I don’t want to be awake. It’s been a perfect night for sleep, rain in Stockholm. Tin roof, comfy bed, the whole kit and caboodle. Real as can be, exhausted by additional pain from flying while disabled, I lie here wondering how will the special chronic repetitive pain syndrome diagnosis is going to play out. Later today I check into Uppsala universitet sjukhuset smartkliniken, that is Uppsala University’s pain clinic for a one week assessment. From this poking and prodding of both my mind and body it will be determined if a team of specialists will have me back for a month long stay. How does one rehabilitate chronic pain? I am too far gone to think about the entirety of it but will say, from what I have read, my brain is scrambled, the coding has been buried or tiny mice in my head have chewed through the wires. I am never free from pain, rested and refreshed or in the slightest comfortable. Hope is on the table and I want to be that kind of human who believes, ” change is gonna come, yes it is.” Lm attempts to move forward and cry the entire few hours and minutes I have left with fear and angst using the “why me spiel”. Rock is in place, ready for whatever comes next and has tucked Lm into a safe space for the time being. Real as it gets has taken center stage and I, the woman almost sixty years old will wrestle with fervor to let the rainy, dark morning give me some time for my eyelids to grow heavy, for my own purring snore to begin and perhaps I’ll be gifted a dream where I am unchained from my physical limitations and run a muck carefree.
Chronic Pain; The Modalities of Madness
“It’s that TIME of year, the gruelling, catastrophic melancholy jingles of good tidings deepen Lm’s bastard of a headache.” Rock reminds Lm it’s not her “JOB” to be jolly. Lm thought last year was tough with her mother visiting; fibromyalgia, brain fog and her severe spinal pain made being merry impossible; polite and engaging was a morose daily event. Lm’s mother still does not get it even though she says she does. Her mother wakes at seventy-nine years old in good health, fully dresses, puts on her jewellery and lipstick then the giant elephant, PAIN in the ass, Lm woke slovenly, unrested, clad in in her night clothes, needing the toilet and wishing her mother to be quiet. “Good morning!” “How do you feel today?” Blah, blah, blah would ensue, and Lm would use the bathroom then excuse herself to her room again. She had wanted to shout and completely lose her fucking cool and say, ” I don’t know what a good morning is!” “I feel like shit”. What a tiring memory; simply recounting it drives steel bars through Lm’s ears, clanging, banging, whistling to the point of insanity, “Tinnitus”, Rock recalls. Lm glares at Rock, “Shut up, you don’t have ears.” Now, after having covid last March 2022 Lm has made a steady decline, like a little steam engine riding it’s breaks she slowly took each turn, believed she was in control and would not careen into the mountain sides and land in a big heap culminating into a pile of unsalvageable parts. Yet, she did. She is a heap of bitter moments, throbbing bones, more and more fatigued each minute as she lies entangled within her dreadful blob of perpetual turmoil. Dreams are cruel and vivid now. Christmas music isn’t cutting it for her and Rock pushing her to wash her hair, take more pain meds only irritates her. An unwelcomed mouse gnaws in the ceiling above her bed and her eyes burn from lack of rest. Sleeping is her game now. Fa la la la la. Rock is not as strong now. He has always carried her with crushing will and managed her weaknesses; it’s obvious he is vulnerable, too. She has clung to his ability to push through the physical pain, the abuse, the sickness, the past, the failures and smile. He can’t do it alone now and is scared. Who will help Lm? Who will see she is too weak to fight much longer? She does have two promising doctors now and soon will fly off to a special hospital for chronic repetitive pain patients. What about her CPTSD, BadDad, unresolved “Black Sheep” night terrors? What about suicidal ideation? No one wants to hear this part. Amsterdam is sounding like a good place to depart this goddamn nightmare. Laying on sofas, forgetting words, sleeping for hours now while it seemed like a romp in the snow wasn’t so long ago, a wintery walk through the forest, cooking masterfully with passion, playing a game of cards with the kids, being the “I got this” kind of mother. Lm knows she doesn’t have this now. She won’t climb a mountain, canoe or see Botswana nor make it back to her favourite old haunts with her husband. She dreams of parties and dancing, remembers her youthful beauty and laugh. She can’t take care of her surroundings and just wants out. Rock can’t console her more. He has run out of ideas. There are no good surprises coming. She will sleep through the holidays, check out her last shot at being “better” at the special pain rehabilitation centre and then come back, just the same, turn sixty in January in an uneventful way and wonder no more “why me?”. She will let go of Rock, stop dreaming and stop trying to make friends stay. No MORE existing through this shit, she will give in. She doesn’t want to be felt sorry for, sympathy and prayers. She wants OUT! Because NOBODY truly knows what it takes for her to live. The anxiety, lying in a pool of regrets, wrong turns, and basically her dumbass MINDFULNESS journey leading her right back to what she really is, useless. A total drag. Someone who holds everyone she loves back. Pride has left on the last ship out of here. Divided. Lm is now a thing. An “it”. Rock stumbles and TRUTH agrees, the two of them are in for a big last fight before the bell rings and the winner is declared. Honestly, in the boxing ring of life, he doubts either will rise again.