Monday, January 5, 2009
Making Pain Go Away
Here's a word I never used in the before time -- titration. I knew its meaning, but it had no function in my pre-illness life. I didn't titrate how many eggs to put in a cheese omlette or how many gallons of gas I needed to make the drive from San Francisco to Mt. View. I just broke eggs and filled the tank.
For the past three weeks my attention has been riveted on titration. Determining how much to go up on which meds at what time intervals to get my pain back in control has been my mission. In the ole days, my mission might have included helping others. But pain makes its own decisions, and I become its loyal soldier. I follow where it leads, head down, tail tucked.
So I make an adjustment to the medication regimen and like a hawk scanning for prey, I scrutinize the meridians of my body for any evidence that this new combination of meds is reducing the ripples of pain. The outside world ceases to exist.
My pain specialist does guide me. But she also reminds me that pain is individual, and I just have to keep titrating until the cocktail works.
There's that word again. Titration. It has come to have a mythic quality about it.
I just want a recipe.
Richard, my voice of reason, reminds me that I will keep trying and I will get better - in a few days, maybe weeks - but not years, not like before. I try to hear him, but often I just can't. Pain is louder.
But I keep titrating. Two pills twice a day. Then three pills two times a day. Scan for a reduction in pain blips. No. OK then. Three pills three times a day. That's my limit. Not because I get impaired by side effects. Luckliy, I have none. But more meds than that and I cross some arbitrary line that exists only in my mind. The too-many-pills line.
Pain and I eventually come to an agreement. This level of medication for my life back.
I take the deal. Gratefully