June 13th, 2008

summer reading

Day of Whining, Part Deux

That title's what I'd call "fair warning", i.e., you might want to skip all that follows which is the product of a drug- and pain-addled mind.

The sciatica pain marches on. As I'm allergic to over-the-counter treatments to help reduce the inflammation, my options for pain management are limited. I have one of those Empi machines which (counter-intuitively) provides stimulation to the nerves to affect relief. It has varying rates of success for me; when it does work it can dial the pain from a 10 down to a 7 or 8. Not ideal, obviously, but at least it's something.

I couldn't sleep Wednesday night for the pain, so last night I took 1/2 of a muscle relaxer my doctor prescribed the last time I went through this (knowing it doesn't do anything but help me relax, it does nothing to treat the actual problem) plus 1/2 of a sleeping pill. Amazingly, it didn't knock me out right away. Rather, a sort of drift effect came on where I could still feel the pain, but it was like something happening over there, at enough of a distance that I could relax into sleep. I woke up a few times in the middle of the night, told myself to ignore the pain, then awoke this morning at my usual time.

The pain was even worse this morning than yesterday. I don't know if this would have happened had I not slept last night (meaning, if I'd taken care all night long not to put myself into the particular positions that really irritates the nerves), but whatever the reason, here it is. I marveled as I got ready for work that I didn't feel that drugged out feeling I usually feel when I take that muscle relaxer.

I knew I couldn't even make the walk from the park-and-ride to the bus, then subsequently from the bus to my desk, so decided I'd have to suffer the pain of paying for gas and parking and drive to work. Then the question became, can I even drive? Turns out I can, though it isn't pretty.

I did some quick and dirty googling this morning for herbal anti-inflammatory relief. There are a few things I can experiment with, so I'll give them a try. I stopped at Whole Foods on my way to work, hobbled to the herbal remedy section, and luckily happened upon someone stocking the shelves as I wandered into the section, marveling at all of the bottles I'd never seen before. She directed me to some dissolvable St. John's Wort pellets ("pellets" makes me think of animals at the zoo and I giggle at the thought that I'm ingesting pellets, but that really is the best word for them) that I took with my morning tea.

Now that I've been awake a few hours, that drugged-out feeling has come upon me that I was surprised I didn't feel earlier. It's a good thing my job involves sitting down because the combination of pain + drugs certainly doesn't make me feel like physical activity would be a good idea. I'm in mourning over the realization that this will mean missing my Saturday morning work out, which I need for stress relief in the worst way. If not for the fact that I'm climbing the sheerest of cliffs at work, desperately trying to gain some ground, I'd be home in bed alternating between the muscle relaxers, the St. John's Wort, the Empi, and sleep. But all this HAS to be done, so here I am.


Now that I've had another cup of tea and taken my mind off work for a few minutes, I feel a little more clear in my head and *almost* ready to tackle a piece of this project I'm really not looking forward to doing. We used to have another person to do this as well as a few other things I'm doing for the first time this year; to say I miss having her do them would be an understatement.