Wednesday, 4 February 2015
I've lived with chronic pain, off and on, for my entire life. It's a difficult thing because it often comes and goes with no warning or rational reason, so there is no way I can plan for the good days or avoid triggering the bad ones. Some days I can do everything I need to and be fine. Some days I can even get extra things done. Some days I can barely leave my bed. Today is quickly becoming one of the latter days. It began like every other good day I've had lately - better even, because I slept well last night. My husband and I stayed in bed far longer than we should have - work schedules be damned - before getting our daughter up. Today was a good day because my daughter woke up with a smile that cut through the early-morning darkness like the beam from a lighthouse on a stormy night. We laughed and talked and hugged. I brushed her hair and she brushed mine. She brushed her teeth with the kind of determination and pride that only a three year old can have about oral hygiene. I pulled her to her daycare on my bike, my legs powering us both up the big hill that separates our house from the building where she spends her days learning and playing and pretending to be Optimus Prime. She gave me hugs and kisses before running off to show everyone her favourite shirt: the grey one with the seahorses on it. I came to work happy. Today was a good day. Today is a good day. The pain started just before my first break. Maybe I sat down too long without getting up. Maybe I stretched in the wrong way to answer the phone. The doors are heavy here - I've pulled my shoulder out before opening them too quickly. But whatever caused it, it was here, insisting I recognize it. Pain is the annoying family member that descends upon your house with enormous suitcases and no warning at the most inopportune time then runs you ragged with its incessant demands. It will leave, eventually, on its own schedule, but not until you are bone tired and bleary from catering to its whims. I dragged myself on a walk around the hospital on my lunch break, hoping exercise would chase away my pain. Instead, it simply made things worse, and what started as a brisk trot became a zombie shuffle. My body barely allowed me to drag it back to my desk, and though it had hated walking, it hated sitting even more, and reminded me of this fact unceasingly. I spent my last coffee break in the easy chair at work, reclining until I was completely horizontal, turning up the heat and massage functions and trying to ignore the pain and lose myself in Metro 2033, the book I'm currently reading. My pain grudgingly relented a little, transmogrifying into low-grade nausea. I am going to make it home. I am going to get on my bike and I am going to ride to my daughter's daycare where I will pick her up and somehow I will get her home. Maybe I will have to stay in bed the rest of the evening. Maybe I will not be able to work tomorrow. Maybe I will be fine, and feel renewed energy, triumphant at having sent pain packing. Perhaps one day I can be friends with pain and welcome it gently rather than running from it and fighting it with all of my strength. Perhaps one day I won't remember what a day of pain was like.