It was only about four or five months ago that I wrote Pain, a post about my decision to put off taking opiate pain relievers. I was – and still am – very ambivalent about it. The difference being that now I’ve taken the plunge.
This is a lot more significant to me than just the fact that my pain is becoming harder to manage through less powerful means. In that post, I wrote:
The last reason I give is closely tied with what I think is the psychological underpinning of my reluctance. I think I have an irrational sense that starting on narcotics will mean that I’m at the end, that all that is left for me is death. The thing is, whether or not I start using opiates now, the fact remains that I have a terminal disease, that I will die sooner rather than later. My irrational feeling is that taking these drugs will hasten the approach of the end. I know this isn’t true; the fact remains: that’s how I feel.
The moment has come. I have had to start occasionally taking oxycodone for pain that cannot be alleviated by other means. I don’t take it all the time, or even every day, but I can no longer deny the fact that this pain really hurts.
I feel pretty awful about it. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong, like I’m cheating somehow. Sometimes I feel like I’ve acquiesced to a malevolent power. Sometimes I feel like I’ve hastened my death with this decision.
I know this isn’t true; the fact remains: that’s how I feel.
So, reframe it. I take this medicine to make my life more livable, to be better able to take care of myself, to better enjoy my days and nights. When the pain is manageable I can pray better, work better, rest better, play better. When “Oh, dear Lord, this hurts!” is not the sole thought in my head I can sing, tell jokes, enjoy books and music, play Words with Friends and Lexulous.
When the pain recedes considerably, I can tell myself that I’m not that sick.
I know this isn’t true; the fact remains, that’s how I feel.
So I guess I am still ambivalent about taking narcotics. I am going to do my best to relax and accept it as part of my life at this time – but without ever denying my feelings. When God created the universe and all that it holds, emotions were part of it. And he saw that it was good.
So I’ll take my emotions, my ambivalence and my pain meds and I’ll keep moving through this world as best I can.