It’s been 7 months since I’ve taken Tramadol for my pain. Surviving daily off Motrin, I got into a good pattern of preventative pain medicating with it, each day to keep the pain from flaring. Last week, I had a severe episode of food poisoning that triggered new gut pain and added to too much sitting, suddenly I find myself with the worst flare-up I’ve had in months.
Of course it’s depressing, but at this point, I’m lucky my daughter is old enough that I can take some decent pain meds (still not the narcotics I refused since she was born, but at least strong enough to take the edge off) and still function. Somehow after nearly 6 years of this pain plus another 3 previously and 3 more from another injury, my brain has digested the lesson that flare-ups are a normal part of recovery. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it, but I’m less sad about it.
Part of the fault is my own for attempting to eat too many rich foods this week and for going out and trying to act like I’ve got a normal person’s body – sitting, driving, etc… There’s a fine line between a “never give up” attitude, i.e. always optimistic that I’m getting better, always trying to get to the point of living a pseudo-normal life and admitting that I still need ample rest. The other recent dilemma was the semi-annual childcare debate I go through. How much do I need? Is my daughter old enough that I can cut some of it down yet? She’s starting kindergarten. Can’t I get rid of the regular babysitter yet? Answers: Lots. Sort-of. No. (In my case, that goes back to the sitting and driving, as it does I know with other friends of mine with health concerns – particularly the driving issue.)
So while I may have gotten the lesson through to myself that setbacks are a normal part of the process, I’m still putting too much pressure on myself to perform. Performing could just mean showing up at my daughter’s class each week or it could mean making it to a meeting I really think I should attend. People certainly understand when I explain the situation, but I still regret I can’t be there. I still spend a lot of time reminding myself how lucky I am to have some resources to pay for additional help – even though we did have to sell our house in order to be in that situation. So many women and children are worse off – both here in the U.S. and in other countries.
I digress, likely partly because of sleep deprivation and the medication kicking in and blurring my thoughts, but the lesson here for anyone who’s still reading is that when you have an injury or disability of whatever sort, and there are weeks where it seems worse – and often IS worse – try not to dwell on it. Sometimes you need to let out the frustration. I’ve certainly done my share of that. But sometimes you just need rest more than anything else. Time to heal. Time to take the stress off yourself to help your body heal or at least revive what it can. And remember – setbacks also present an opportunity to ponder what else you can do better to prevent the next one, or at least delay it as long as possible.