Well, here we are almost halfway through the summer and I am learning enormous new things about pain. The thing about systemic exertion intolerance disease, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, and unstable severe obstructive sleep apnea—all of which I have—is that, while they are all an almighty pain in the neck and seriously compromise my quality of life, none actually hurt. Imagine if only one—or even all four—caused pain. That would be awful, wouldn’t it? I often have thanked God for withholding chronic pain from my scenario.
Well, maybe God got fed up with me because, about three weeks ago, he visited some middle-of-the-night pain on me. Discomfort in my hips and/or legs. I ignored it. Did I, in fact, have the audacity to ignore a message from God? I don’t know, but it got worse so I consulted with my chiropractor.
The pain was now clearly located in my right hip and the chiropractor and I agreed that it was probably a touch of arthritis, so I took some aspirin and he loaned me his LED lights for three nights. Neither did much to relieve the pain, particularly during the night, so on Thursday I got acupuncture, a lumbar x-ray, and blood work. That relieved the pain for one night, which is often what acupuncture does.
Friday night I again woke in pain—really, really bad pain. Nobody would go with me to the Emergency Room (ER) and I couldn’t get the ambulance company I wanted, but what are you going to do? Pain hurts. I hung in there for a couple of hours but I couldn’t stand it, so off I went to the ER where x-rays of my hip showed that I had both arthritis and sciatica. For those of you who never have met sciatica, here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it:
“Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You may feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.
“The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. It may be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.
“Some people also experience numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You may have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another.”
So, in the ER, despite my history of being allergic to all medications, I got an injection of something like Ibuprofen and slept for about an hour without my auto BiPAP, which surprised me because I didn’t think I could sleep without it. When I woke up, my first thought was “Hey, maybe I can tolerate medications now.”
For a year I’ve been treating with homeopaths who prescribed a remedy, but still maintained that my immune system was so messed up (mostly from taking antidepressants for 26 years) that I could not tolerate any drugs, yet here I was not only taking a medication but benefitting from it. So what’s up with that? There is no book on how to treat systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) and there is no literature on what damage is or is not done to the system after taking antidepressants for 26 years. Actually, there is literature on the acute withdrawal phase from antidepressants but there is no data or research on what the residual damage is after you’ve been off antidepressants for 14 years.
So what if my immune system has recovered enough that I can take meds? I decide to try it and go home with a prescription for ibuprofen, 600 mg. every six hours. The next day I feel kinda sorta better, maybe a little bit.
I take my last daily dose of ibuprofen at 11:30 Sunday night and go to sleep. And two hours later I wake up in the aforementioned really, really bad pain. How can the Mayo Clinic call it “excruciating discomfort,” which means “intensely painful lack of physical comfort?” Isn’t that like having really hot ice cream . . . ?