Day 39: Make it stop

I laughed out loud at the headline in our local newspaper: “Pain often comes with age.” Now there’s a news flash.

Mostly, I don’t mind getting older. I make better decisions, I don’t get as agitated, I’m not quite as restless. But at times I quote my mother: “It’s hell to get old,” she used to say.

Today is one of those times. Today, pain has consumed the entire day.  All I wanted was to make it stop.

I’m in pretty good shape and I even relish going for my annual physical, confident that my doctor will once again tell me that my lab tests were very good. My blood pressure is a reliable 110/70, and I just take herbal medicines for any day-to-day health needs.

Then I had a bout of sciatica for the first time a couple years ago, and it was shockingly terrible. My chiropractor gave me some stretching exercises to do, and the sciatica disappeared.

But once in awhile, it flares up. Usually, I can just take a hefty dose of ibuprofin or a prescription anti-inflammatory, and it goes away.

Not today, though. Today the sciatica pain has been screaming up and down my hips, thighs and knees, since 3 a.m.

I have stronger prescription meds for just this rare occasion, but even those weren’t working. And so I got stressed – from fear of the pain, fear that it would never go away.

And of course, stress just makes your muscles even more tense, increasing the pain.

I tried to distract myself with cooking, reading, working on small projects around the house. I even laughed, remembering what Dad used to say when we were kids crying over a skinned knee: “Just think how good it will feel when it stops hurting.”

Finally, after Tom got home and was there to talk to and comfort me, the pain began to ebb.

There are millions of people who live with chronic pain. I do not know how they do it. I can hardly bear it even for 24 hours, even when I know that it will go away.

But I’ve learned one thing about pain: Love helps a lot.

Friends, next time you are in pain, feel free to call me.

I chose for today’s penny one that looks like it’s being consumed by some dark force.

If a penny could be in pain, this one would be. And it’s a 2014 – just a youngster.