When pain strikes

Monday morning just after one waking up doubled over in pain, lower back, lower left abdomen, thinking (foolishly), I must’ve slept wrong, shifting position – no relief. Standing up now, walking, thinking (foolishly) let me just move, loosen up, that’ll fix things- no relief. Lying down again no position working, the pain worsens, the sweat comes and then, no surprise, fear shows up saying, You’re dying, and me thinking in tears that I’m not ready, not yet, and sweat dripping from my face onto the floor which is where I am at this point, on the floor.

If you are waiting for maturity in decision-making to arrive I’d like to tell you it did, right away, but I am wedded to rigorous honesty so it was not until struggling with this pain for close to five hours that I drove myself to the emergency room.

In the E.R. now telling them I am in recovery, sober 11 years plus, so be careful with addictive pain meds but I’d be fine just fine if someone would be so kind as to knock me out with a rubber mallet; I don’t hold grudges. Dammed if they’re not all out of rubber mallets. The examination, the pain ebbing a bit, me wondering what the hell. The doctor talking about the fact the front and back pain started at the same time so he feels maybe muscles are pulled and let’s hold off on a complete work-up so he is prescribing a medication called Tramadol and me in pain asking if it came in the form of that rubber mallet I was asking him about and him saying, No, things haven’t advanced that far. Me thinking, Pity.

I take one pill on the mile drive home. Once home a sudden burst of pain that collapses me to the floor, my t-shirt soaks through, my sweatshirt almost as drenched, my old German Shepherd McKenzie licks the sweat from my face, gently, tending to me, watching over me. On the floor thinking, stand up, stand up. I do. Then, after about five minutes, the pain is gone – all gone. When the pain leaves the following moments give me a taste of heaven on earth.

Since then the pain has come and gone. Less severe each time. Things seem to be improving slowly. I do look back and realize I should’ve gone to the E.R. a lot faster than I did. Perhaps I can find some comfort, or sense of comradery, in one of Mark Twain’s more delicious quotes: “No one is a complete waste; they can always serve as a bad example.”

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