Wednesday 30 April 2014

Coming up for air.

Should you write when you are in pain, on pain meds and exhausted? Probably not. But when has that ever stopped me? I am not online a lot at the moment. Each time I think I am ready to get going again I am quickly disabused of that idea by the pain that leaves me gasping for air.  I'll get there again. I can see the emails piling up. Get on, reply to one, and down I go again. So bear with me. Pain is an evil beast. 

Down down down. Then coming back up for air. Before the slow descent back down. Tired. Pain. My back has gone out again. Again. Yet again. Once more with feeling. A feeling called pain. An emotion called frustration. A body melting in exhaustion.

One dramatic sneeze-cough combo courtesy of a bug and here I am flat on my back. Circling the drain and going slowly mad.

Stuck, confined, held down and immobile. Knowing that each day in bed equals ten trying to claw my way back to the normal that is decidedly abnormal. Pain medication to make life bearable. Pain medication to drop my blood pressure. Stand straight up equals some relief from pain. Stand straight up equals plummeting blood pressure. Rock and hard place. Pain and more pain.

Get up. Aggravate that disc. That one. Time and again. My Achilles heel in my lower back. One of many that made a break for it way back when I was still functioning. When I was still working and living. When life gave me a 3mth preview of what was to come. 

40 is the new 80. Or 32 back then. When I still believed in miracles and recovery. The stupidity of youth. The pleasant stupidity of a life before illness become my nine to five. And dreams went down as quickly as I slid down to the floor of my office.

Lying in bed. Resting. Letting the worst of the inflammation reduce. More pain meds. No more meds. Balance the meds. Keep the pain at bay. Convince yourself you can leave it a little longer. Just an extra 30 minutes. No, an hour. You can do it. Lets make it two. Convince yourself you don't need them at all. And then BANG, the chase begins. Pain. Pain that was at bay. Pain that if not tamed was at least placed in a cage. Pacing, agitated behind the bars. Back and forth. Tail twitching. Waiting for it's prey to get complacent. For that first weakness to appear.

It pounces. Rips and tears. And the chase begins anew. No time for recriminations. You must chase and chase and hope that you can get back to the moment when it was caught. Held and tied down with ropes and nets. Until you once more tell yourself that it's okay now. The beast is tamed. You can skip that next one. A hot pack, some meditation and a plucky can-do attitude are all it takes.

Then you begin to drown again. Lie immobile on the bed. Breathing through the pain spikes. To chastise yourself once more.

If only.
I should have.
They were right.

Tomorrow the work begins. Tomorrow the small movements. Like water on rock. Small and slow. Time the best healer. The carver of new paths and new backs.

But till then I will come up for air every now and then. To make sure I am still breathing. That the world is still turning. That there is something to return to. A small glimpse of light and hope. Come up for air to be reminded that it's okay to take the next dose. That rest and sleep are okay. Because pain untended is not heroic. Pain untended is talons and claws. Fire burning. Breath taken. Minds unhinged. And longer recovery.

I'm falling apart. And knitting together.

The broken whole revisited.

The broken whole recreated.

Till the next time.



  1. Oh Michelle, how I wish I could stop your pain. I know it all too well. I wonder every day how I would get through a round of spasms and pain when it is literally impossible to sit, laying is tetering on intolerable and standing upright is the only position of relief- except of course if you have dysautonomia, the POTS flavor for me. After reading your post, I think you have answered my question. You do not know how much I wish you quick healing so you can start working your way back up.


  2. I am so sorry that you have been laid low by this - no pun intended. Please dont play the chase the pain game as you know it will take hours to get back on top of the pain again and at the moment you need to be comfortable. You are so right though it is the rock and a hard place or between the devil and the deep blue sea that you find yourself trapped in. It will be transient but it will take time. Fingers crossed you get back to "normal" soon - I know our "normal" isn't normal but I hope you know what I mean. sending my love.

  3. Dear, dear Michelle, Bob's a wrinkly exit :>% I have been having Myofacial Release to try and help with the internal upper right back pains and it seems to have made things a little easier so far. I don't know if you know what it is, or if it is accessible to you (if possibly someone could come to your home?) but it is completely gentle and I can only say the experiences I have had have been astounding as I can feel the 'facia', if that's the the correct term, gently moving once the session gets going! In my simpleton terms, it releases the covering around the muscles, internal organs where it is tight or restricted. Don't know if it's an option for you, but if nothing else I have found it a really relaxing experience (and from 'after effects' next day it seems to be working on my digestive system too). Much love and healing energy coming your way xx Tricia

  4. Hey hi hello..

    Wow we are both going thru a crash on the same day...
    I need to duct tape my brain from thinking any thing other than, yes this too will pass.. It is so easly to slip into negative catastrophying thoughts... Yes, it is important to hit myself with the bleakest scenarios... Because that will keep my adrenaline down... Humor heals when u cross the stupidity threshold...

    Big hugs, yes this too will pass...

  5. If you don't write through the pain and sickness… when will you ever? That's the conclusion I've come to. Depressing as hell? Sure. Means that I'll not write very often as it takes way more frickin mental and emotional energy than I've got to focus and concentrate and write coherent sentences (I tried to spell "sentences" as "centences" just now, see what I mean? But spell check has my back, usually, thank God), but it happens when it happens. This is life, and if the peeps who follow you can't hang in there and wait for you to hammer out a few words when you're ready and able to then they must not really get you. I'm willing to wait on the red-heeled wonder, myself. I look forward to your every post, pain or no pain.

  6. Thank you for sharing every nuance of the Bob you experience. I've been slowly getting sicker for almost two years and just got my diagnosed with the POTS flavor of things. I really love how you've chronicled your journey and am fairly addicted to your blog now. I will attempt to use my former pastry chef skills to help supply you with cupcakes and maccaroons, when I can scrape myself off the couch. :)


All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

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