Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fuck that back - I'm high on painkillers

So it is, on a gloomy Sunday morning, when I woke up to excruciating pain in my right lower back.  The same pain that started last Thursday but kind of subsided the next day.  As I painstakingly hauled myself off the bed, each movement eliciting a small yelp of pain, each move of limbs like an ageing 80-year-old grandma, I felt the world spinning, the vision blurred and stars appeared.  As I brushed my teeth, I felt myself slowly but surely crumbling to the floor, slowly to be engulfed by darkness.  That was when I knew.  I knew I couldn't move. I couldn't brush my teeth.  With the lightning speed of a crutches holding grandma, I went back to bed, trying out every possible position - left, right, center, back flat, tummy flat, curling like a foetus, trying to get comfortable and squeeze in a little bit of sleep to fight the dizziness.  None worked.  The pain persisted.  There were times when, if I hold my breathe for a moment, I can get 5 seconds of peace, of nirvana where the pain temporarily cease to exist for that magical moment and I felt normal for once.  I did that for long periods of time, to kid myself into believing all is not lost.  But, although I don't use much air when diving, I can't possibly not breathe for long.  And the pain eventually hits back with a vengeance.  A fucking mad man on a vengeance run. 
What happened?  If I had an answer, I would not be feeling so lost!
It all started on a kinda ok Thursday in the office.  I was in the office, doing my usual thing, not exerting any pressure of force.  I took the shuttle bus to lunch, still healthy and kicking and jumping.  When I finally arrived at FOOD, my hand automatically went to grasp my right lower back, by the side when the pain first hit.  I shook it off, thinking maybe just my imagination or just something that will pass.  As I walked along the food feast, all the food suddenly did not appeal to me at all as time and again, I find myself clutching tight to my right lower back.  Not the spinal cord, but the right of it.  The pain did not go away, and each step I took felt like thousand knives stabbing at me.  A friend told me to be careful as one of his friend got hospitalized for 3 days due to mysterious back pain.  I was scared.  As the day past, it seemed as if the pain would go away. I had no trouble really walking or sleeping.  As it was, I felt good enough to play tennis the next day!  I know now that people will lament the fact that I deserved it. I should have known better than to play tennis.  But I did know!  He pain was gone, I felt fine, and when I did play tennis, my movements were not restricted.  Though a little stiff, but no problems at all.
Then came Saturday, when I only felt muscle ache along my thighs and no where else!  So I thought I must be fine!  Who knew, the back pain decided to punish me for whatever reason unbeknown to me.  That was when on a Saturday night, I tossed and turned, trying to find the best position to sleep.  It started out well, but crisis happened in the middle of the night, when just by laying there, the pain stabbed me hard!  So hard it was difficult to breathe.  So hard it was difficult to sleep as pain kept me up.  I tried holding my breath, but I can only hold that many times.  Sleep came and go intermittently.  It felt like someone snapped my muscle tendons and a thousand knights were trampling on the snapped tendons like crumbling tofu.
So it is, that I'm sitting hunched by my laptop, typing this, leaving a legacy in the event that you don't hear from me.  It is Sunday, there are no X-ray facilities or any form of scanning facilities open in the country called Singapore.  I can only get more painkillers and see what the doc says.  It is the sort of pain that makes me go "Just fucking kill me and end my misery".  Exactly the same feeling I got back in Jan 2013 when I got really sick, with a fucking migraine and fainting spell.  These are the times, when you just want to fucking not feel a thing.  Like when your life fucks you up, your work destroying your mere existence, people around you hurting you left, right and center, when your heart breaks into a million pieces.  These are the times, when I go "I don't want to feel a thing".  It happened too many times in 2012.  I told myself I'm not going to let it happen this year.  Of course, any attempt is futile.  You know life plays its own games, and you have no say in any of the games and rules of life.  At least so far, I have tried to protect myself from emotional pain.  Believe me I have tried, and it is not easy.  The heart is always rebellious.  But I've tried to condition it to the frequency of my brain.  There has been near misses but no major disaster YET.  Learn to pull away when an impending disaster seems to loom. 
But physical pain?  Shit!  That really sucks.  How do you distance yourself away from physical pain? Maybe morphine helps. For those who know me, I have a pretty high tolerance level for pain.  I've cut myself deep with a knife, crushed my ankle, scrapped my chin oh too many times, and not a single tear shed.  I've always tried to hide the injuries, more out of fear than pain.  Fear of letting my parents know I've once again injured myself, and they'll get all worked up and upset.  So I tend not to tell anyone, and heal myself of the injuries, eventually.  This time, I tried and I failed.  I am scared, still am.  When the pain is so not tolerable that every single slight movement makes me cringe, I am scared.  Scared of what is happening, scared of what may happen.  When the pain is unknown, it creates another vile of secrecy and fear.  Fear of the unknown is always the most potent fear.  At one point, I almost cried in pain.  That says a lot about the agony I am in right now.  And for the first time, I told my mum I needed to see a doctor because of back pain.  I reckoned there is no way I can hide this one away, seeing that I walk like a grandma, back hunched, hand clutching the back and walking like a snail. 
The trip to the doc's earned me a haul of painkillers.  5 Types in fact.  I asked the doc "Are the painkillers strong, like really strong? Cos it fucking hurts like hell!" Ok, so I didn't use the 'F' word, nor the 'H' word, but I think I conveyed the message.  He gave me a smile and went on to put more line items in the prescription and said "These should work".  I would have liked to be shot in the back, instant gratification probably, but I'll let the medicines do their work first.  The diagnosis - Inconclusive.  Possibly muscle strain, but let's see how it heals in the next few days.  And I got myself 2 days of medical leave to rest my fucking back.  That's a plus. At least I'm not busy at my work place, so I can rest.  It will be kinda boring though, seeing that I'm like a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuver.  Which probably means I'll be glued to the TV most of the time, watching TV series and sitcoms.  Wasting my time away. 
I just want to get better, and I have to believe that I will.  Don't worry.  A little back pain is not going to kill me.  It might murder me though...

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