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Sue and the Seven Dwarfs of Chronic Pain
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Yes, I know, it should be Snow White, but it isn’t. There is seldom any twittering of any kind at our house but birds do like to eat the moss off our roof outside our bedroom window, on a little hip roof; does that count? I also don’t mean to disparage any “little people.” I just started thinking how some of the original fairy tale dwarfs reminded me of my own moods, tirades and parts of my everyday life.
The following are mypersonal dwarfswho live at my house:
DOC. This is pretty much the story of my life. With so many medical problems to deal with every day, I often wonder how I could have remained alive if I hadn’t gone to nursing school. As we all have discovered there are many kinds of docs out there. I know, I know, that sounds disrespectful but it’s not like they’re gods, right? Now when Bugs Bunny says, “What’s up Doc?” that’s a little different.
I find as I grow older the docs get younger. It’s so strange having a 15 year old examine you or give you medical advice. I keep looking at his face to see if he shaves or not. Doctors young and old are part of the equation of our lives. When we find a good one…boy, do we hang onto them. Then, just when we get broken in they have the audacity to die, retire or move. I think what bothers me the most about this dependence on doctors is the inability to know if they’re really good or not. Kind is good but it isn’t going to keep us alive. I want knowledge…current knowledge. It is a nice bonus if he/she isn’t a jerk.
It would be wonderful, also, if you could argue with your doctor, like you do the plumber, instead of waiting for the seat to fall out from under you into the floor with each question like a scene from Sweeney Todd. These are men and women. They just went to school longer than most of us and have a great deal invested. They are simply problem-solvers, they are not deity, royalty or perfection.
GRUMPY: This little grouch is always lurking in the wings of my life ready to pop out at a moment’s notice. It bothers me because some of “his” tirades are totally illogical. If you feel terrible, are feeling pain, nausea or some other misery, it’s such a slippery slope to slide right into grouchy. There are many days I could give him a good clouting and come out the winner. Of this, I’m certain.
Quite often my grouchiness is unmotivated or barely motivated or just feels like an eruption coming from deep within me. I’m not always certain when the fuse is lit but explosions do often prevail. I know, shocking, isn’t it?
HAPPY: I look for this character every day but he is elusive. You would think he would be right out there in front leading the cheering section of life but he often hides out, totally intimidated by pain or one of the other dwarfs. Even though it is a game of hide and seek, I still find him worth the search if a day is going to be worth the effort and the breath.Happy, I’m looking for you.
SLEEPY: Now Sleepy, he is always very near. For all I know he is sitting on Happy. The nights of restful sleep are illusive and all of us know about this guy. We go after him withmelatonin, muscle relaxants, warm milk and new beds but he sticks like glue. Where is the Sandman when you need him? I guess he’s napping; sure, but where am I? I’m awake watching an old movie while deeply resenting my beloved husband for snoring with each breath because he can descend into the deepest level of sleep within 30 seconds.
BASHFUL: He is the one I know the least about. It’s like he and I live on separate sides of the planet. If I had my own name as a dwarf it certainly would not be Bashful. I think it would be Chatty or Gabby. Because I spend so much time alone, I find myself talking to everyone I see, meet or come across. I don’t think I’m a bore, because I find me fascinating but when I look at it from another person’s perspective, I’m probably not interesting at all. I know I’m funny because of the backlash I get along with remarks and laughter. I pray all my chattiness brings joy to others because there is far too little of it in this world. Sometimes I get the feeling, because I’m older, people expect me to act old, speak old and think old but alas, I have the thought processes of a young smart aleck. Thank God.
SNEEZY: Now for this guy, I will have to say I don’t sneeze that much and come on, who cares? I would have to throw in there, along with Sneezy, the characters of Itchy, Rashy and Nosey. Yesterday after returning from the market I had to rub my hands with aloe vera/cortisone cream to rid them of a painful, burning, itching sensation I often get when lifting tons of groceries and pushing a shopping cart. I believe it is the way my hands have of expressing their displeasure with me and something I have done. Rashy often awakens me at night with itching in the oddest places, like a forearm, my back, etc. I would also lump extreme photosensitivity into the mix with Sneezy as an allergic response. I try not to take Benadryl during the day for fear Sleepy will visit and forget to return at bedtime. I know all of these are definitely a histamine response.
DOPEY: Oh my, now this little guy seems to be turning up more and more in my life. I constantly forget where I put something like a bill I was going to pay, my keys, my purse, my shoes and my mind. I often use the wrong words…close but no cigar. I frequently make out lists of to do or to buy but usually lose them. The other day I lost the phone here in the house. We have several but they’re fairly new and I couldn’t figure out how to push the button which would alert me where the lost phone was; because I had lost the instruction book that came with the phones. I like to tell myself I am distracted by my pain but I’m certain much of it is due to medications or just the rheumatoid disease process itself and its affect and stress on the body and brain.
I have to add one more character to Dopey and that would be Clumsy. For instance, twice this week I have knocked over a full glass of liquid sitting on my bedside table. Of course, the top drawer was open and that’s where I keep my notes on pads, my lip conditioner, hand creams and pens along with a few medications. Once it was seltzer which is a pretty easy clean-up but once it was ginger tea with honey. Sticky is so irritating, isn’t it? In case you were wondering, yes, I do have to have a glass because I can no longer take pills unless I’m drinking from a glass. With bottles, you get all that backwash. Ugly. Then, last night when Jim and I were both finally asleep at the same time there was a crash. Jake, our little miniature-Schnauzer who normally shares my multiple pillows with me on my head, had fallen off the bed and landed in the open drawer and, you guessed it, spilled another glass of seltzer. Thankfully, neither he nor my favorite bedside lamp was injured. It was simply more of the same clean-up. He then had the audacity to growl at me when I was picking him up out of the drawer like it was my fault?
Clumsy seems to be dropping things which I am holding onto. Why is he doing that? I have three bruised toes from said objects falling on my feet since my feet are usually directly under my hands, at least when I’m standing. I think when I’m lying down I just drop glasses of liquid and, of course, the dog.
Well my friends, that’s pretty much all I have to say about the dwarfs in my life. I do hope yours are better-behaved than mine.
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