Out of the Abyss

As if chronic pain isn't enough  for its own sake (no, be patient. This is a positive post, so bear with me), there's also the accompanying sleep deficit. I've had to deal with pain since 1997 when I was diagnosed with DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease). Since then, I think I can claim about three nights out of any given year that I could say I actually slept well and woke up feeling refreshed. For a long time I thought the fatigue I've also battled (I promise, this is a positive post!) was due solely to my other complaint, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. While it played a part earlier, I finally found the right dosage of medication two years ago and since then I've really had no reason to be so fatigued. Now I understand why. I thought...

Funny how chronic pain is. You get used to it in a way because it's just always there, day in, day out, minute-to-minute. You begin to overlook and ignore it until it jumps up to a level 8. (I consider childbirth a 9 and peritonitis a 10—I'd rather give birth to twelve-pound twins than go through peritonitis again!) But most days it hovers around 5 or 6 and it begins to feel normal. What other choice have you, when you don't have affordable health care or insurance? Such is the state of many, many people, so I'm not singling myself out here as a rare instance of America's inequality. There are ways around that, however, and although I won't tell you how, I finally got an Rx for some pain medication.

The difference is amazing! I didn't realize how much pain I've actually been in. In fact, the first time I was 100% pain-free it felt almost wrong, like something wasn't right in my body. Being pain-free now for three days has also impacted my sleeping. I'm, well, sleeping! Pain-free sleep, uninterrupted sleep, comfortable, deep, cozy sleep. I'd really forgotten what that's like.

Of course, now I have a huge, 14-year sleep deficit, but I'm going to enjoy trying to catch that up.