I am putting this out to all of my fellow chronic pain sufferers. At what point do you give in to an acute pain before going to have it checked out?
My situation is this. I have been having right flank pain since Wednesday. It started in the back and has worked its way forward – typical of pain I have had many times before relating to kidney stones/gravel/infection. The pain is annoying but I can deal with it (probably 9 on a normal 1 – 10 scale). At the moment I am just augmenting my normal pain regimen with Emtech, a Tylenol 3 clone minus the caffeine. It is the only prescription pain medicine I can take below morphine.
The usual side effect of these medicines is, of course, constipation, which is something I live with as I also suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). This is why I only take extra pain medication when I absolutely need it to get some sleep or the pain really is unbearable. I mention this because this is also the reason I wait as long as possible before going to a doctor (other than my own who is not close and either booked up or away) or the ER. I don’t want to be labeled a drug seeker. Anyone who knows me well knows how far from the truth that is.
I was brought up the daughter and granddaughter of pharmacists. From the time I was 14 and was stocking shelves on Sundays until I went away to university, I worked in my Dad’s store. I learned to respect drugs and saw what they could do to people. Then, with my diagnoses of clinical depression and then bipolar, I learned first hand how they can mess with your mind. I went toxic on Lithium, had a euphoric reaction to a “new” mood stabilizer and became dependant on Xanax for anxiety.
But all of this doesn’t show up on your chart. What does show up is how many times you have been in for unexplained abdominal pain. Often they don’t even do X-rays or CT’s on me anymore. They do blood and urine tests and say there is nothing wrong. Then they send me home with 6 10mg morphine tablets and that is that.
This afternoon I took the last of those morphine tablets so I could get some restful sleep. At the moment I am doing my best to not take any more Emtech in favour of Tylenol Extra-strength. As with everything stronger, it doesn’t touch the pain but can help me get some rest.
I am spending my evening getting laundry done for Hubby as he has his early shift tomorrow. I just received a grocery delivery (it is cheaper to have them delivered in the evening (i.e. between 8 and 10pm) so can now make Hubby’s sandwiches for his lunch. After that, I will finish cleaning up the kitchen and change the kitty litter.
Why am I working so hard when I have intense pain? Why not? If I stopped for every pain I have I would never get anything done. There are enough times when things do NOT get done because I just can’t, that I do what I can when I can. I stop when I need to and take lots of breaks – like this one to try and finish this post! 😉
The other thing I do in these situations is to pray. I don’t often ask for healing but rather for God’s will in the situation, His guidance as to what I should do and strength to be able to handle the pain. I firmly believe that God is the great Healer and as such is the “doctor” I put all my faith into.
So, my question at the beginning is actually a rhetorical one; however, I would like to hear how others handle an acute pain on top of all the chronic pain you have.