2010 readers will have noticed I've been somewhat on the quiet side this year. Not by design (I hasten to clarify) but by an onslaught of health problems that, whilst perfectly manageable, were at times excruciating, at times unnoticeable and mostly very frustrating. The long absence leads me to feel I should explain.
After a bout of a particularly bad viral illness (flu systems with an horrific cough, leading at it's low point to a particularly embarrassing episode at my mothers when I had to borrow spare clothes due to simultaneous release of other fairly important muscles) I woke up one morning thinking I'd pulled a muscle around my ribcage. Unsurprising after all that coughing, but after the pain had increased for a few days I toddled off to my local doctors surgery and was prescribed ibuprofen to, and I quote, "reduce the inflammation". It worked, and the pain subsided over the next couple of days, but the cough....that dreaded cough, returned. 1 week later I'm in serious pain, on the phone to the surgery and they prescribe co-codomol. (codeine and paracetamol), because they believe that, although I'm not asthmatic, I am suffering symptoms brought on by the ibuprofen! Who knew?
7 days later I'm more than happy on these painkillers.
10 days later and I'm in absolute agony, on the phone to the out of hours service, thinking I'm having a heart attack, as the pain has localised around where I imagine my heart is.
I'm in tears, struggling to breathe as I'm so frightened, and the nurse kindly takes me through a series of questions to try and establish whether the problem is indeed cardiac. Luckily she doesn't think so, but is worried, as I shouldn't be in such pain when on those painkillers, so I'm given an appointment immediately. If she's worried, I'm worried. But 1 hour later the kind doctor (proper old school, tapping his fingers on the back of his hand, perfect bedside manner) is telling me I have Bornholm's disease, otherwise known as Devils Grip. Apparently it's not at all worrying, and just needed some replacement anti-inflammatories, instead of the pain killers. 2 weeks of Diclofenac and it's been under control. Though, now I've ran out of the tablets this morning, I'm almost waiting for the pain to return?
I think the hardest thing has been coping with the chronic nature of the illness. When I was taking the painkillers I could tell when my next batch of tablets was due because the pain intensity would creep up, and I was given an insight into how pain effects mood and behaviour. I've been grumpy around my family, have been sleeping and sleeping and sleeping and not feeling rested, and have shied away from cuddles from my girls because of the pain. Just writing that last sentence makes me cry.
I have the utmost respect for anyone that is going through any health problems that cause chronic pain and that can still raise a smile. Luckily mine has been a treatable problem. Not every one's is.
Sorry for the sad mood. But I am now back in the rhetorical writing saddle, and will be posting some more useful tips and stories over the coming weeks.
Apologies for my absence and take care.