"Oh yes," she insisted, "there's always something one can do, they don't have to suffer."
I gave up trying to convince her and realized she just needed to believe that. Believe me (as I already knew then) people with chronic pain have tried EVERYTHING known both natural and allopathic, Eastern and Western and everywhere in between. None of us like to think that someday it will be us in that situation but it might.
This came to mind because in the last couple of weeks I was hit with a new painful condition. I didn't have enough pain in my life already. My left foot suddenly started cramping one evening as I was blissfully reading a good book on my Kindle. I wondered what I might have done to strain the muscle because it began with my arch. I massaged it and that seemed to help but the pain increased again and kept getting worse. I wondered if I might be getting cellulitis again (that being the only other thing that caused very sudden onset foot pain). We went to a doc who didn't know what it was, ordered some tests that didn't show anything. I was scheduled for an x ray and podiatry appointment. Thus began a very painful week where I could barely walk and the percocet I was given didn't really do much for the pain. By the time I got to the podiatrist, though, the pain was more localized to the area of my big toe and the large joint at its base. The skin over the joint was turning red.
Mystery solved--GOUT. This surprised us because my husband had gout and it was related to his diet--which is mostly very different from my diet in all the ways gout loves. As a vegetarian who rarely drinks I didn't think I'd be susceptible. While the doc went to get some cortisone we talked it over and suddenly I thought of the days that I take a booster for my diuretic to eliminate excess fluid build up and how it depletes me. I said to Dave, "I wonder if the diuretics concentrate the uric acid in my blood?" So we asked the doctor and he said yes, diuretics can be a factor and also daily aspirin. If you have gout you are also at risk for kidney stones. *shudder*
The cortisone shot did eventually relieve the pain after a couple of days along with medication designed to treat the gout. Getting the cortisone shot was a special sort of hell. I'm normally pretty stoic while getting procedures, shots, and so on but I shrieked. It kept throbbing after the shot, too, and I couldn't bear to wear my shoes and socks.
At least if it happens again I will be more likely to recognize it and we can start treating it right away. I was able to go out today and not need a cane!
Have you (gently) hugged someone with chronic illness and pain today?