Monday, August 1, 2011

"You want me to do WHAT, myself?"

I'm holding the papers again. Reading them again. As if in the re-reading, they might say something different. Something less painful.

They are prescriptions. One is for two medications, Rimso-50 & Heparin. The second prescription is for the CLSC nurse, and it instructs her to instill the Rimso-50 and Heparin into my bladder as a treatment for interstitial cystitis, using a #16 catheter.

It has occurred to me that being able to read what is written on these papers is remarkable, given it was written by a doctor. Of course it is doctor-scratch, but readable doctor-scratch. Which, I guess if one was groping for positives, is a positive. It enables me to repeatedly read what is written on the papers, which encourages the ridiculous hope that at some point I will read something, anything, other than the fact that these meds have to be put directly into my bladder using a catheter.

I have also been told by a nurse at the medical centre that I will be taught how to do these treatments myself. Oh, joy. Oh, bliss. Oh, excuse me while I vomit.

The date on the papers is July 12th. Yes, I have been stalling. At first, I was at camp and so stalling came naturally. Then I was recovering from camp. That took a whole week. Then, I just didn't want to do it. I promised myself and my poor beleaguered bladder that this week would be IT. My bladder has reacted by flaring. I feel as if the lower half of my body is filled w/razors, and not the dull, dollar store ones, either.

And so, I hold the papers and re-read them and hope in vain that they don't say what I know they do say. I am afraid of having the treatments. I don't want any more pain. When I looked up the details of these medications that are supposed to decrease my pain level, it always disturbs me to find that increased pain is a side effect. I can handle my face puffing up like a birthday balloon, or hands going numb, or my knees turning purple, but more pain? Seriously?

Pain like this makes me feel weak, panicky and fragile. I am usually careful about who I talk to about how I feel in times like this. Inevitably, there will be a perfectly healthy person who wants to tell me how tough they are with pain, how they have dental procedures without anesthetic, how they give birth without happy drugs, how their last kidney stone was passed while squatting beside a hayfield, after which they hopped right back onto the wagon and kept on baling hay.

I have to admit, it takes all the power of God working in me to keep my mouth shut when one of these dear, brave ones comes down with the sniffles and spends 19 minutes of a 20 minute conversation whining about sore throats and red noses.

"Didn't they have any of those tissues with the lotion in them? *cough cough*"


It has been my prayer all along that being chronically ill would make me more compassionate, and that I would be able to see that those who don't understand, who judge harshly in ignorance or arrogance are much worse off that I am. Everyone suffers physically at some point, and compassion prepares us for our own suffering as well as for that of others. Those who have admonished me to "will the pain away", or to trust God more are left discouraged, lost and subject to their own judgment when they are unable to will their own pain away.

Being in pain, especially when it is as intense and sharp as it is now, automatically creates a fear reaction. The body is convinced it is in danger, especially when the pain is visceral. Facing a medical procedure that may increase the pain is a daunting task, at the best of times. I think, by writing this blog post and re-reading the prescriptions sheets, I am giving myself permission to be daunted.

I am, officially, daunted. Which is not to say that I am not going to show up at the front desk of my local CLSC, clutching my well-read prescription sheet, pale, shaky and ready to act a complete fool if only it will cause some compassionate soul to take pity on me and not leave me to do these treatments myself.

The thing is, God and I have been talking about this, and I think He's right. Trusting Him means acknowledging the pain, admitting my fear, and asking Him for courage that is beyond myself. It means choosing to believe that His love is real and active in me, even when my hands are shaking and the very word "catheter" makes me cringe. It means that this entire situation is about more than white lab coats, doctor-scratches, and medicines that may or may not burn. Even if at this very moment, I am not sure what it is all about, God knows. Which is not such a bum deal. Seriously.

No comments:

My Zimbio