Friday, October 29, 2010

r+r= evil!?

So, I told my PT today how it has gotten so busy that I have had to plan ahead to get some mega-rest on Wednesday, and she was not happy.  No, she wasn't unhappy because I can't rest 'til then, but basically displeased that sleeping extra is a method for pain relief for me at all.

She basically said that when the pain gets to a ten, I should work out. 

Really?  Honestly, maybe when she tweaked her back (the example she gave), doing pilates made it magically heal, but I work out all the time when it hurts around a "7-8" and, while it does feel better while doing it, I always ALWAYS hurt worse afterward.  Well, maybe not worse, but in contrast to virtual livable pain relief during the work out, the flush of the high level pain back into my system is terrible.

I was just super irritated.  Quite frankly, I'm sure my neck is made worse by not getting enough rest, and I think I deserve a day of rest now and again when I've had to put up with a week like this one.  It probably won't help the pain, but it will help me psychologically.  It wears me out putting up with this stuff (how cleverly I avoided cursing).

Plus, I am stressed out about the cost of pain relieving materials right now.  I just spent another $50 at the pharmacy getting Tylenol PMs, hot and cold patches, Head On, and paying my co-pays for prescription pain stuffs.  I want to wear hot and cold patches everyday, because they seem to help a little bit, but that would add up so quickly.  Plus, the PT people want me to get a foam roller and some "bio freeze" gel (like Bengay- I tried some today, but I will not pass judgment 'til I get a full sample and try it out).  Plus the books and ice packs and teas and all this crap.

If only working out was enough and I actually had the time to do it every day.  ugh.

pain sprawl

This current pain crisis has been going on forever.  What I mean is, it has hurt something awful consistently all week.  I pretty much feel like I'm going to throw up all the time.

I have PT tomorrow (joy <-- sarcasm).  Maybe they will actually just let me sleep on their ice bed thing for an hour.  I don't want to do the damn exercises when it hurts this badly.  It has been at a consistent "8" (you know how I feel about quantifying pain, but they are going to ask, so I'd better prepare) since Monday.  I had to leave work early on Monday.  I'm seriously thinking about cancelling my meetings tomorrow.

You see, the second one is actually with the disability counselor, so she is pretty much more aware of this condition than anybody.  But then, there are three others, and it was hard to coordinate, so I'd better show up.  Plus, the first meeting is a big group too, and I'm trying to get our meeting the day after Veteran's Day cancelled (it should be anyway, right?).

If I cancel PT the day of, I am fined $50.  So I'd better make it. 

So I have to tough it out from basically 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Then, I can go work out and come home and crash.  That is literally the plan.  Of course, then there are two birthday parties this weekend and a homework meeting thing. 

Then we hit Monday, which will be crazy:
7a.m. PT appointment
9a.m.-3:30 work
3:30-4:30 post human migration group readings
4:30-5:30 human migration research group
5:45-6:45 work out
7:30-9:00 Japanese

The good news is that I'll actually have time to work out, plus the gap between PT and work means I can get a coffee.  But still, I just want to find some time to sleep all day long.  Tuesday will be even worse too:
9-3:30- work
3:30-5:30 colloquium
5:45-10 class

Notice how there is one fifteen minute break all day?  Well, I guess I do have a lunch break- hurrah.  Unless I have to go to the class I'm grading for.  Fingers crossed!  Plus, I can't miss class,  because we are facilitating a session with the first years.

So, the big plan will be to go to my 7a.m. PT appointment on Wednesday, work out, and go home and sleep all day.  So, just have to make it through the next five days. 

Oh, and did I mention the pharmacy forgot to refill my anti-depressants?  Awesome timing, guys.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

hot and cold patches- review

Well, they are certainly better than hot patches.  Remember, those you-know-whats burned me.  Literally.  Yuck.

These puppies haven't burned me yet (and I've tried two generic brands), and they do feel nice.  The trouble is, they do not like to stay on.  But that is a problem with hot patches too, so I am still feeling an improvement here.

So, plusses:
  • Don't get too hot
  • Feel kinda nice
  • take with-able
  • Don't stay on!
  • Stink v.v
  • Come in weird sizes
Really, I'm not sure if I'll stick with them at this point.  They aren't too expensive, but you have to go through a lot a day to make it work, and it all adds up!

trigger point blues

I think I must have had a bad reaction to the trigger point injections.  Bruising galore along my back and neck where I got them.  Not sure what causes that in particular.  Did she improperly do them, or maybe my pain areas were already weakened?

Anyway, I have had a bad pain week.  Went home from work early on Monday.  Yesterday was a nightmare!  I toughed it out to go to a lecture, and I was in too much pain to care about what he said!  It wasn't super my cup of tea anyway, but I usually like lectures.

Plus, a friend basically told me to come to her for a certain chiropractor's phone number when I "feel like getting rid of the pain."  But I have a muscle condition, which I have said and said again yesterday, so chiropractry will not help (have asked all my drs-- who all agree).  Plus, I don't have any time for it, and my insurance will only cover PT or chiro.  And I've stuck with PT this long...

PTs were irritated because I wasn't working out much.  But how can I work out to decrease pain when it hurts so bad?  I did the bike today, but I might not be able to go time-wise tomorrow. 

What a (wait for it) pain!

Monday, October 25, 2010

busy weekend= quarter's first pain crisis!

Wow, it all hasn't hurt this bad in a while.  I'm sure there are many factors, such as getting trigger point injections Friday, studying for the GRE, taking the GRE, grading midterms, sitting at computer at work, and not working out for a few days. 

Anyway, it is annoying, because I think I may have to miss the wonderful RDG Kelley speak at UW.  I'm a huge fan of his work (as of today, but nonetheless), and am quite sad at the idea.  But I think I won't be able to handle it. 

I'm going to see if I can just lay on a bunch of ice pads tomorrow at PT.  We did that for ten minutes before, and it helped for a bit.  If I do it for the whole hour appointment, I think it will help even more.  Though be amazingly unpleasant.

Speaking of unpleasant, trigger point injections.  Oh my.  My dr. felt confident that I may not need them at next month's appointment, but I really am not feeling it.  Don't feel I could survive without them, despite their massive hurting.

Keep looking for pain retreats.  Wouldn't that be nice?  Ahhh...  Though, I imagine they cannot really be retreats FROM pain so much as retreating BECAUSE of pain.  As in hiding.  Bother.

Monday, October 18, 2010

sans am pain meds

Ugh, today was so awful.  My neck ached all day, and I had a terrible headache.  Worst of all though were the side effects from so suddenly going off my morning pain meds.  It is really quite annoying, because my dr. specifically told me that this med wasn't addictive.

Of course, she also told me that trigger point injections wouldn't hurt.  Honestly, how would she know?  Has she had them?  If not, then poo on her for making me feel weak.

Anyway, the side effects are awful.  I was so exhausted today (I had a lot of caffeine, and it didn't help!).  I'm sure the headache was related as well.  I literally couldn't make myself sit up straight.

Well, tomorrow will be without the meds as well.  Apparently, my dr. fax the refill in last Monday, but the pharmacy somehow didn't get it.  They faxed it again today, but it will take at least until tomorrow to fill.  Hopefully, my mom or M can stop and get it for me- as I have zero time from 7a.m. to 10:30p.m.  Early morning meeting- durn.  Already have the instant coffee ready to go.

So, will just have to endure through tomorrow.  If it gets any worse though, I may have no choice but to skip my night class.  But that would pretty much mean not missing for the rest of the quarter, and who knows how bad December will be?

Blame the cynicism on the withdrawl symptoms.  Or is it withdrawal (or is that only for the bank?).  Hm...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Well, it seems my doctor forgot to call in the refill for my prescription last week, so I am without the pain medication that I take in the morning, until this problem can be remedied.  I will call both my doctor and the pharmacy tomorrow, but, alas, the pharmacy's system is actually down right now.  I've actually tried to call and fill a few other prescriptions that are running low, but I simply hear/read (if I try online) an error message.

I didn't realize how much I had come to depend on this medication until I went today without having taken it.  Not only does my pain hurt worse than yesterday (it hurt pretty terribly then- or is it terrible?  I can never remember the rule with adverbs...), but I feel a bit sick in general.  I know that the medication isn't that strong, but perhaps I'm just on so many medications that any change messes me up.

I'm going to have to muddle through tomorrow anyway.  Maybe I will stash my ice pack in the grad lab freezer for Tuesday night's class.  Although, I don't want to look like I'm going for sympathy.  I guess I can try to hide it with a scarf.

Though, I am also a bit worried that it might get stolen.  Not to be terribly cynical, but the damn thing was at least twenty-five dollars, and all these little pain reducing things add up over time (tea+ books+ co-pays on meds+ice packs+stretching aids+exercise balls+etc.).  Plus, it's pretty large, and I don't want to monopolize all the space in the tiny freezer.

Maybe I should just pick up some "hot and cold" patches?  I hear that they work really well.  I'm just a bit nervous to use any "hot" patches, as I was burnt by the last one I wore :|

Saturday, October 16, 2010

when sick

It's difficult to realize when I'm sick now.  A few weeks ago, I got strep throat and didn't realize how bad it was.  You see, the lymph nodes are all located about the neck, and my neck always hurts.  So how was I to know that it was something different causing more or less the same pain?

When I was really sick this summer with a fever over 103, I didn't even notice.  I mean, I knew I felt terrible, but it was mostly just the aching.  I'm used to aching.  I just figured the pain was spreading like it sometimes does, going through my hands and down my legs. 

Well, my throat's been hurting since I finished my strep medicine.  And my neck started hurting badly about the same time.  So then, is it just that my neck hurts from the conference, or am I sick again?

How am I supposed to tell the difference???

pain retreat

There must be something out there for adults.  I just want to go to some sort of rehab center or retreat and heal.  Check myself in and hide away until this fixes.

I'm sure it's obvious, but my mood has fallen.  I was doing so much better and then it just started hurting so badly again.  I'm not sure what else I can do besides trigger point injections and PT.  I read a book on foods for pain, and apparently I should be vegan.  I just can't imagine giving up dairy on top of meat.  Meat was hard enough.

Well, I'm supposed to see my physiatrist (re: not psychiatrist) on Friday.  There's always the option of asking what else we can do, but I'm worried that I've once again got to that point where the doctor will just shrug in reply. 

Maybe I'd just better try to do acupunture again.  Just have to make the time.

Anyway, going to take a shower and ice it.  Hit up the Tylenol PM and pass out.  Good plan.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I think I always preface complains with "the worst thing about chronic pain is..." but that really is how it feels when you are so put down by it.  Today, I had to leave a conference I have been excited about for months, because my pain got so bad.

It is just terrible today.  I am having to prioritize so much and stay so busy, that I really am going to have to drop all the fun things I want to do just to be able to "tough it out" for the things I have to do. 

Really, there needs to be a space to talk about going through grad school with a disability.  And pain makes things so much harder.  I feel like half the battle is gritting my teeth through literal pain, with so little of me left to make an effort at school work and get things onto my CV.  This quarter is one of attrition-- thank God we're almost to November.

It is really hard to imagine sustaining for 5-7 more years for a PhD program.  Yet there need to be professors who know about pain and disability in this way.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Capstone Artifacts

McGill Pain Questionnaire

Patient Form (Back/Neck- PT)

From The Cancer Journals- Audre Lorde:

On the morning of the third day, the pain returned home bringing all of its kinfolk. Not that any single
one of them was overwhelming, but just that all in concert, or even in small repertory groups, they were excruciating.

There were constant ones and intermittent ones. There were short sharp and long dull and various combinations of the same ones. The muscles in my back and right shoulder began to screech as if they'd been pulled apart and now were coming back to life slowly and against their will.

My chest wall was beginning to ache and burn and stab by turns. My breast which was no longer there would hurt as if were being squeezed in a vise. That was perhaps the worst pain of all, because it would come with a full complement of horror that I was to be forever reminded of my loss by suffering in a part of me which was no longer there. I suddenly seemed to get weaker rather than stronger. The euphoria and numbing.

Effects of the anesthesia were beginning to subside


my body. Extended

a rusty butter knife

cuts and digs
extracting my bones
from. my flesh

my powdered throat

dust and sand

i has been buried

my body beneath my mind

my body. extended

the wild remains
like trees aging
down and up and out

i would spear my teeth into my foot

detach my foot-me from my rest-of-me
you seek to make me I

give me voice

when i die, the ants will feast
i falls away

my body extended beyond
my body. extended

Monday, October 4, 2010

Medications List

Because it has all gotten so out of hand.  I drink expensive teas to sleep (which is not working right now- alas!), use ice packs, heat pack, etc.  Still, there are so many medications for so many conditions.  Wondering if maybe healthy is merely an image of perfection.  Unattainable!

  • Vitamin - Calcium
  • Vitamin - Women's Daily
  • Vitamin - Vitamin C
  • Supplement - Iron (Anemia)
  • Rx - Cytomel (Hypo-thyroidism)
  • Rx - Cymbalta (Pain and depression)
  • Rx - Singulair (Asthma)
  • Rx - Birth control (Irregular menstruation)
  • Rx - Meloxicam (Pain)
  • Short-term - Augmentin (Lymph node/strep throat/tonsil mega virus)
  • Short-term - Prednisone ("")
  • NSAID - 3 ibuprofens
  • Short-term - Augmentin (Lymph node/strep throat/tonsil mega virus)
  • Short-term - Florastor (Complications from above-ness)
  • NSAID - 3 ibuprofens
  • Supplement - Iron (Anemia)
  • Rx - Cytomel (Hypo-thyroidism)
  • Rx - Cymbalta (Pain and depression)
  • Rx - Neurontin (Pain)
  • NSAID - Tylenol PM 
As needed:
  • Rx - Albuterol inhaler (asthma)
  • Rx - Flonase (allergies/asthma)
  • Rx - Ultram (pain)

It looks insane all written out...  I think I need to meet with my doctor to discuss all of these and see if there's a way to cut back.  :|