Waking Dream and Waking
There's been a strange confluence of events. Somewhere between a recent steroid shot (which the Humira needs in order to have the possibility of kicking my state of ability and health past OK), several days worth of massive painkillers due to a seating issue and, I suspect, warmer weather (no drafts = less muscle clench!), sometime this week, I reached a point where I couldn't tolerate painkillers anymore. It's happened as long as I can remember - every now and again, I need to go into "detox" and not take medication for as long as I can. It's as if the painkillers build up in my body and at a certain point, the levels become too high and when I stop taking them, what's already in my body can take me however long the detox time needs to be. In the past, it could be a week, 10 days, two weeks. These days, it's significantly less, but still, it's a sort of reset button in terms of being able to get the same effect for a much lower dose of whatever drug turns your crank.
And the last couple of days have been really rather fabulous. Very low pain levels (of course, now that I’ve posted this, tomorrow will be a pit of hell, because the universe is nothing if not perverse). Going to bed is a completely new experience - lying down feels restful. Yes, I register that there is pain, but it's not the pain that comes from forcing your body from the locked-in seated position to stretched out; instead, it is an embrace of the bed. Comfortable, even.
I'd forgotten what it's like to fall asleep because I'm naturally tired instead of knocking myself senseless with a combination of Tylenol and muscle relaxants, shutting up the pain enough to be able to pass out and sleep like the dead. An indication of how different the quality of sleep is this: ever since she was a kitten, Mojo has liked to say hi, have a cuddle sometimes during the night. Normally, she announces her presence by sitting next to my head and purring, occasionally, if warranted, softly tapping my cheek with her paw. During the last two months especially, after the accursed injury, it has been necessary for her to position herself on my chest in order to get my attention (which has made me think of the superstition of cats stealing the breath of sleepers. I can see how that came about). When that didn’t work, she’d sit up, her bum firmly planted on my lower abdomen and wiggle a bit and let me tell you, 11lbs. of cat on your bladder is quite capable of penetrating the sedation. But two nights ago, she woke me by sitting next to my head and purring. And waking up is different, too - instead of stumbling around in a haze, feeling half unconscious, I wake up to a delicious stretch, feeling rested and alert. Well, as alert as I'll ever get in the morning...
But what I love most of all about this is that I got my brain back. It's been there, but hidden in a thick fog of of pain and medication. Accessible, sure, but taking twice as long to get to. The word nimble definitely did not apply. It’s been more like wandering around in a dream, nothing quite sticking, necessitating the writing of countless Post-Its and plastering them about the place. Something I’ve done for a while, as fibromyalgia taught me an in-depth lesson about being in a fog, but lately, it’s been peasoup. Once, I asked my doctor how we’d ever know if I got Alzheimer’s. She seemed sure she’d be able to tell the difference between a crap memory based in pain and meds and one based in plaques in the brain. I choose to believe her.
Since my detox began, I've been more productive than I’ve been in months (to the point where I should probably sit still for a bit, as I'd like to think I've learned - HA! - from last time) and in the past few days alone, have had vigorous discussions regarding various human needs from a historical point of view and their impact on the domestication of animals such as dogs, horses and cats, discussions about nuclear power, overfishing, the erosion of civil liberties and the origin of the word misogyny. It's fantastic. I haven't had this much fun in ages.
Painkillers are great. Being able to think again is even better.
Before you go, be sure to read Ken's musings on wheelchairs as tools, the Olympic Games and integration. It's brilliant. Ken told me the story of the mall the first time we met and it was at that moment I knew I wanted him in my life. Dude thinks outside the box.
On another note, I've been trying to find out exactly why wheelchair racing was eliminated as a demonstration sport at the Games by Chinese organizers and have found nothing. Anyone know why? Y'know, other than random crushing of dreams...