Wherein I Face The Guardian Of The Pain Meds (Adventures At The Pain Clinic, Part 2)

2015 March 27
by Jenny

When last we left off I was in the examination room of the pain doctor I was about to meet for the first time, frantically trying to come up with answers to whatever questions he could possibly ask, trying to anticipate everything he might say,  trying to mentally strategize every potential situation, so that there would be no possible way for him to deny me my pain medication.

Being locked into such a mentally constricted and obsessive place is awful in and of itself, but it was magnified by the fact that the doctor was two hours late for my appointment. So between my anxiety over what was (or what wasn’t) going to happen, and my guilt at keeping my husband away from a work situation that needed his attention, not to mention spending two hours in a cramped, windowless room, I was about to lose my mind by the time the doctor got there.

And then…it was totally anticlimactic.

I met the doctor, he asked me some questions, glanced at my file, gave me a 2-second physical examination, said, “I don’t have any problem writing this prescription for you. But I can’t give it to you for fibromyalgia because it’s not indicated for that. So I’m sending you to get an MRI of your spine, because by this age (Important Side Note: Thanks so much. Like this illness doesn’t already make me feel like I’m 150 years old) there’s usually some degeneration,” set a follow-up appointment, and then went on to the next patient.

He left me in a very unsettled place. On the one hand, it sounded like I was going to be able to get the meds I needed. But on the other hand, I interpreted what he’d said as, “You have to go through this completely unnecessary medical procedure before I will give them to you.”

So I scheduled the MRI, because, what else could I do? He had the meds. I needed the meds. So I had to do whatever he said.

(To be continued)

 

Good Words

2015 March 20
by Jenny

The shoe that fits one person pinches another;
there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.

-Carl Jung

If This Is Really True, Then I’m In Serious Trouble

2015 March 16
by Jenny

Yesterday the new issue of Popular Mechanics showed up in our mailbox, and our curiosity was immediately piqued by the cover story. So we flipped over to the article, and Mr. Cranky Fibro Girl read out each item while I tallied up our scores.

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Things started off well.

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Check.

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OK, so far I am crushing this list.

I felt pretty good about the rest of the “Ages 1-11″ skills (ride a bike, hammer a nail, load a dishwasher), although I lost some points on “pitch a tent” and “paddle a canoe” since I’m only riding the coattails of my Eagle Scout husband on those.

Our scores started to diverge once we reached the “Ages 12-17″ range of skills, although I can perform the task with the largest font size, which clearly ought to count for some bonus points:

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Then we reached the skills one is supposed to acquire in one’s 20s, and here we are really stepping outside my wheelhouse:

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Um…no
.

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Sure. Because my mad Spanish verb conjugating skillz would really come in handy here.

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Bwahahahahahahahaha. Not. A. Chance. In. The. World.

My husband was still doing fairly well overall, so feeling pretty confident, we cruised on over to the 30s. And that is where we saw this:

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Um, really? Since when is this a must-have skill for the masses? Was I absent the day they taught that in school? And the most important question of all: exactly which audience are they trying to target here?

Because, let’s review. This is Popular Mechanics we’re talking about.

It is not How To Survive Once You Go Off Grid.

It is not Skills You Need To Master In Anticipation Of The Imminent Zombie Apocalypse.

It has nothing to do with hunting or the outdoors.

It is a magazine designed for readers who will salivate over the tear-out, pin-up, glossy centerfold featuring an extensive array of hammers. Along with articles on retro guitar amps, choosing the best hedge trimmers, the new Apple watch, and NASA’s  latest sweater for astronauts.

Who is this mythical person they are trying to reach? And is anyone else afraid?

 

 

Good Words

2015 March 14
by Jenny

Today I discovered the work of Rachel W. Cole, and I adore this passage I found in a blog post she wrote a couple of years ago called “Self-Centered“:

“Self-centered women are not easily blown over by the gusts of other people’s opinions, agendas, or problems coming their way. Their strong center keeps them steady.

Self-centered women know themselves. Intimately. The smooth and the rough. Their ego and their Self.

Self-centered women don’t put others before themselves to the point that they have nothing left. In turn, they have more to give to everyone.

Self-centered women know life isn’t tit for tat. They can receive without “earning” it and they can give without expectation of reciprocation.

Self-centered women are powered sustainably from a renewable source, rather than from  the validation, approval, and attention of outside and temporary sources.

Self-centered women are their own compass. Their own north-stars. They navigate these choppy waters as an eye in the storm. This is why we so often take refuge in their work, words, and presence.

They are lighthouses for the rest of us because they are lighthouses for themselves.”

May we all learn how to be a little more self-centered.

 

Dear My Husband: Yes You Did TOO Give Me This Stupid Cold

2015 March 7
by Jenny

and it really sucks.

I miss being able to breathe.

Plus, it is WAY too stressful to try and figure out which bloody cold medicine I need at the store. Especially when I also have to choose a new deoderant.

Sincerely,

Your Sniffly Wife

This Is How I Want To Live

2015 March 5
by Jenny

The great affair

The great affair, the love affair with life,
is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred,
climb aboard and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day.

Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding,
and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours,
life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length.

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery,
but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

-Diane Ackerman

I Just Had A Consultation With A New Doctor About Ruling Out Scary Diagnoses, So NATURALLY, The Only Thing I Could Focus On Was The Fact That I’d Forgotten To Shave My Legs

2015 March 2
by Jenny

And my heels didn’t look so hot either.

Forget appointment cards and new patient paperwork. THESE are the things they should remind you to do to prepare for your visit.

It’s Taken Me About Five Months, But I’m Finally Starting To Recover From That Time That Life Kicked Me In The Face

2015 February 27
by Jenny

About four months ago, to continue receiving treatment for my fibromyalgia I had to change from my longtime, familiar rheumatologist to a brand-new, completely unknown pain doctor.  This change came courtesy of the new law passed back in the fall making it more difficult for doctors to prescribe, and patients to receive, pain medications (about which, MUCH more later).

For a few months prior I’d heard rumblings here and there about the change, but I refused to think about it until the day in October when I tried to call in a refill of one of my medications and found out that I couldn’t get it.

At that point I flipped out into Code Red, Total Freak-Out, Emergency, Defcon One, Panic And Survival Mode. I was consumed by the terror that I was not going to be OK, that I would no longer be able to get what I needed to take care of myself.

I managed to get one of the two remaining appointments that my rheumatologist had open that week, and somehow eked out enough medication to last me the five days until my appointment. He’s treated me for the past six years, knows that I’m stable and consistent in what I need to manage my pain, and knows that I don’t abuse my medication. So I was hoping that he’d still write for me, the only difference being that he could no longer call the prescription in to the pharmacy or add on any refills; I’d have to come pick up a new prescription in person every 30 days.

But he dashed that hope pretty quickly. Whatever his reasons he said no (again-about which, more later), and told me I’d have to go to a pain clinic from now on and have them manage that medication. At which point I transformed into a seething ball of rampaging emotions, slingshotting back and forth between raging anger and paralyzing fear.

On the one hand I was furious, F-U-R-I-O-U-S with everyone who’d had a hand in imposing these rules on us pain patients, people who almost certainly had never experienced anything near the levels of excruciating pain that we have to live with every single day of our lives. I’m talking about the kind of range that is so all-consuming that you can barely breathe, much less speak. That’s why I haven’t been able to write about this until now. All I could think about was how I wished that I could somehow curse everyone involved with passing this law. I wanted them to suffer by having to watch their loved ones develop excruciating pain and debilitating illness, and then not be able to get the medications that would bring them relief.

Then under the anger was the fear-terror, actually-of  suffering. Not just the physical suffering, the pain that crackles through every moment, every breath, of every single day, but the emotional suffering that accompanies it. I’m terrified of the dark place I go to when the pain becomes unbearable and my mind tells me that the only way I’ll ever find any relief is if I’m dead.

So. I was able to get into the pain clinic the following week, and, being the OCD, anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive firstborn that I am, I prepared a Ph.D.-level, multimedia  presentation of all the things I do to manage my illness, in order to prove that I “deserved” pain medicine.

I was completely at the mercy of this person whom I’d never met before. I didn’t know him, and he didn’t know me. And there must have been at least twenty people in the waiting room with me, so I knew I would only get a “drive-by” kind of appointment.

So there I was, about to see a complete stranger, who had the power to say “yay” or “nay” on giving me a prescription, and I had to figure out how to convince him that yes, I really do need this medication  to keep my pain at a manageable level, with maybe 5 minutes to present my case.

So, um, how the fuck was I supposed to do that?

(To be continued.)

 

Good Words

2015 February 20
by Jenny

“As for what’s next, I have no idea. But for now, I trust that not knowing isn’t the same as it not being possible.  ”

-Anna Guest-Jelley, founder and CEO (Curvy Executive Officer) of Curvy Yoga

 

February: Now With 80% Less Emo

2015 February 13
by Jenny

I love February; unlike most of the rest of the world, my personal new year has always started then. Plus, it means I’ve survived January, although happily this year was not that bad.

I’m also happy for you, my dear readers, because my emotions lighten up and my sense of humor starts to come back. So I feel less need to inflict my Angsty Emo self on you in every post. Which is not to say that things are not still hard. Today, for example, basically my entire body except for like, my left earlobe, is on fire at the level of pain that makes it difficult to breathe.

But, in the annoyingly consistent principle of Both/And, I have a happy thing to share as well.

I have spent the past couple of weeks in agonizing pain.

AND

Over those same couple of weeks I have decluttered  the entire guest room! The Room of Doom! The room where for years I’ve dumped everything I didn’t want to deal with (of which there were MOUNTAINS).

So now this:

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Looks like this:

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Plus Mr. Cranky Fibro Girl and I went to dinner with real, live, in-person people, AND THERE WERE CUPCAKES. Containing three separate forms of chocolate.

AND

I had happy things to write about in a blog post.

AND

I have to go lie down now with some serious pain medication, because: agony.

Once again, I am the Queen of Contrast (but happily for everyone, and 80%-less emo one).