In the actual moment of physical pain – life sucks donkey balls and you aren’t thinking about what that pain is teaching you in the slightest. You just want it to stop. For me – when it does stop though – I learn a lot about myself. Taught to me courtesy of good old fashioned intense, physical pain.
It started Wednesday night when after a day of not being able to hear out of my ear and a little pain, I called my doc and asked for some antibiotic drops. I got them about 1pm. By 7pm I was in the ER and my entire ear was swelled shut. My neck, jaw and cheek were starting to swell too. The ER doc put a tiny wick in my ear so that the drops could reach the infected part of my ear despite the swelling. Fine.
I went to work Thursday. By noon – I was home. By 4pm, I was back in the ER. IV antibiotics and IV Percocet. The nurse said, “This is a really big dose so your pain should go away.”
Ten minutes later she walked back in and gasped when she saw me and said, “How are your eyes still open?” “Um, because the pain is still that bad.”
She gave me another huge dose. Blood pressure was still sky high as well. They instructed me to come right back in the morning to get more antibiotics and pain meds or they would admit me now. I said I'd come back so they let me go home.
I never slept. Or ate or drank or talked. I didn’t move. I went back in the morning and got more IV pain meds and antibiotics. The swelling got worse. The ER doc decided to shove a needle in the back of my ear on the top and from the bottom up to numb it for a while. I nearly killed her.
I went back again the next day because it was still worse and the ER doc said, “What we are doing isn’t working – we have to call in an ENT doc. In the meantime, you need morphine.”
That much pain medicine and no food or water in me made the nausea almost unbearable. The ENT doc came and took me to his office. He got some tools ready and told me to lay down. The last thing he said to me was, “You can scream as loud as you want…we won’t hold it against you.”
Scream I did. I yelled at the top of my lungs “PLEASE STOP” and “PLEASE PUT ME OUT” while Rambo held down my head and shoulders…while my mother held my hands and my torso down.
I remember Rambo saying, “Honey, please calm down, please stay still.”
I remember hearing my mom start to cry and she kept saying, “Oh my God – oh please hurry – please.”
He inserted 3 wicks deep within my ear so the drops can get past the swelling of 3 days. I prayed I’d pass out. I begged him to put me under. I sobbed uncontrollably as Rambo held me when it was over. I watched my mom sob for me. She kept saying, “I don’t know how you withstood that. I don’t know how you didn’t come up off the table. I’m so sorry. I wish I could have done it for you.”
The doc just looked at me when I was done and said, “You’re going back to the hospital. You’re going to need more morphine.”
I wanted to shank him.
The swelling is less now. I have eaten a little. I can drink and sleep a little. It’ll be a while before my body is fully recovered.
The reason this happened is because I wear ear plugs because Rambo snores. Sometimes I shower first – and my ear isn’t dry – and I put the ear plugs in….and this is the result.
What I’ve learned through this is that I despise being taken care of by anyone other than Rambo. No one in my life knew I had been in the hospital for 4 straight days until day 2 when Rambo told my mom. I didn’t tell the people I work with, my siblings, my friends, neighbors or in-laws.
I can’t take pity and I don’t want it. I don’t want to be felt sorry for and I want to be able to handle things myself. One of the first things I said to my mom after the procedure was done was, “I’m sorry.”
She said, “What in the world are you sorry for?” I said I was sorry she had to see that. Sorry I couldn’t handle that any better than I did. Just sorry – for not being stronger. For needing her.
I had to find sitters and ask for help. I had to take the help when it was given. But not until I was forced to.
I don’t let people help me. I don’t let people in. I fight my battles alone except for Rambo and when it’s over – then I’ll tell you about it.
I’m embarrassed by the weakness that needing people makes me feel. Part of me fears that if you see the bad, scary or needy parts of me that you’ll end up walking out…and I don’t want to give you a reason to do that.
So I’ll hide that I was in a hospital for 4 days until it’s over so I can say to you, “See? I didn’t bother you. I didn’t need you to drop anything to come help me. I am not a burden to you. Right?”
But that’s shitty. That’s about protecting myself. It isn’t letting people who truly care about me – be given the chance to be there for me. It doesn’t allow anyone to give back to me when they truly want to. It tells people I don’t trust them. It tells them I refuse to let them in.
I may not be a burden but I’m not really a blessing in that situation either….because I’m only playing the relationship my way. My terms. My timeline.
It’s not good. It’s selfish. And non-risky.
It’s not who I want to be. I actually didn’t see it until I was on the mend and realized I hadn’t told anyone I was really sick – until it was over.
So yah, I think that intense physical pain can be quite the teacher if you’re willing to listen.
And I’m totally listening because I don’t have ear plugs in my ears anymore. LOL
How about you? Have you ever thought about this? When there’s an emergency or you are sick – do you find yourself telling anyone who will listen? Does it help you to know people are helping you and taking care of you or do you hate it? Do you hide physical pain and mental heartaches because you don’t want to burden anyone? Do you tell people when the crisis is done and over – or during? Do you know why?