Pain Management: Part One

Keeping with the management theme. ‘Cause life is all about micromanagement, right? Right?

Full disclosure: the majority of this was written while on Percocet. I take no responsibility for quality of writing/rambling/spelling/etc. etc.

As mentioned in my last entry, I recently cracked a rib. I did this by falling on the edge of the bathtub during a seizure.  I like to think that I have a higher-than-average pain tolerance, but this sucker hurt like a mo-fo (acceptable blog language?). I spent the first day or two after the injury trying to figure out ways to avoid laughing, breathing, and crying, all of which produce daggers of rib-wrenching unpleasantness. While minimizing laughter hasn’t been a real challenge, breathing’s thus far proven impossible to fully eliminate.  The crying button was also hard to switch off, at least until I caved and filled a prescription for painkillers. Turns out codeine works; Percocet works even better.

The issue, however, is that I’m incredibly resistant to the idea of narcotics. I’m probably one of the only people, at least in my demographic, who resents the oxycodone high that accompanies the very effective pain relief afforded by drugs in this category. If you know me in real life, you’re presumably aware that one of the things I value most is self-control. It will come as no surprise, then, to learn that the fear of popping a painkiller and doing something stupid, especially in public, for me looms large (to be fair, this anxiety holds true even when I’m totally unimpaired by mind-altering substances). I thus struggled through a few days with over-the-counter ibuprofen before realizing that it just wasn’t going to cut it.

Sympathy owl.
Sympathy owl.

I’m not sure I fully understood how much I was suffering until I took something strong enough to eradicate the pain. Not just of the rib, but also of a low-level, pretty constant headache—the result of multiple concussions—that I generally ignore. Yes, I’ve been a bit out of it. Yes, I attended a lecture in my department thinking I was totally fine until a friend in my program asked if I were high (she assured me that she could only tell because I was more giggly than usual… I’m just going to assume that no one else noticed). But I figure it’s worth it, as long as I stick with the lowest possible dose and wait until after teaching.

It’s been three weeks now. Two days ago I made it to dinnertime before admitting to myself that the discomfort was too great to function without a little help. Yesterday I took one in the morning. Today I’m sore, but pushing through. I’m back to wandering the streets sans random whelps of pain. I can no longer use the rib as an  excuse to not do the dishes or as a reason for my husband to get me McDonald’s ice cream while I lie in bed and watch my new favourite thing, an MTV Italia reality show about gymnasts. Reverting back to the seizures for that.

I leave you with a picture of one of the best cards I have ever received from some of the best friends I have ever had.


Tune in sometime in the not-so-distant future for “Pain Management: Part Two,” which there is an outside chance I will write some time.


2 thoughts on “Pain Management: Part One

  1. I really feel for you this rib thing sounds horrendous. I have a particularly poor tolerance for codene myself which involves staying in bed and feeling like I am on a ship in a storm. It isn’t a nice drug. I hope your rib mends soon. Best wishes

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