Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Pain Has Won Two Battles

I’ve been trying to keep up with as much of my life’s routines as possible, despite my debility’s steady narrowing of their scope, giving ground only grudgingly. But yesterday and today, the pain has won two battles.

Battle the First: Cavalry Maneuvers

It’s been over a month now that I surrendered the stall mucking and other heavy lifting to hired help. Renee’s done a wonderful job of it at a remarkably reasonable price, and I’m fortunate to have her tending to Ben’s swamp. But still I clung to feeding lunch to Ben and his two white buddies, and to bringing the big brown doofus into his stall at night. Yesterday that ended.

Tuesday’s nasty storm left the farm awash in heavy snow with half-concealed stretches of ice. I arrived already in pain, heaved myself from the car into the barn, collected the lunch grain, hobbled out to the top of the short driveway sloping down to the run-in….

And stood there, staring at the impossible terrain I’d have to negotiate without falling. Stood there, leaning on my cane, and began to sob with pain and frustration and fear of falling: “I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this….” The horses gazed eagerly up at me. Food human! Lunch is coming! I looked down at them, frozen in place: “I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this….”

But of course I did do it, I found a way, swinging wide across the bordering lawn, clinging to the fence when, after agonizing inching, I reached it, my feet and cane sinking erratically into the crusty snow with every cautious tiny step. I did what had to be done, I made it back up the slope to safety, and I faced reality: I cannot do this anymore. So I’ve made the necessary arrangements, put into operation now the plan I’d devised for post-op. The pain has won this round.

Battle the Second: Operation Cleanup

Cleaning litterboxes daily is one downside of maintaining a feline tribe in residence, but one I’ve never minded, even though it requires trudging from top to bottom of my four-level townhouse. It’s been awkward and uncomfortable having to do the necessary bending and kneeling with a bum hip and, lately, equally grumpy knee, but quite manageable. Until today.

Today was different. Today, I awoke to life without ibuprofen. I’ve been taken off it for the remainder of the run-up to the surgery, and while I do have hydrocodone to tide me over the difference in pain control is hideously apparent. The knee especially stabs me with every step, to the point that I fear falling at any moment I’m moving and not holding on to something solid.

As you may imagine, cleaning litterboxes and descending stairs with bucket of gleanings in hand was flat-out awful this morning. I did it, because it had to be done. I won’t do it again, though, until I’m healed enough from the surgery to manage it. Once again, my post-op planning has a solution in place, and the person I’d lined up to hire for long-term litter mucking, taking over from my friend’s short-term kind help, will start doing it tomorrow.

I hate hate hate having to be dependent. I’m not thrilled about the extra expense, either. But reality doesn’t give a damn about that. Let me rather be grateful that I do have solutions to hand, and focus on reaching the point that I no longer need them.

The pain has won some battles, but I will win this war.

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