I missed the Creative Non-Fiction seminar yesterday due to breakthrough pain. This is pain that somehow gets through all the training, all the routines, all the distraction and all the painkillers. For anyone suffering Chronic Pain it is a frustrating phenomenon that has to be accepted and dealt with to make sure it is kept to the minimum. If the breakthrough pain is not brought under control you find yourself falling back into permanent, uncontrolled pain.
That control is not easy to reassert.
In my case it means swallowing my pride, reaching for the more powerful opioids and making sure that all the relaxation, meditation and transference exercises are brought to the fore. Whilst some rest is really useful to let the worst of the pain die down and the analgesics take effect, over the course of the day resting becomes both exhausting and ineffective: exhausting because I have to focus on the exercises all the time; ineffective because that focus is impossible to keep up for very long.
So what to do?
I was struck recently at how slow progress on First Drop was, but then realised that I’d been thrown by a number of other, smaller projects, restarting the MA (which takes me a lot of time) and playing about with Pregabalin.
On the upside, the projects have been useful and fun, ranging from writing (lots – and various), attending the local Marlborough Literary Festival (whilst the content of which was excellent, it was a show I found disability-hostile in the extreme, even being shouted at by one organiser who obviously didn’t give a monkeys about disabled people and stability on stairs), attending the monthly Hampshire Writer’s Society meetings at Winchester University (they have some really interesting guest speakers) and a Writing Group at Salisbury Library (Mondays, 10:15), and reading (also a fair bit, including attending a local reading group at Salisbury Library).
I recently saw this report on a blood test for depression in one of my science feeds. What many may not know is that severe depression is an often accompaniment to Chronic Pain, in all its forms, as dealing with the pain can be exhausting.
Why is this so important, then?
Simply because it pushes back against the taboo surrounding depression, it finally says: ‘depression is a real illness, not fake’. For many, depression doesn’t exist as an illness, its just someone’s attitude of mind, laziness or someone being ‘weak’. With a blood test, depression becomes a disease or infection like anything else. What’s more, the blood test reveals the probably severity of depression and gives some idea of the best way to handle it.
All of which adds up to a fantastic breakthrough. I hope it is available soon.
Curious things, banks. I’ve had a tremendous amount of trouble setting up a Business bank account. So much so that I finally sent a letter saying something along the lines of ‘I give up – it’s now taken over three months and you’ve not bothered to get in touch, process my application or treat me seriously’. I’ve thought of running through the FSA, already, and raising the issue publically to highlight the problems peeps like myself can face.
So, here is a tale of frustration in setting up an account. Sure, it may be ranting in nature, but the details are correct…
The pregabalin experiment continues: I’ve switched from 300mg 2pd (twice per day) to 200mg 3pd (which kept me in a more-or-less permanent hazy state in which I injured my foot), then to 100-100-200mg (which ended being ineffective BUT which gave me considerably more acuity). With the 200’s, I’m now wondering if I didn’t fail with my reviews last term due to being on pregabalin.
I’m now on 150mg 3pd as an experiment. I’m not sure they’re working, either, but it may be too early to tell. I’ll keep those interested up to date.
On the kitchen bench, though, things have been going apace….
For a while I’ve been quiet about pain management. One reason is simple: I’ve been largely out of pain! The state of ‘out being in pain’ is addictive, though, such a relief that it dominates the senses by its absence. It’s a beautiful sensation.
It’s worth saying that again: being pain-free is addictive.
But there is a another, more sinister reason for not mentioning pain management: I haven’t been able to. All my focus has had to have been on what I’m doing, what I’m developing because, despite the lack of pain, I’m as incapacitaed as before. I have had to carefully choose what I am doing and when I do it. The focus on the current book and the occasional short story has had to be paramount which has meant a great deal of peripheral writing has had to be put on the shelf.
Why? It’s the side effects of the medication. I’ve been taking Pregabalin, a progression of gabapentin that, theoretically, has less side effects. The intent of the drug is to suppress some nerve impulses to manage peripheral chronic pain (like mine – neurogenic pain rather than ideopathic chronic pain). To be fair, pregabalin has had less side effects than gabapentin. The latter reduced me to what can literally be called a dribbling idiot, a walking zombie who could barely talk, who caromed from wall to wall and door frame to door frame, never made sense and who never know where it was.
It’s no fun being such a zombie.