Anything to Stop the Pain: Chronic Illness and Addiction

15 Jun

Prescription drug addiction is the fastest growing addiction in America, and is being described as an epidemic. Those with chronic pain are at increased risk.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while, because I think it is important, but have struggled with the best way to handle it as addiction is often viewed shamefully by our society.  But the reality is, prescription pill addition is an important part of my Lyme story, and I’m sure a chapter in the story of many who live with chronic pain and illness. The statistics prove that it is.  According to a 2009 article published in Pain Management by Moore, et al. , 24% of patients with chronic back pain were addicted to their prescription pain pills.  That’s just those with back pain.  I have to imagine that those suffering from all over chronic pain like that experienced by those with chronic Lyme disease, have a similar rate of addiction to these medications.  Another meta-analysis of literature written between 1987 and 2008 found that up to 55% of patients seeking treatment in a methadone clinic fit a clinical diagnosis of chronic pain.  On top of that, between 1999 and 2002, prescriptions of addictive pain killers markedly increased: morphine 73%, hydromorphone 96%, fentayl 226%, and oxycodone 403%.38 (Clark, Stoller, and Brooner, 2008).  Those medications are going somewhere, and a lot of them are going to patients like us.

That said, even after much Googling, I have never been able to find a blog post or article addressing chronic Lyme disease, or chronic illness period, and prescription drug abuse and addiction.  I would like to take this opportunity to change that.

To come out and be blunt, I’m a recovering addict, addicted to the prescription pills prescribed to me to relieve my seemingly impenetrable Lyme symptoms.  Some of my worst Lyme symptoms came in the form of pain, insomnia, and anxiety, (Luckily, since the insertion of my PICC line, I have had had almost no pain symptoms, and I find my insomnia and anxiety much reduced, but that’s for another post).  Becoming addicted was never part of my plan, never something I saw happening to me.  Upon experiencing these symptoms, which dragged on for years, I did not rush into my doctor’s office foaming at the mouth and demand pills that I immediately poured down my throat in a frenzy. I did not hold up a pharmacy.  In fact, it started very innocently. I took ibuprofen for the pain, melatonin for the insomnia, and tried to manage my anxiety as well as I could on my own.  However, at some point, those methods ceased to provide relief, and the symptoms made life too difficult to endure without help.

So, I slowly built an arsenal of prescription drugs, which I won’t specifically name here because the names aren’t important.  Pills for pain, pills for sleep, pills for anxiety.  They worked a lot better than trying to deal with my symptoms on my own.  And for a long time, I didn’t abuse them.  I took them as prescribed, and I took them as sparingly as possible.  While still difficult, life became slightly more manageable.

However, there’s a twist in my story. I had struggled with alcohol in my early twenties, and attended Alcoholics Anonymous for a few years.  While I had gotten away from the program, I had managed to maintain my sobriety, and because of that, it never crossed my mind that taking controlled and addictive substances would be a problem.  I had taken them at different points in the past for short periods with seemingly no ramifications, and thought that this would be no different.  However, I began incorporating these medications into my treatment regiment to maintain something resembling a life for months and months on end.

Life went on.   I got physically better, and began to rebuild my social calendar.  While nothing short of a small miracle which I was most grateful for, it also made life more stressful.  I went out, I went dancing, I dated. And I was around a lot of alcohol. Alcohol drunk by people my age.  People who were having fun, people who were enjoying life, people who seemed to be alright.  I convinced myself that I could be one of those people.  I had a drink.  And nothing bad happened.  The sky didn’t fall, I didn’t black out, and I could stop after a few.  No problem. See, I didn’t have an alcohol problem, I was just young before and made some poor choices.  I kept drinking socially throughout the summer.  I went out to bars with friends, to wine tastings with family.  I was social, I was sophisticated, I was a normal 25 year old.

Then I started graduate school, and my world flipped upside down. Stress from the workload was an understatement. Emotional upheaval from the amount of introspection my program requires doesn’t even cover it.  Other life situations added an unhealthy dose of distress.  And to top it all off, my Lyme symptoms were returning, leaving me living in dread of returning to the experiences of the past year.  I was drowning in fear and anxiety, and eventually depression. What is a girl to do? Luckily, I found a few glasses of wine while I wrote my papers calmed my brain enough to enable me to write coherent thoughts.  And increasing my pill intake helped me make it through the day, and annihilated the thoughts in my head at night so that I could sleep, not that I ever really ”rested’.  So, it’s pretty easy to see how this snowballed into not being able to make it through the day without drinking and taking a steady amount of pills, first separately, and eventually together.  I wasn’t trying to hurt myself, or anyone else, just make it through the day so I could achieve my goals and meet the expectations I had laid out for myself.  So I could maintain a life I was so desperate to hold on to, while living with a chronic illness.

In the late fall, I recognized and admitted to myself and my family that there was a problem.  It was difficult, really difficult. I was handing over the crutches that allowed me to at least appear like a normal person.  However, while maybe from very far away the appearance looked good, to those closer to me, it was evident something was wrong.  And more importantly, underneath the mask was pure chaos.  I was so anxious and hypervigilant, paranoid that I’d lose everything because I knew I was holding it together by a thread.  Life was miserable.  Owning up to that was one of the best things I have ever done, because it has given me the freedom to make change for myself.

My path to recovery is simply my path, if you’re struggling with substance abuse it may not be yours, and that’s ok.  I returned to AA where I got a sponsor and am working through the 12 steps, sometimes garnering curious stares from those who see me running my IV treatment for the first time, but where each day is bringing me closer to the peace I was so desperate to maintain the facade of through the use of substances.  But the real thing is so much better.  Over my winter break, I attended an outpatient rehab program, which did help jump start my recovery.  Again, this is simply my experience, it may not work for everyone.

Today, I am a few days shy of seven months of sobriety.  It has been certainly a tumultuous experience at times, but also one of great introspection where I am learning to find peace and acceptance, not just in my inability to safely use substances, but in all aspects of my life, including my Lyme Disease.  I will pay this more attention in a future post.

I chose to write this, because as I stated, this is another aspect of chronic illness that has the power to kill, and no one is addressing it. I suspect because it’s viewed as being uncomfortable and shameful.  But addiction is not a moral issue, it’s simply another chronic illness (Ficara, 2010).  As stated many times in AA, “We (Alcoholics and addicts) are not bad people trying to be good, we’re sick people trying to get well”  It’s no different than having Lyme disease, and should not be treated like it is .  So if I truly believe this is not a moral issue, and there’s no shame in it, then I need to lay my cards on the table. Here they are. I’m Anna. I’m an alcoholic and an addict and I’m living with Lyme disease.  I’m recovering, day by day, from all three.  And life is the most peaceful it’s been in years.Not because my problems are fixed, but because I’m able today to be honest about what’s going on with me, and I’m learning to accept it.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, whether as a result of chronic illness or not, do yourself a favor and ask for help.  Talk to your doctor, to a family member, go to an AA or NA meeting in your area.  I will be adding a page to the site specifically regarding information on substance abuse and chronic illness, where important websites and phone numbers will also be listed.

I know this was a heavy post, and I didn’t lighten it up with my usual sarcasm, but this is a heavy issue that should garner the gravity it deserves .  I wish you all peace, and hope that you find it in the world around you, but most importantly, inside yourselves.

References

Clark, Michael, Stoller,Ken, Brooner, Robert. (2008). Assessment and Management of Chronic Pain in Individuals Seeking Treatment for Opioid Dependence Disorder. La Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 53, 8.

Ficara, B. (2010) Prescription Drug Abuse: Superwoman Syndrome Fuels Concern – See more at: http://healthin30.com/2010/03/prescription-drug-abuse-superwoman-syndrome-fuels-concern/#sthash.8CpSkwx0.dpuf

Moore, Todd, Jones, Ted, Browder, Joe, Daffron, Susan, & Passik, Stevin. (2009). A Comparison of Common Screening Methods for Predicting Aberrant Drug-Related Behavior among Patients Receiving Opioids for Chronic Pain Management. Pain Management.

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I May Have Won a Battle, but I’m still fighting the War

5 Apr

554395_4003182888228_1689926120_nPhew… So I haven’t written in a while because… I got better!  I had a rocky start to my summer, but then things picked up, and life changed dramatically.  I broke up with my boyfriend, got enough energy back to return to working out and kickboxing (and my new love, jiu jitsu), got a job working public relations, went out with friends, and rode horses.  Even simple things like carrying my own laundry down the stairs that at first were major accomplishments became routine.  I was, in fact, like a normal 25 year old.

The more improved I got, the more I distanced myself from the Lyme community.  This happened for a few reasons 1) As I became able to participate in life again, I had less time to be online researching, writing, and conversing with fellow ‘Lymies’  2) I felt guilty getting better while my friends were still sick.  Seeing them post about seizures and unbearable pain while I was getting pretty for summer barbecues made me feel awful. and 3) I am embarrassed to say, but I didn’t want to be associated with it any more.  This last year had been such a tumultuous time full of uncertainty (from if I would be able to walk, or if I would be able to live), that I wanted to forget, bury it like it never happened.  I didn’t want ‘sick person’ as part of my identity, so I cut it out, pretended like it happened to someone else.  But as I’m learning, you can seldom successfully hide from your past.

I continued treatment through the summer with some hiccups, but successfully started graduate school in the fall.  Again, a few bumps in the road, but I’ve pushed through, even got into the honor society.  And here we are in the Spring, and life is slowly coming to a halt.  Slowly, slowly each symptom is coming back- the unbearable fatigue, the cramps in my feet, insomnia, facial scarring, limbs going numb, black outs, shortness of breath, muscle and bone pain, migraines,twitches, fluctuating temperatures.  Like uninvited guests they are invading my body, their new home.  And it all comes flooding back.  With each day that passes, I am having to withdraw more and more from my life- missed classes, absences from my internship, canceled plans with friends.  I know what comes next, and I am frightened.  I do not want to go back to my life from last year- months spent by myself in bed, totally reliant on others for everything, sad, and lonely.  I feel like for an entire year of the world’s history, I was erased, invisible.  Whether true or not, I feel like people forgot about me.

The bottom line is, the oral drugs aren’t working any more- my body is rejecting them.  So I am getting a PICC line which will deliver antibiotics directly to my blood stream.  This is going to temporarily change everything about my life, and I’m scared about the ramifications, but I’m ready.  I know what to expect this time, and I know I can get through it.  While I was well, I was able to accrue an amazing network of women (and some men) who have been amazing in reaching out to me, and I have my family.  I also have a choice- to temporarily cocoon myself from the world (which is not a wrong choice), or to be vulnerable to the world and face this head on.  I’m hoping to choose the latter.  I don’t know why this is my life, but this is my life and there is purpose to it.  I don’t see my life being defined by sickness, but by perseverance, love, and determination.  As Audre Lorde says, “When I dare to use my power in the service of my vision, it matters less and less whether I am afraid.”

How’s That Hope and Change Working For Me? Ok, So Far…

5 Apr

NOTE: This post was written in Spring 2012

But where there is pain, there is room for growth, and I have been growing.  The last few months have shown me things about myself that I would not have been able to observe without this trial.  First of all, I learned that I was defining myself by what I did and not who I am.  In some ways I had an identity crisis, because I was not even sure who I was outside of what I did, and that is something that I am still learning.  So far though, I have rediscovered that I am a funny, decent, introspective, and caring woman who so happened to be the former Project Coordinator for Warmth From the Millyard at the University of New Hampshire Manchester.  The weight of importance that I put on my job was unhealthy in another way, because I did not quit when I should have. Even when my supervisors started saying to me that it might be time for me to let go, I really struggled, and took many months to come to that decision.  My job title will change through the years, but the person that holds that title will stay the same.  I have more important titles, like daughter, sister, lover, friend, caretaker, truth seeker, intellectual, social activist.

While this journey has put me in shoes that seem foreign, to others these shoes are all too familiar.  I have never related to so many different groups of people in such an empathetic way before.  The people who I used to ‘discreetly’ stare at because of a disability (not meanly of course, just out of curiosity), I now know how it feels to be on the receiving end.  Those who I judged for going out of the house in sweats sans makeup?  I’m one of them now too.  The friends and relatives who are homebound for some reason that I haven’t made the time to call?  Well now I have plenty of time, because not all of my friends have been around to check on me either.  I also know what it feels like to truly be helpless for the first time in my life since infancy.  Want to go somewhere?  Only if I can get a ride.  Need a jar of applesauce opened?  Better hope someone else is home.  I now realize fully what I knew on a cerebral level before: No one wants to need help.  Having the ability to do things for myself is something that I took so much for granted before, and if and when I regain the ability, I hope to never take it for granted again.

My priorities are also changed since being sick, and for the better I think.  I was very, very materialistic before.  Appearance mattered greatly to me.  Going out without hair and makeup done was simply not an option.  Every season warranted a new wardrobe.  I have over 70 pairs of shoes.  Now, simply putting on clothing that is not pajamas is an accomplishment, and for the first time, that’s ok.  It makes me think about how many people I judged without knowing their story, how naively unkind I was in my thoughts.  It’s not something I’m proud of.  Not needing to be ‘done up’ and out the door has given me a lot more time, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, and a lot of reading about things that really matter a whole lot more than my new Coach purse: Political articles about the coming election (including The Onion, it keeps me laughing), a food co-op being developed in my city, a commentary on the Gospel of Mark, the novel The Help.  I’ve enriched myself more in the last few months than I have in a long time.  I’ve also focused more on my relationship with my family and friends, my boyfriend, and God.

Grieving a Life Lost

5 Apr

NOTE: This is a post I actually wrote in February 2012, but never published

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The alarm went off at 6:00.  I dragged myself out of bed towards the coffee maker, and after receiving it’s gift of liquid energy, jumped into the shower.  After putting on my makeup and doing my hair, I ironed my clothes, got ready and drove to work.  After a morning of meetings and a presentation or two, I ate lunch while driving to the therapeutic riding barn where I volunteered for an hour, then drove back to the office.  After working on planning an upcoming event, I drove to another job site to work, then went to my night class.  When I got home, I walked the dogs and ate dinner.  After working on homework, I talked to my boyfriend on the phone, and then went to bed.  I fell asleep, ready and happy to do it all over again the next day.That was then.

But this is now.  Tomorrow when I wake up, I will not do my makeup.  I will not iron my clothes.  I will not do these things, because I probably won’t have the energy to.  The only place I will go is to the doctor.  Then I will come home, and will sleep.  When I wake up, I will work on some homework, and then my sister will help me fold some of my laundry, because I can’t do it by myself.  I will talk to my boyfriend, which will be the highlight of my day, but beyond that, life is much different now than it used to be.

Alot of my time now is spent trying to be positive.  Trying to look on the bright side, trying to always put a positive spin on it, trying to not wallow in self-pity.  I’d like to pretend that my motives for doing this were for other people, but I have a deep-seated fear that if I don’t push the sunshine, that I’ll get stuck in a place so dark, that the light will never shine on me again.

Underneath the butterflies and rainbows, I am grieving, though.  Grieving obviously my health.  A job that I loved.  Activities that energized my being.  Relationships that I treasured.  There are things that are now missing from my life that, until they were gone, I hadn’t realized I was using to help define myself.  Part of me, it feels, is missing.  I feel like an incomplete person, like someone who doesn’t matter as much, who’s life is not as impactful.  I am crying a little bit as I write this, because you see, the things that I did, while they did keep me busy, were more than busy work.  Running warm clothing drives around the state, volunteering at the therapeutic riding barn, being on the jr. board of directors at the YWCA, working with a multicultural youth organization, horseback riding: these were part of my life’s mission, my reason for being on this earth.  I prided myself on the number of ways which I was involved in my community, and now I’m a virtual shut-in.

I have always preached and believed that everyone, every life, held value, but I’ve been missing the value in my own.  The hardest times, the times when I hate this situation the most, are when people stare.  There are quite a few days that I can’t walk on my own, and need assitance, or walk with a limp.  For some reason, these seem to be the days when I need to be out in public.  I know that most people aren’t doing it to be mean or rude, and that it must be perplexing to see a young woman who looks able in many ways to be walking with someone propping her up on one side and gripping the wall on the other.  One of the first times I had the energy to go on a social outing, I went to the mall with my sister.  I was limping badly and unable to use one of my hands.  Just being there and walking on my own for 45 minutes was exhausting.  As I started walking toward the exit, two teenage girls pointed and laughed at me. Me.  I wanted to turn around and scream at them that this wasn’t always my life- I have three college degrees and worked at a university.  I ride horses and kickbox.  I am smart and funny, and I didn’t do anything to deserve this.  I was like them once, and they could easily become like me.   But to be honest, I didn’t say any of those things because  it’s embarrassing, and I feel so ashamed.  And I’m ashamed that I’m ashamed, because I thought myself a stronger, less prideful person.  Of all of the things this illness has given me, empathy for others is at the top of the list.

Lyme Aids: The Role of Pets in Recovery- a Cuddly Tool that You Should Utilize!

12 Jan

***As published by Yahoo! http://voices.yahoo.com/the-role-pets-recovery-10825433.html ****

I wake up at 11:00 AM, pissed that half the day is gone.  I slept late because I  didn’t fall asleep until 3:00.  I feel groggy, as if a steam roller has simply run over me in my bed.   And yet, I could still sleep for what feels like another day.  An internal argument ensues, which I finally win, and drag myself out of bed.  As my feet hit the floor, I realize with a sigh, that today is going to be a bad day.  Everything hurts.  I put my glasses on, and look down to see three pairs of liquid brown eyes staring back at me, waiting for my acknowledgement.  I melt, and smile.

This, is the amazing power of animals.  You see posts and articles all over the internet about different herbs, pills, and methods to help heal Lyme Disease, but many people have another type of healing agent right in their own home.  And as a bonus, it’s cute, cuddly, and nothing you need to drink or swallow!

Pets have healing powers all of their own.  Numerous studies have shown that within minutes of petting an animal, a person’s blood pressure and heart rate will go down.  According to the Delta Society, even watching fish swim in an aquarium can have a similar effect.  Another physical benefit is that of touch.  All mammals, from humans to dogs to hamsters need physical touch.  It is just part of our hardwiring.  For many Lyme patients, myself included, the thought of being touched by others can cause dread.  Even a touch meant to be gentle can invoke pain.  Petting an animal can allow you to touch in a way that is on your terms, but that will still produce similar effects.  As an added benefit, Fido will benefit as well.

In addition to physiological advantages, pets provide a myriad of psychological benefits.  First of all, a 1990 study showed that pet owners in general have a better psychological well being.  Going along with this, another study showed that AIDS patients owning pets had less depression and stress.  It is an easy leap to tie this conclusion to other sufferers of chronic illness.  Lyme, both the disease itself and the lifestyle it forces people to live, can obviously cause depression.  Who knew you could cuddle your way out?  Pets also help increase the ability to cope, act as major sources of support, and allow people to get through traumatic life events more easily (such as a chronic Lyme diagnosis).

Something I have noticed about my pets, is that they keep me from being completely involved in my struggles (although that does happen).  Knowing that I have to get up to let them outside, for example, keeps me from wallowing in my bed all day.  Even if I’m only up for 5-10 minutes, it’s still a 5 minute victory.  They also make me feel less helpless, less like a victim.  Having people needing to help you all the time can really drain your confidence, especially if you were once a fully functional, multi-tasking super-person, as I was.  My boyfriend made a comment the other day, not meaning to be diminishing, but that caught me off guard and hurt my feelings.  I was having a good day, and managed to get up, tidy my room, and fold laundry.  He called and asked what I was doing at a certain time, and I told him I might be busy (chores take a lot longer now than they used to).  He replied, “Well, what could you possibly be doing?”.  And I understand where he was coming from.  This ‘good day’ was rather a fluke in the midst of many bad ones, where I could virtually do nothing for myself.  However, as a person who is used to being a powerhouse of activity, it made me very sad that someone could even think that about me.

It’s not like that with my dogs though.  In this relationship, I am the caretaker.  Even though we no longer go to obedience class, or even walk everyday (something that does break my heart for them), they still rely on me to provide food and water, let them outside, and give them love and praise.  It increases my self-worth.

I also remember, that Lyme disease changed their lives too, and this is a fact that weighs on me.  Just last summer they had walks everyday, occassionally went to the dog park or to a dog class, were played with on a regular basis.  Now, they are much more sedentary.  I live with my mother, so she is able to do some with them, but she also works and has her own life.  I feel very grateful for them, that they have been so accepting of this.  I promise them that when I am better, things will go back to ‘normal’.

Knowing all of the benefits my pets provide me with makes me think of my dogs as little super-heros, fighting off depression, stress, and high blood pressure!  Guardians of my peace of mind- the Lyme Aids!  I have also noticed that they each seem to have their own little role.

Gimli, who we will call Captain Cuddle Bug, is a mini dauchshund who lives to love.  He spends his day in bed with me, snuggled as close as he could possibly get.  He is always up for a hug, or to lay in my arms while I nap.

Robby, the Body Guard, is a Scottish Terrier that I have had since I was 15.  He isn’t much for cuddling, but likes a scratch under his chin, or an ear rub.  He has his eyes on me at all times.  He keeps his distance, sleeping in the corner of my room, but follows me everywhere, especially when I am having a sleepless night.  If I get up to pace, he follows me and observes from afar, probably thinking that I am a complete fruitcake.  Regardless, he is never far behind when I need him.

Ramona, a half-Scottie who I recently adopted, is a Shadow.  Whereever I am, there she is too (except when she’s getting her beauty rest, when nothing will move her from her bed).  When I’m in my bed, she is curled up right next to it, right within arms reach for when I need to pat her.  She escorts me all over the house, waiting on me hand and foot, should I need to give her a hug, or should some food drop on the floor.  Whatever her motives, she makes me feel better and important by her devotion.

If you have pets, how are they helping you in your recovery?  How would you characterize their role?  What struggles is pet ownership giving you while living with Lyme?

The Game Plan

12 Dec

I had a great appointment with my new doctor today.  She was kind enough to take two hours to explain everything to me, and answer all of my questions.  My mom was also nice enough to drive me to the doctors because my knee and hand were bothering me still today.  I was officially diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme disease, an infection that I have been battling undiagnosed for almost thirteen years.  I will do a post another time about the tests they used to determine this, and what a god-send they are.

I very probably will be in treatment for close to two years, which will entail agressive antibiotics every day.  At this juncture I am lucky to not need an iv, and am starting on the oral medication.  I am hopeful that will be successful, and that I will not need to be ‘upgraded’ (a time when economy class seems the preferable option!).  I am also relieved, and surprised, that there are no coinfections that so many people get when they get Lyme.  These include Babesia, Erlichia, and Bartonella to name a few.  Many have similar symtpoms to Lyme, but each require their own type of special antibiotics.  If they’re telling me that I need less medication, they’ll hear no arguments from me.  I already take more pills than my 90 year old grandmother.  I make her feel young and spry when she comes to visit.  If nothing else, I’m good at giving self-esteem boosts.

My doctor also suspects that I have fibromyalgia because of my extremely painful everything- muscles, bones, joints, you name it.  I will probably be going on Cymbalta as well, which was recently approved for joint pain.

I took my first dose of doxycyline tonight, and they’re not kidding that it makes you naseaus, even with antinaseau medication.  That’s definitely going to take getting used to.

I am also dreading my herx reaction.  When people with late stage Lyme finally start taking antibiotics, it bursts all the infected cells, and leaves a lot of crap, dead cells, and toxins for your body to clean up all at once.  This is called a herx reaction, and what it means for the patient is they get a lot sicker.  Some people even end up in the hospital.  I’m hoping that  especially because Christmas is upon us and I’m supposed to be traveling, that it doesn’t get too bad.

Oh well, it is in God’s hands.  As my doctor said, I have a long road ahead of me, but in a few years I will be a new woman!

Hello world!

11 Dec

This will just be a quick post to get the ball rolling.

This last three days have been really rough.  I was in so much pain on Thursday and Friday, that I only got out of bed when I absolutely had to.  Everything hurt- knees, back, knuckle joints, wrists, even my toes.  Kyle (my boyfriend) was laughing because every time I did try to get up, I resembled an old granny so much that he would offer to help me cross the street.  I kept challenging him to a race, which he politely declined- I think even he has at least some shame.

Today I was not able to go do my shift at the horsebarn where I work.  The pain has been a little bit better, but today has really been all about exhaustion.  I slept until 10, got dressed and then Kyle and I set off to do errands- Walmart and the grocery store.  However by the time we got in the car after Walmart (where mind you, we were for 15 minutes tops), as soon as my butt hit the seat I practically drifted into a coma.  So the grocery store never quite made it on our list of sites to see before we went home.  That’s ok though, we really don’t need to eat.  When we got home I slept for over three hours.  When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I was awake long enough to order dinner out, and then went back to bed for another hour.

One of the things that I bought at Walmart was epsom salts, which I read were supposed to help with the pain- when I did take a bath with them three hours ago, I got some relief.  However, the aches are starting to come back, so it’s just about come to the time of day that I’ve been dreaming about all week- when I can take a vicodin and not feel guilty that I should be trying to stay up to do other ‘normal’ things (not that that has happened yet anyway).  My mom has been trying to get me to go to the ER, but all they’re going to do is make me wait for 4 hours while serving me crappy coffee and having me sit in uncomfortable chairs, THEN tell me they can’t do anything for me, giving me vicodin, and sending me home.  By this time, I figure the pain will be worse, I’ll have had no sleep, and I’ll have to pee in the public restroom (which I hate to do) from all of the coffee, so I’ll take my chances here, where at least I don’t feel self-conscious drooling on myself when I pass out.

On Monday I go see my doctor to get more information and start my treatment.  I am relieved, but also apprehensive at the same time.  But all I can do is pray that it goes well…