When I was diagnosed with disintegration of my C5/C6 vertebrae several years ago, I didn’t realize how much my life would change. 4 years later I am jobless due to my physical limitations, I sometimes cannot dress myself or wash and brush my hair, and I sleep a LOT thanks to the medications I take.
For example, last night I went to bed at 8:30 and slept until 7:30 this morning. Then after I’d gotten my son to school, I went back to bed and slept until 2 pm. I do my best functioning in the mid-afternoon after I’ve had my power nap (which is usually 3 hours long). Right now I feel alert and ready to take on the world. By 9pm I’ll be ready to crash into bed.
What is the Pain Spider? It is my pet name for when the pain drills down into my spine and nests there, with its radiating legs stretching along the neurological pathways of my arms and legs. Sometimes it’s a very small spider, and I can go along with my daily routine; sometimes it’s an immense monster, and every breath I take feels like I’m struggling against the wave of pain.
This pain spider visited me yesterday and hasn’t budged. When I got out of bed and saw my husband in the living room, the first thing I did was snap at him for eating some leftovers I was saving for our son to eat before his judo class. As I carefully eased myself down in my chair, I said, “The pain’s really bad today.”
“Oh, that explains it,” he said.
“You didn’t say hello, or give me a kiss, or anything nice, you just yelled at me.”
I apologized. I find I do that a lot. it’s not enough, I know. I put my family through a lot when my pain is bad. Sometimes it’s all I can do, but I wish I didn’t have to put us all in that position where I feel useless and reliant on them, and angry about it.
My son, who is 9, will sometimes ask me, if I’ve been grouching at him about incomplete homework or chores, “Mama, have you taken your meds yet?” It’s sad that he understands my mood swings can be pain- and medicinally-induced.
This may sound like a complaint post, but it isn’t meant to be. It’s my reality and the reality of millions who suffer with chronic pain. We don’t mean to be snappish or curt with people, we don’t want to sleep the day away, we DO want to be able to cook, dance, make love, pick our kids up in the air, do yoga, braid our hair.