Painful Monday Musings

The following would be a highly truthful statement:

I have been a bitch for the past month.

It would become even more candid if I also stated that I do not see it as “bitchiness” as much as it is the expression of my habitually caustic and cynical sense of humor in my blog posts. One could almost believe me to be a rabid left-wing freak of nature.

Dear Readers, I certainly am bitchy as well as cynical (and caustic) but I assure you that I have not morphed into the Ranting Cow of the Apocalypse. (That’s like a horse only more useful in that it provides wholesome milk and flank steaks.)

Surely my wonderful Christian friends sat in agog (and Magog) of my recent “fundy” blog posts. They have almost certainly never encountered the sort of lunatics that those posts were attributed to. Rest assured, dear Readers, Autrice has not turned her back on God (even if she would like to place some of His more fanatical followers on a deserted island…… and drop a bomb on said island……. containing roughly several thousand kilotons of napalm-B. Bring marshmallows.)

I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, as it turns out. Napalm-B is a horrific substance. Rather, let us simply whack the offending freaks with our slippers. This method works rather well on spiders.

The catalyst for my rancor is indeterminable. (At this early hour I could not even tell you if I misspelled that word.) Perhaps 80% of it is attributable to my body’s inability to cut me some slack in the pain department.

I have problems sleeping. Falling to sleep is not the problem. Sleeping without massive muscle contraction is. My nocturnal pose closely resembles a fossilized theropod or other such small bi-pedal beast. The muscles in my neck and spine slowly contort my body backwards and then cramp. My arms draw towards my chest and my hands ball up so tightly that I awake with impressions of my fingernails embossed in my palms. The slightest stimulus – a breeze from the ceiling fan, Better Half stirring in his sleep, the Italian Greyhound shifting his position, the cat landing softly at the foot of the bed – causes my body to spasm. I take twice the amount of muscle relaxant, to no avail.

Whereas the spasms are painful, the muscle pain felt upon awaking is hellish. It feels very much like a “whole body” Charlie horse. My jaw and the muscles in my face and head throb from clenching. I feel shaky from the amount of lactic acid that built up during the course of the night. My muscle attachment points shriek in protest as I move about. There have been several mornings where I awoke only to become conscious of the level of pain I was about to endure and promptly cried myself back to sleep.

I have come to realize that the pain assessment scale utilized by hospitals during triage is rubbish. My “5” is your “10” and my “10” would leave you either unconscious or beseeching Dr. Jack Kevorkian to put you out of your misery.

I have always been blessed with a high pain threshold. I can recall breaking both my arm and collarbone as a child and not shedding a single tear over it (pain scale level = 2.) I have fallen down canyon walls, hurled myself over fences and participated in mosh pits without batting an eyelash (pain scale level = 1.) I put off having emergency gallbladder removal surgery simply because I knew it was a “bad time to take off work” and “the pain wasn’t so intolerable” (average daily pain scale level = 5, gallbladder posterior necrotic.) When I tore a tendon in my leg, I was able to cope with the pain even as I groused about the cast and limited mobility (doesn’t even blip on the pain scale.)

My “10” does not cause me to lose consciousness. I would presume falling from an airplane and being impaled upon the Chrysler Building to be a “10” or at least close to it. Passing a gallstone (replete with grey skin, sweat and the shakes) scored at that level. My nocturnal “fossil dinosaur dance” registers a “7” currently, with the pain level at “9” upon waking.

Sadly, I am not very sympathetic towards those who whimper at the slightest discomfort. If I can persist in walking around with infected wisdom teeth for a week then you can endure three seconds of discomfort when they inject you with Novocain.

I am empathetic towards suffering however. I understand just how crushing pain can be. I can appreciate the feeling of dread that often accompanies chronic pain. I do know what it feels like to go into shock due to pain. I would certainly fluff your pillow and hold your hand were you to be incapacitated by it.

As to my cynicism:

The other 20% is probably due to my feeling as if nothing can be accomplished. I had so many summer plans that were left undone because I was in no state to carry them out. Fall is rapidly approaching and there is much I wish to do to prepare for the holidays but my nagging doubts defeat me even before the first leaf on my tree turns orange. To be blunt: it is depressing the hell out of me.

Depression eats away at motivation. (I am not severely depressed but I am apathetic towards life in general.) Daily chores pile up as I “put them off until I am well enough to do them” and indeed what would have once been effortless has now become a nearly insurmountable task. Factor in Better Half’s “I need to rest/it is too hot” and hardly a thing gets done around here. I am not griping at Better Half per se (as he is disabled from the Gulf War), but I am weary of the eternal argument that usually begins with “this house is filthy…”

Better Half does not seem to realize that (for me) flexing my muscles and getting out of bed is the greatest and most painful challenge of the day. The pain does not decrease as the day progresses; I wake up enough to “suck it up and drive on” (i.e. endure it.)

I do not know if Better Half really can not do something because of a bad day, or if he is simply saying that he can’t in order to avoid doing it. He “cried wolf” quite a few times in our early marriage (the end result being my throwing up my hands in resignation and doing the task myself.)

My lack of proper sleep creates a rather short fuse. During those moments when he announces that he needs to rest, my mind goes through this little conversation with itself:


“Fuck it all, if it’s not done now then there will be even more to do tomorrow!!!!!!!”

“No!!!!!!! Christ, please, no! We need to get this done and I can’t do it. I'm a failure because I can't pick up the slack today.”

What actually comes out of my mouth is: “alright” followed by a soft sigh. This acquiescent reaction can be attributed to the depression. It is not Better Half's fault nor do I blame him.

One of our previous exchange students, Vlad, will be coming to the United States sometime after September 15. He currently does not have a clean room to sleep in, nor is the bathroom in any state for houseguests. The office is in absolute shambles. The kitchen needs straightening (it is not too bad) and the floors need a good deep cleaning. I am living in a state of dread that all these things will be done at the last minute (as is always the case when we have company over) and doing so will leave us in a state of exhaustion.

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