Monday, November 19, 2012

Physical Pain. A.K.A. - The Teacher.

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?

17 comments:

Sarah G said...

I'm a hider of need/pain/heartaches from everyone but my husband for the most part.

Partly not wanting to burden anyone else, partly out of shame/guilt, partly just out of the need to deal privately with things, partly to protect them because most of the time there's nothing really they can do to help me and I don't want them to just sit and worry.

I don't know why I am this way. I don't have any problem telling my stories after the fact at all.

Terrie said...

Wow, just wow!! I sure hope you are feeling better. That brought tears to my eyes it sounded so painful

speck said...

Gosh, I'm so sorry this happened to you.

I hope you are doing much better!

Keep us posted.

Sandra

jennxaz said...

Holy Cow...you got morphine! You rock...just kidding...that sounded terrible... TERRIBLE! and what an insane thing to go thru...wow who would have thunk ear plugs could do that! Yes, I relate. I don't like being out of control or needing help

MandaPanda said...

OMG! How terrible! I'm glad you're on the mend.

I tell anyone who will listen. It's not that I want the help...it's that I need to get out my frustration or think aloud or get another perspective. Often, I'll complain to a friend and they offer to help but I don't take them up on it. Most of the time, it's just the sympathetic ear (hopefully not swollen shut kind of ear) that I need.

RockBand Barbie said...

Yikes! I hope you are feeling some relief now. I usually don;t tell people either...but it's usually because I'm too dumb to realize when I am in a crisis. Except when I had a kidney stone....then I was begging anybody and everybody to take me to get some morphine :)

LDswims said...

I used to shoulder it all. Now I "let" people help. My life is so much more fulfilling these days. To admit I am human to my fellow humans creates a bond that is so real, so amazing, so fun. Because if I can let someone help with the bad, then celebrating the awesome is that much more awesome.

I love you. You let me. Even from a distance. Help doesn't always have to be physical. The emotional is even harder. But you know that.

Wendie Haynes said...

All I have to say is...I understand!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I'me very rarely sick, but when I am, I might complain. My son and husband said I was a wreck last week. Little Charlie asked if anything DIDN'T bother me. But I didn't post it on FB. I mentioned it in my blog. I can't STAND when all people do is bitch and moan on FB, especially how no one appreciates them. Do you think complaining about it makes me like you more?

ANYWAY, you are incredible. Did you give birth with no pain meds? You didn't get a prescription for oral antibiotics to go along with the drops? All I could envision was my 16 year old son being combative during a strep culture (which they NEVER got).

Fit Mom said...

All I can say is I am SO sorry you had to go thru that. It sounds worse than childbirth and brought tears to my eyes reading what you had to go thru. I hate going to doctors too. You know I am in pretty bad shape when I give up the ship and go see one. I hope you feel back to normal soon!

Connie O said...

I'm sorry you had to go through that; it sounds awful. It's interesting that it made you think of how you cope with being ill or in pain.

adorkbl said...

Ugh.... so sorry you had such a hard time with the ear. :( I hope you are feeling much better now. Gld you didn't hank the ENT doc. ;)

Sunshine's Heart said...

I try to tell people what I'm feeling. I've always been an honest open book most of the time but that isn't always the right way either. I let Dail into to the deepest parts of my mind and heart and now he has walked away. I don't think I will ever allow anyone to get that close to me again.

Righteous Runner said...


I love this post . Not because of the horrific infection and pain, but because you very (as always) very eloquently and passionately described a common feeling. The line about not being a burden or a blessing is very true. It is frustrating on both sides.

I was "forced" to ask for both physical and emotional help earlier this year. And man, did I feel foolish for ever refusing. My friends weren't resentful, my parents weren't disappointed. It was the strangest thing....

Holly Rose said...

First of all, I'm so glad you are ok. That sounded absolutely horrific. I know how awful ear pain can be and then adding the procedure to it. If they are putting you on morphine it has to be bad b/c I have had csections where they only wanted to give me extra strength tylenol afterwards. So for them to be giving you morphine I know it was hard core pain. I am so glad you are on the other end of that. I also understand about hiding things so as not to burden people. I have been doing this a long time. I despise having to ask for help b/c I always feel like a burden. It is hard to do so I relate so much to this!!

peacelovepixie said...

That sounded so horribly awful it made my toes curl. I am glad you're on the mend and I completely understand not wanting to accept help. By far my most unattractive trait.

EmDub @ Faster In Water said...

Holy eff I don't know how that doctor didn't have his eyes scratched out by you. I hope you are much better by now!