You know, I had always believed that I knew what pain was...that I could cope with the sensations and endure. I believed in my infinite arrogance that people who had to rely on pain medication, to any significant degree, were weak. That they were somehow inferior to me as a result. I believed that through concentration, a meditative mind-state, and force of will that I could overcome pain with minimal chemical assistance.
I endured the most excruciating pains of my life without ever feeling dependent on medication. I suffered from migraines that would leave other folks crying for relief and often didn't even take the medication necessary to relieve my unpleasant symptoms. I dealt with pain in my kidneys and back that left me begging for relief and thought myself somehow a better person for my ability to endure. I was stupid and I owe most of the people in the world, people whom I quietly looked down on, a big apology.
Until this past Thursday, I didn't know what pain was. I'd never experienced the kind of gut wrenching, throat-ripping agony that really qualified as pain until my accident. When they managed to pull me out of my car on Thursday...I screamed. The raw, deep seated kind of screaming that people who know what real pain is do. I've never in my entire life felt such unabated agony as that. Then it got better. Pain medicines were administered that quashed the worst of it. By the time I finished the first surgery, they had me on a morphine pump, allowing me to self-medicate up to once every eight minutes. I drifted through Friday and most of Saturday on a narcotic haze that made the entire situation seem far more bearable. Probably more bearable than it actually was.
Then, Saturday evening they changed my treatment for pain. Instead of a self-administered, as needed, pain medication, I receive two pills every 6 hours. I'm left relying on nurses to bring me the relief I so seriously need, because I am in pain. For the first few hours after I get a dose, I am fine and all is well enough with my world, but as the clock ticks down toward the next dose, things change. By the time I get into my final hour before a new dose, I'm watching the clock and praying that the nurses aren't late with my meds. I hate feeling this way, I hate needing something like this, but I don't have any real options. I can't endure without the help.
For the first time in my life, I really, really know what it is to live with pain.