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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chasing the Pain

When I remember, I take pain killers before I feel the pain. When I forget, my back reminds me. When I am tired, I forget more often.

It is truly amazing how much pain influences our daily lives. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. That just means that I can manage without pain killers. But I have less patience and less energy.

As my friend SM, an oncology nurse, explained to me:
"Chasing pain" means that people wait too long to take medication and then it takes longer and higher doses to be effective. If you are able to anticipate the need (prior to increased activity or change in routine) and medicate before you find yourself in trouble, you avoid chasing the pain. It's one of those delicate balancing acts.

Recently, I have been waiting too long.

Yesterday my oncologist asked how many pain killers I take. I told him 6-8 a day. Usually 6.

If I stay on top of things, I take at least 6.

If I take less, it does not indicate that I am in less pain. It just means that I forgot and suffered in silence. (sometimes I am not so silent in my suffering)

My kids know where my pain killers are. I often have my kids bring me my pills, because I do not want to move.

I have boxes scattered all over the house. That way, if I am in pain, I don't have to walk far to get my pills. I have pills by my bedside, by my computer, in the medicine drawer, on the medicine drawer, and in my handbag. I even have a box in my overnight bag, so I don't go away by mistake without any pain medication.

When I take my pain medication on time, I am much more active. I feel great.

Since my activities are limited to begin with, it is important for me to be as active as possible.

This means that I have to remember to take my pain medication BEFORE my back starts hurting.

I have got to develop a system to remember!

Not surprisingly, when I am in the pool, my back pain goes away. I do not know if the pain goes away because I am having such a good time, or if the water alleviates the pressure. Probably both.

Yet another reason to live in the water!

(those childhood fantasies of becoming a mermaid never did quite fade away...)

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


muse said...

refuah shleimah

Is there any warning, besides too good to last?

SquarePeg613 said...

Use your cellphone to remind you to take pain reliever. I set reminders on mine for all kinds of things, and it helps me remember to not burn the cookies or to call my mother on Fridays to wish her a Shabbat Shalom. My son even used it to remind him to work on his book reports. (I was so happy to erase those when he handed the last one in)!

If you don't know how to set reminders on your phone, try your kids. I bet they could figure it out very quickly.