I suppose everyone has a breaking point when it comes to pain. I have several friends who have endured headaches so bad they actually vomit from the sheer pain. My brother broke his collarbone, which is thought to be one of the most painful bones you can break. And while I know nothing firsthand of childbirth I am assured by many that it is no walk in the park either. And yet I have a friend who endured gallstones as if it were nothing more than a stubbed toe, but she cannot stand to be nauseous or worse, vomit. Everyone has their own specific breaking point when it comes to physical pain or discomfort.
Last year during my first (hopefully last) root canal, it was thoroughly unpleasant, though never once did I feel defeated by it. Just glad when it was over! Really the same goes for the spinal tap, while quite painful, not unbearable. Even leaking spinal fluid and getting the raging "spinal headaches" = extremely unpleasant, but still do-able. Then MS played the "Let's make Caroline's legs feel on fire" game and there were moments I would cry and be really whiny and pathetic about it and my poor husband would keep switching out the icepacks, covering my legs with them in effort to trick my brain into thinking I was cold and not on fire. And it really was painful but luckily we found a medicine to keep it under control and no searing pain since.
Then 3+ weeks ago my little "boa constrictor" became some sort of mutant-giant-anaconda-freak-of-nature whose sole purpose in life is to try and squeeze the life out of me. And so for 3+ long weeks I have had a heck of a lot of trouble catching my breath. Quite literally. I have a new respect for asthmatics. How do people live like this? There are seconds, sometimes minutes where the pressure I feel on my chest is so intense I am 100% convinced I am taking my last breath. I was sitting at home the other day, struggling to get a nice normal breath and suddenly got very dizzy (I probably hyperventilated myself trying so damn hard to breath normally!!) I quickly layed flat on the floor, propping my feet on the couch, in hopes I wasnt about to pass out or something. Still feeling dizzy/queasy/hot/light-headed I am thinking:
"Oh Crap. Am I about to stop breathing or something? What is happening here? OH CRAP. I am home alone and if I cant breathe I can't dial 911 and I die alone in this apt with my bipolar cat who is certainly no Lassie! Ok, so if I can make it outside and pass out in the street of my apt complex there is more of a chance someone might see me and call for help. I should also probably grab that piece of paper in my wallet listing the 500 different meds I am on so some 22 year old ER doctor doesn't give me something that will actually kill me instead of fix me. Wait! Does 911 accept text messages?? If I can't breathe I could text them before I pass out, right?"
Yes, these are the thoughts that flew through my brain in the matter of about 5 seconds. And 5 seconds after that, I got in one good, deep breath and knew I wasn't going to die that day.
But seriously. I am 28 years old! Am I going to have to invest in one of those necklaces old women wear with the big red buttons??
"I've fallen! And I can't get up!"
This boa, this anaconda, whatever this is seems to have taken up permanent residence in the past week to 10 days and I gotta say, I may have reached my breaking point here.
Maybe it's because I trained as a singer for so many years. I mean it took me over a year just to learn HOW to breathe properly to support my singing voice! So not being able to ever feel as if I can catch my breath, the pain, discomfort, the dizziness, the fear of stopping breathing altogether...it has truly pushed me to the brink. Maybe its simply that breath is our lifeforce. It doesn't get any more basic than breathing, right? And feeling that basic need being threatened is really scary and horrible.
I had 2 consecutive hours today where breathing didn't feel like a chore and I didn't feel an elephant sitting somewhere on my chest. Sadly, 2 whole hours in a row was a record for me lately. This is ridiculous and its no way to live. Can't I cash in some other body part and trade it for this breathing thing?
(Watch as MS Girl trys to bargain with the MonSter):
"Look, my left arm- I hardly use it, don't really need it. I'm a rightie. I could get along without it. So make it numb or weak or whatever. Take it instead! Or my vision- seriously! I have gotten pretty used to not seeing so well, to pirate patches and all that. My left eye is pretty useless anyway. Do you wanna blind it out or something? I just need to be able to breathe and not worry once an hour that I am on the verge of my imminent death!"
(And here is where you know she is Really getting desperate):
"Look, just give me back the Fire Legs. Really. I can handle it. I bought 2 new ice packs, which means my freezer is stocked full. I can cover myself in ice and really, its not that bad. I mean ok, its Bad, but NOT AS BAD AS THIS STUPID INABILITY TO EVER CATCH MY BREATH!"
(MS Girl attempts to take a slow, deliberate breath to assemble her thoughts. Sadly she only manages to make herself dizzy and then has some sort of coughing fit where it seems she only choked on her own saliva or something equally stupid):
"You know you really aren't very smart to play your hand this way. We have a long life together my little MonSter friend, but if you wanna play your spades upfront, that's fine. I'm in it to win the war. And I have troops the likes of which you've never seen. And I am officially Done asking The Powers That Be for help in 'making this pain go away'. Oh no, Dear MonSter...I have wised up to your shenanigans and I know now better what to ask for..."
I just ask for strength. Just give me the strength I need to fight this new battle and I will never never never give up the war. I don't ask you to fix me, to cure me or to heal me. If you have the ability or inclination for that sort of thing, there are a lot of people who need it Far more than I do. Heal them, okay? I just need a little more strength to get through this one without losing my mind or my fabulous sense of humor, okay?