Night on the Rack

Sleep is supposed to be restorative, or so we are taught.

Last night proved anything but.  I lost count of the awakenings occasioned by the loud complaints of various joints and their wounds. 

At 0230 I arose and rummaged through my bandage box, half asleep but unable to finish the job because of the excruciating hypersensitivity of the skin overlying the destruction in my wrist.  It feels like a remake of the RSD from 30 years ago…can that be?  I don’t know, but it is so stupidly sensitive that the mere touch of my well-padded wrist brace feels like liquid fire.  That’s what RSD feels like.

In between excursions to the bathroom and to the bandage box for a piece of biogel to put over my wrist bone, my night was spent in my mind’s idea of a torture chamber.

The scene:  I am conscious that I have been brought to this torture chamber to be “interrogated.”  I have no idea why.  The torturer is probing my mind for vulnerabilities.  At the same time, I am probing my mind for strengths and strategies for survival of what looks to be a prolonged ordeal.  I have no facts to give up, no-one to betray except my own autonomy.  

For that’s what’s at stake, isn’t it?  That’s the thing we, or I for one, most fear losing: autonomy, self-determination.  Aside from mobility and self-expression, that’s what I stand to lose from prolonged torture.

He is sizing me up.  He’s making pleasantries.  I play along, playing for time.  I know he knows that’s what I’m doing.  “Just doing his job,” that’s all.  I ask about his family.  He laughs.  

He wants to know which kind of pain I fear most.  What??  Does he think I’m actually going to answer that…correctly?  Surely, if I say “burning,” he’s going to burn me?!  But wait, if I say “burning,” he’ll know that I’m trying to deflect…no. I’ll say “all kinds.”  I fear all kinds of pain!

He laughs again.

Maybe, he muses, what we need to do, in order to properly sort this, is to try…a sampler.  That way we can explore a variety of stimuli, to see what works best for you.  Pain is such an individual thing, you know…

I’m awake again.  The sky is growing faintly pale.  I decide to get up and enjoy the coolth of the dawn morning.  It’s going to be another blazing day in Paradise.

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  1. Oh Hun, I feel for you. I know what RSD/CRPS is like. Been there all too often. Hope it’s not and it’s just irritation from the brace that is causing the burning sensation. One can hope, right? Gentle hugs my dear friend.

    • Thanks, G. I been dealing with this since 1987. Got it post a very traumatic C5-6 discectomy. Brachial plexus injury. Right at the beginning of my internship. I had to go back to working 120 hrs/wk, zero pain treatment of any kind. Yep.

      • Yikes!! I don’t know how you dealt with it without meds of any kind. I know treatment wasn’t great back then but damn. No offense but I wonder if that has contributed to physician suicide

        • Well, the sleep deprivation far exceeds the international antitorture commission’s threshold of >24 hours (actually I think it’s 22 hours), just for comparison’s sake. I’m very sure that much of the physician excess mortality from suicide and heart disease alone can be chalked up to chronic long-term sleep deprivation. I used to joke that if not for the fact that I didn’t have time, and that the department couldn’t spare me for my funeral, I’d certainly kill myself!

          In my own particular case, pain meds don’t do much for nerve and RDS pain. Everybody’s different. I’m kind of glad, because at least I don’t have to deal with the constant anxiety of losing access to meds, know what I mean?

  2. I can certainly sympathize with painsomnia. Do lidocain patches help at all? My pain doc gave me those for TN and nerve pain in my arms.

  3. it is indeed terryifying. i don’t know what i would do.

  4. Oh my. I just hope it stops soon… it does stop at times, right? I can’t begin to understand it, but you surely described it pretty horrifically 😱😨

    • It’ll stop, all right….when I do.

      Glad I was able to “give it over” so you felt it for a moment 👿….

      Now it’s about a certain groundhog. Punxsutawney Phil has clearly never been to visit the Sonoran Desert. It’s already over 90°F in the daytime, Phil, and I understand that not too awful far away, it’s colder than Hell and snowing tornados.

      How’s things in the howling North?

      • I’d love to switch places with you… weather wise only 😉
        Since we got some 60* temps last February, Mother Nature feels the need to blast us with some winter now. 😲 It’s snowing now. Not a lot. However, then she’ll que the wind. Nothing goes through you like a Midwestern wind!
        Actually… I don’t mind it sort of. My landscape clients get antsy for us to get out there if it stays nice. I’m still taking Fridays off… if the weather stays nice… I’ll have to return to working them. 😝

        • Back in the day, I was walking down some Hyde Park street and a gust of wind picked me up and threw me into a building! I was a few pounds lighter then, but still 😉

          Enjoy the blustery Midwest pre-Spring! I love the moods of Lake Michigan, the shadows of the racing clouds

          • Yup! That wind would have carried you farther if the building wasn’t in the way 😥
            Today, we’re enjoying some lake effect snow… luckily only about a total of 8″ here. Yeah. 😛 Not like N.E., thank goodness.

  5. You left a comment on my blog in May, 2016. I just stumbled across it and decided to see who you are. Wow! What a blog you have. I’m sorry to read about your pain. It’s amazing how much suffering humans are willing to put up with. Is it the will to survive or our fear of death that keeps us going? Maybe those two are the same thing.

    • That is very well put: drive to survive, fear of the unknown….both, I guess. I’ve grown a new respect for the killing anguish that must precede suicide. Pain that eclipses the body’s fanatic will to go on living in the face of the most dire agonies must be extreme indeed.

  6. Chronic pain sucks. Period.


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