acceptance, accident, addiction, attitude, back pain, brain fog, car accident, cat, chronic pain, disability, doctors, funny, happiness, happy, health, humor, illness, inflammation, injury, invisible disability, invisible illness, lifestyle, medical, medication, meditation, mindfulness, nerve pain, pain, pills, prescription
Comments 7

Tuesday Check-In: Ham Hands, Acute Pain, and Kitty Cats

I’ve neglected this blog because my hands haven’t been working well.

Whenever my neck and shoulders are angry (which is often, we fight a lot), my hands turn into what I call “ham hands.”

Ham + hands

Ham + hands = delicious. (Courtesy photo.)

Liquor is good, too.

Liquor is good, too. (Courtesy photo.)

Currently the entire left side of my body is being difficult. It hurts to bend my fingers, to type, to hold things. Today is better, but I am still moving much slower than normal. If anyone has recommendations for avid writers who can’t really hold a pencil or type well, I would welcome them. (I am looking into voice recording/transcribing software, but who wants to hear their own voice that much?)

Since I haven’t been writing, I have been reading many articles and debating what I wanted my next topic to be. Top 10 most painful conditions (six of which I apparently had or currently have)? Easing pain with fascial work? Adorable cat and dog named Ruth and Idgie?

Let’s talk about adorable animals.

Not Ruth. But CAT! (Courtesy photo.)

Not Ruth. But CAT! (Courtesy photo.)

Ruth and Idgie are a cat and dachshund, respectively, who were rescued and eventually adopted by a shelter called Hollywood Houndz. They were found together in a cardboard box that was dumped in someone’s driveway in Central Florida. (It’s always Florida.)

Ruth is a sort-of quadriplegic cat that can’t move her limbs well at all, and Idgie has become her protector. This story is from early 2014, but it resonated with me because of how happy Ruth looks. She can barely move her limbs, but she doesn’t care! She’s a cat! She just bustles on and flops her way over to Idgie. The two of them love each other fiercely. They were adopted by the shelter that was taking care of them, and now they both technically have 14 mommies.

It’s all about attitude. My parents tried to tell me this for the longest time, but it’s one of those realizations you need to have on your own. Obviously I don’t know whether cats have the emotional range necessary for this discussion, but for whatever reason, Ruth refuses to acquiesce to her disability. She determinedly army-crawls her way over to her friend and does not wait for Idgie to come to her. She doesn’t curl up in the corner of her cage; she is bright and animated, looking for petting and playtime. She participates.

A disability is inherently depressing. It can bring you down and make you want to retreat from the world, because if you aren’t moving — if you aren’t participating — you can’t be hurt worse. You feel like there is literally nothing else in the universe beside your pain and suffering. Before my surgery last year, I could not see the edges of my pain. I couldn’t get outside of my own head to examine the situation. It’s like you’re on a battlefield and standing in a cloud of mustard gas, choking and spitting, unable to catch your breath because your lungs are disintegrating. You react. You think only of the next second. That’s all you can do.

Somehow I will get ahead of my condition. I went to see my primary care doctor this past week to get some meds to hold me over. I haven’t detoxed further since this entry, mainly because coming down even that little bit rattled my foundations. My PCP gave me enough Vicodin to get to my pain management appointment at the end of this week, all the while waxing poetic about how narcotic medication is only going to harm me in the end.

He glanced at me while reviewing my medical history and asked, “Nobody can figure out why you’re in so much pain?”

I laughed. “Nope.”

There is apparently nothing left to fix on a structural basis. Bones aren’t pressing against my spinal cord in a way that necessitates immediate surgical intervention. Meanwhile, my mid-back burns. My neck and shoulders have throbbing pain. My arms and legs are either useless or filled with broken glass. And my head has a permanent cloud of black fog threaded through it, which is interrupted by bolts of lightning.

So what do I do? Soldier on. Go to work. Live my life as I can, when I can. That’s the only thing left. That or curling up in the corner of a cage and waiting, breath held, for it all to end. Ruth wouldn’t do that, so neither will I!

Despite everything happening in the world, this life is a gift. It really might be the best thing that will ever happen to me, and this body, flawed as it is, might be the only one I get to have. There is love in my life. I have family. I have security. And I will make this body of mine the most efficient vessel that it can be for as long as I have it.



  1. Reblogged this on Faloolar and commented:
    Chronic pain is one of the most debilitating, and least acknowledged, conditions a person can suffer from.

    Remember: Never accept being told to ‘push through it’, or that ‘it’s all in your head’. Remember that if something causes you pain, then there is something wrong! Never stop fighting for an answer, even if you have to see 7 different doctors. You are worth the ability to control what ails you.

    Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire your strength in discontinuing your medications, I have had RSD/CRPS (a chronic pain syndrome that spread to my full body and internal organs) and can’t imagine doing it. I’m at a 7/10 on a good day and 9/10 on a bad day, I like to save my 10s for emergency situations. I understand having difficulty with your hands and other issues you described. I had to start using a transcribing program, called Dragon Naturally Speaking, because I can’t take the pain from when I try to type and it was always filled with typos from my loss fine motor skills. I hope and pray your discontinuation of your medications goes well.

    I understand each and every topic you covered here. My first dog and our first cat that were adopted off the street almost 7yrs apart. When my dog started having severe health issues, from the abuse she suffered her entire 1st year of her life, our cat was her protector, comforter and guide when our dog started to go blind. Our dog treated the cat like he was here puppy and eventually he adopted dog behaviors, like barking, and she cared for him all she could when he was recovering from being fixed and healing from the malnutrition and abuse he suffered from living on the street.

    The way you describe your pain and your doctor’s inability to find any physical reason sounds like the RSD/CRPS I have (you can learn about it at because that is one of the key symptoms of it. Your pain management doctor should be able to help give you a correct diagnosis after some tests and reviewing previous medical records.

    I’m hoping and praying for the best outcome, correct diagnosis and treatment plan for you as soon as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been reading up on Mac OS Dictation versus Dragon, so your experience is super helpful in terms of decision-making. As for lowering medications, that’s come to a stand still. It’s too hard to get off the Lyrica while also working–can’t do it.
      I also just got blood test results back from a rheumatologist at Beth Israel hospital who was basically like, you’ve tried everything I’d think of prescribing, what do you want me to do? My ESR was a bit elevated, but otherwise normal. I don’t know why he wouldn’t think RSD or fibro, though. I show literally 99% of the symptoms.
      Your dog and cat sound adorable. 🙂 I think my cat would just eat any new friend we brought into the house….
      Thank you for your lovely comment! I hope that you feel better soon as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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