Friday, September 10, 2010

Pain - Who Suffers Most?


I was thinking last night as I cried hysterically for 2+ hours from nerve pain that would not abate.  After availing myself of all my options - and nothing left to do but wait.  Wait it out.  That intolerable prison of burning pain that takes the life right out of you.   I'm usually much better at not getting "behind" on my pain, but silly me - I thought I could run my own errands yesterday and give my poor, over-worked husband a break.  I was wrong.

I was thinking.......what could be worse than this suffering?  And then I wondered - how does my family feel?  Or my friends?  How to help?  Feeling helpless themselves?  I understand - before this pain journey, I don't know what I would have done if a friend did nothing but cry and all I could offer was to sit and let them?  Perhaps cry with them?  Nah, I would have avoided that too, come to think of it.

But for those who love someone in immense physical pain.......I your pain worse?   Wishing you could take the pain, or share it for just a day?  Could you switch legs with me so I can remember what it was like to have a day before I learned that what we take for granted can be gone in an instant?  And that medical science has limits and that sometimes all that can be offered does not even come close?

The wait for a new invention, a new cure, an enlightenment that will regenerate my nerves.  How long will that wait be?  The exhaustion of trying this med, or that med.  This supplement or that supplement.  This diet or that diet.  Or what about this exercise or that exercise?  Always chasing, never finding.

I believe especially in America, we tend to preserve life as long as we can, keeping folks alive for OUR benefit, so OUR suffering will be less.  And many of us suffering, WE hang on as long as we can so our family won't suffer.  Is it selfish to want relief?  Does part of our pain come from a lack of attention to our own needs and a super-focus on others' needs/problems/issues?

And I guess I just wanted to put out there to the world, with  a current lack of a legal document at the moment.........if something should ever happen to me (accident, surgery, procedure) that my life would be worse, my pain would be greater, or I would be further disabled and a choice to prolong my life must be made?

Due to new circumstances that have surfaced, I now realize with certainty that those directly near me who would have the responsibility to make that decision may be truly unable to do so.  Therefore, I put this out there for anyone who might be involved:

Please, let me go.  Release me from this prison of pain.  I won't do anything to hasten that final relief, but do strongly plead that my request be granted.  Turn your focus on those who would struggle to allow this, explaining in ways their logical minds won't grasp easily, that this is the compassionate thing to do.

I remember as I was doing the pre-op procedures for my 3rd surgery in 12 months.  I was asked if I have a Living Will, and I said no.  I did request a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) though if something should happen SO wrong during that procedure that keeping me alive would make my life worse than it already was.  The nurse freaked out and said I was much too young to talk like that.
Well, what business was it of hers, someone who does not know what I go through every day?  Why must I be forced to not only live in 24/7 burning, searing pain that can cause me to cry uncontrollably for hours, but if I bravely try a new procedure and something goes horribly wrong - I must suffer that too?  Why don't I have the right to say, "NO, I'm done.  If I'm dying, let me go.".  That makes no sense to me.  Why bring me back to this torture?  Plus whatever else just happened? 

I am not depressed, I am medicated.  Pain IS depressing.  When I suffer horribly for days and weeks, I get frustrated.  Please don't be alarmed.  Just feel better making sure my wishes are known.  And perhaps helps others understand a bit more what they might not otherwise have known.

Now, back to my life, which I do hope is long and fulfilling.  There is an answer - I will find it.  I am tenacious like that.