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My book.
"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Narcotics are not fun.

Last night I wanted to write a post but my eye was causing me a lot of trouble. The idea of sitting down and using it consistently to write, then read and edit, just seemed way too difficult. The idea of taking a codeine that late at night, it was around 11 p.m., seemed like a ridiculous thing to do.

I started to think about the way I take the pills. I am only on codeine with tylenol. It does not do a whole lot for me. I think the main reason I take it is so I can feel I have some (false) control as the pain increases. "Don't wait until it gets bad. Take it prophylactically.", I tell others I know who are in pain. Good advice but a very clear example of 'do what I say, not what I do".

It starts. Maybe it will stop soon, I think, and wait as it accelerates. By the time I decide I have no choice, I must take one, there are no longer any brakes to stop it. By the time I 'give in' (which is how I think of it) it is often too late for any help. Then I either give up and do nothing until it subsides, which can sometimes take hours, or take 2 and sometimes 3 pills. It becomes a waiting game: which will go away first, the awful narcotic feeling or the pain?

I hate the pill. I hate the feeling: cloudy, dry mouth, a specific kind of what I call 'codeine headache, but sometimes it does seem to help with the pain.

It is hard for me to know. Maybe it is time, did the pain wear off on it's own? Is it that I have reduced or stopped whatever I was doing that set off the pain in the first place? Because I do not know there is no way I can not have the drug at hand at all times.

I check my pockets and purse before I leave the house. My fingers feel around until I hit the circle that is the pill. "Ah, okay. Now I am ready to go out."

I think of my aloneness and lonliness. If I could find a way to meet people, if I could find a group, some kind of meeting where like minded people go, maybe I could make some friends. The answer is always the same: Looking at all those people, even if only 3, would be too hard.

It is one thing to go to church and choir rehearsal. The trade-off was a given - you want to sing, you have to take the codeine. That's the price you have to say. Fear of the pain and the codeine-itis stops me from doing it elsewhere.

That old line 'Today is the first day of the rest of my life.' needs to be my new mantra.

And the change I need to make, the first one, is agreeing within myself that taking the codeine is not a surrender, is not a failure.

I took one to write this post. A codeine at 10 in the morning? I can't do that. That was my thought. The new one I hope to keep: "A codeine at 10 in the morning? Yeah, sure, if I want to write this post, if I want to work to expand my life."

I let the pain shrink my life. There is nothing I can do to fix the pain.
The medication is a chance to expand it a little more. Let's see what happens.


  1. Jackie writes:

    Carol, about how hard to is to make/meet friends when one lives in chronic pain?

    What about if you and some of your trusted internet friends got together over Skype? You could take some steps to maintain your privacy so nobody turns up at your house -- which could be a topic for discussion all by itself -- but be able to "meet" -- and converse -- with like souls whenever you both/all wanted to.


  2. Thats a good idea Jackie but for me, I have the support website (although it is unfortunately not a real active site) and have done other websites where I have made 'friends'. For me the problem is not having someone here in front of me that I can call to go out for a cup of coffee or whatever. My one friend moved, we used to go out everyday and even though it was often a problem for me it was wonderful having someone you can see, hear, and touch.
    That is a great topic, the safety of meeting these folk.