middle of Mother and Baby Clinic, but the next appointment with this particular doctor is 3 pm Friday. Which is no use at all.)

Must. Not. Underplay. Pain.

Must. Try. To. Overcome. Middle-class. Conditioning.

Will report back as soon as I'm strong enough. Thanks to all for the support.

8:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady Bracknell,
(LOVE your name.) As a chronic pain patient for 15 years, I know personally that, as quoted in today's New York Times article (Tuesday's Science Section) on Dr. William Hurwitz's trial (quote by Dr. Hurwitz): "Pain is what the patient says it is." If you don't have anything wrong with you, which I may have wrongly inferred from your letter, would it be possible to do some exercise? When "nothing" is wrong, then the very lack of exercise becomes a real problem. But if something IS wrong and I have missed it, I GREATLY apologize. Good luck.

5:41 pm  
Blogger Katja said...

I'm so sorry to hear it, and wish I could offer some constructive help. Good luck with the doctor.

On my side, I had to look up "FFS", so your post was quite educational.

6:44 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Queen_ mum is absolutely right, having a good old groan can just take that grating edge off (although it's best done when one is alone).

Anecdote: I recall an occasion where someone I know with scoliosis had some *serious* hydrotherapy-type-thing as a one off. She wished she hadn't done it, because she'd spent so many years - decades in fact - living with that constant pain, that its absence freaked her out beyond the telling of it and she kept feeling sick. "Luckily" the pain relief only lasted an hour or so.

But really, all any of us can offer is a certain amount of solidarity.

7:30 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

Solidarity indeed. It is so bloody wearing and lowering. Charles gives such good and calming advice I can't add anything other than I'm with Katie re Green and Blacks. I really hope your doctor's appt was productive. As a tangent, I found Geoffrey Chaucer via your blog, and many thanks, it did make me laugh.

7:56 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Cheers to all for the solidarity - much appreciated.

And always a joy to educate our American cousins in cursing acronyms... ;-)

Will endeavour to post in detail about visit to doctor tomorrow.

However, I would just like to make it clear to the anonymous commenter that when I say, "there isn't even anything particularly wrong at the moment", what I mean is, "there isn't anything particularly wrong in addition to all the stuff which is taken as read i.e. the prolapsed discs, the inflamed sacro-iliac joints, the permanently-trapped nerves, the adhesions, the scar tissue, the bone spur in my left shoulder, the paratendonitis in my right ankle, etc, etc, etc.

(See? I told you I was snarly.)

10:05 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Heh. That misunderstanding reminds me of a time my mum met me in town and, to the consternation of the assembled Members of the General Public, observed, "Gosh, you're limping."

It was plainly obvious to all said MotGP that a) She was my mother; and b) Limping was the normal state of affairs for me.

Therefore the comment seemed to have as much point as her declaring, "Gosh, you're female."

However, it was plain as day to both of us that what she meant was, "Daughter, in addition to your usual wobble, there is something else wrong with your leg which is causing you to walk in a particularly weird way even by your peculiar standards.

Wobbling isn't limping, you see. Just like there isn't even anything particularly wrong with you at the moment...

12:12 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

And speaking of mothers...

Imagine how nonplussed I was at the age of twenty something when my mother (who, prior to getting married, was a midwife, and who therefore might be expected to have at least some grasp of medical issues) uttered the following immortal words:

"That birth mark on your leg. Have you still got it?"

11:13 am  

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