Breasts, Testicles, Prostates, Men, Women, Pain, Politics

OK, I didn’t have a good title for this post. That one got copied right into the tags field. Trolling for traffic? You betcha.

One of the bad things following the passage of Obamacare and Sarah Palin’s invocation of “death panels” is that now it’s considered necessary by some (certainly not all) conservatives and libertarians to automatically assume that any research finding that might also reduce costs is automatically some variant of “rationing” or on the slippery slope to a “death panel”.

To wit — this one by Althouse, linked last week by Instapundit following a link to Dr. Helen’s rather innocuous post on rates of prostate screenings.

No matter how I look at it, I can’t see the relationship between the rates of prostate screening, pain research, pap smears, expense, fairness, and the Buffett-rule that Glenn Reynolds apparently finds obvious. So now I’m wondering about him falling for or into mere drama where anything can be taken to be “rationing”. Or a precursor of a “death panel”.

Is stretching an idea, meme, partisan point, etc., to the breaking point the same as jumping the shark? If not, it should be!

If Only It Were Just A Pain In The Ass

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I caught a cold and it morphed into a sinus infection and bronchitis and I got drugs to make the trip to S. Carolina possible.

What I got was pack of methylprednisone. I knew it wasn’t a cure, but I also knew it would help stop the spiral of the bronchitis coughing (I had bronchitis really really bad several years ago and the coughing seems to be partly due to inflammation… caused by coughing!)

And I knew it would make me feel better. That along with a nasal spray to help drain my sinuses would make the trip possible.

What I didn’t expect was how good I felt by the 2nd day on the methylprednisone. I had an energy level I hadn’t experienced in maybe 10 years and my body ceased to hurt everywhere. I realized that I’d forgotten what a pain free day felt like.

In addition to some fairly severe injuries to knees and ankles (no one ever accused me of being graceful) during youth and as a young adult, I am also dealing with the family tendency toward severe osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel (from hand-sewing more than keyboard use), ulnar nerve entrapment in both elbows, odd little irritants possibly due to a meningioma, and the general physical insults of aging.

None of these things are really serious. I’m actually quite healthy and would be more so if moving were not literally such a pain everywhere but in the ass. I generally do OK with acetaminophen and/or naproxen.

Or so I thought. I realize now that I’ve learned to accept a certain level of pain as “normal”.  In a way, I hate the reminder of what pain free feels like though I enjoyed it immensely.

I had a bit of a rebound effect from the steroid. This past Friday and Saturday were horrible. I took all the acetaminophen and naproxen I thought was safe and it didn’t make a dent in the whole body (excepting the ass) pain.

That’s over and I’m back to my normally accepted level of pain now… but I remember fondly my pain free week.

Complaining About ___ (fill in the blank)

Yeah, I’m not in the mood to write anything uplifting or illuminating or even entertaining.

Today I just want to complain.

My left shoulder hurts. There’s no reason it should hurt. It’s not like I’ve been engaged in any athletic activities that would promote this, unless you include sleeping as an athletic activity.

And… the tremor in both my hands has not lessened noticeably since I’ve been off Lexapro for five days. Nothing else has changed much either except that it’s been easier for me to *twist* my knees. I will be walking what I think is straight, when suddenly one of my knees will decide it wants to go left or right. This is sudden, excruciatingly painful for a moment and sore for an hour or so.

But, back to the tremor. It’s been diagnosed as an “essential” tremor, which means that essentially the cause is unknown. Discontinuing the Lexapro was my own idea… and it’s part of my idea of discontinuing all medications that do not have a proven effect. I’m staying on my blood pressure medicine and on Singulair. I’ve tried going off Singulair before, but I disliked waking up with my eyes swollen shut.

I’m also not liking what is a recent (within the past year) sensitivity to noise. I react to a slamming door almost as if it were a gun discharging.

But most of all, I’m tired of pain. Sitting, standing, prone in bed… there is not position that most of my body is not in pain of varying intensity. The worst is in my neck, shoulders, and upper back. Even when I’ve had surgery on lower parts of my body, the pain relievers given didn’t ease the aches in these areas.

Whether there is a diagnosis or not… the pain is here and nothing (not even opiods) helps long-term. I’ll live with it.

But… this tremor thing. That bothers me. It’s been bad enough a few times that I can’t type. I thought I was hiding this symptom (of whatever) quite well until relatives asked me… why is your hand shaking like that. Frankly, I hid this from myself so well, I wondered why they asked. I would reply “What shaking?”

The fact that I can put aside this pain to do what I must do… or what I truly want to do (hold a newborn grandchild in my arms without moving for an hour) leads me to think this pain is all in my brain.

Yet my brain is not that weak. When I push myself to a level of physical activity that my body does not like, it punishes me for a day or two with extra pain. When I will myself and muscles to hold my grandchildren, my body seems to find a few extra natural pain relievers.

Please remember that I’m complaining here…  Complaints are not necessarily meant to be alleviated, merely acknowledged. And, as far as cradling my infant grandchildren in my arms, no amount of muscle pain could possibly overwhelm the joy. In fact, there’s something emanating from the infant that mitigates whatever pain might be there… perhaps if we could bottle the joy, comfort, exhilaration, and awe that pours off a cuddled and happy infant we’d solve all the world’s problems.

All I ask is acknowledgement of the pain. I really don’t want sympathy. But I don’t want to be judged as wimpy or lazy when I must rest for a while.

And thus ends this complaint.