"Solving" the Pain
Break Out Those Pencils!
It’s that time again: Andi gets to play with a hermit crab essay she’s drooled over since she first saw it! Talk about double the fun—this one’s interactive! (Nothing but the best for Fibro Awareness Month)
Yes, I provided the answer key at the bottom. It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to take a stab at things or not. But I hope you enjoy this unique form of creative non-fiction—at least a little bit.
3. Was it the shift in the weather? (Early-Spring to Mid-Spring is enough of a change to count where my body is concerned) The hour I spent scrubbing the kitchen after I told myself I was only going to wipe down the counters? Keeping my word and dragging my worthless butt to the gym because I didn’t want to be lazy? Or did all of the stars and planets align in a weird pattern I don’t know about? Is it going to be short-term (a week) or will it move in for a long-term extended stay?
5. I’m walking over tiny baby cactuses. Or are they lava rocks? (Don’t people pay exorbitant spa fees for that?) If I find out someone spread crouton crumbs all over the house for no good reason (what would be a good reason…), I’ll execute them. Little invisible pins and needles digging into my flesh with every single step. I suppose I could simply ask my doctor to amputate my feet to put an end to this ceaseless torment…
9. National Fibromyalgia Awareness Month
10. Fibro patients may find a deficiency in this vitamin in their blood work. (two words)
12. I’ve seen the flower a thousand times. I drew it across the bottom of my pictures as a child (mostly because it was the simplest and the easiest and everyone could recognize even my clumsy attempts). It doesn’t have a complicated name like ranunculus (thank you, brain, for deciding you know that word). It appears in a quote from You’ve Got Mail, one of my favorite sappy movies. But because of this failing of my brain, all I can come up with is “yellow and white pretty plant.” (two words)
13. It’s such a simple request: a hug. People do it all the time. Loved ones. Friends. Even strangers seeking to share an emotional experience. The transformation across their expressions is a wonder to behold. But I cringe away as if someone has threatened to close me inside an Iron Maiden. Better to accept the label of “antisocial” than explain the gentle touch of their arms around me will send my nerves screaming.
15. The initial diagnosis fibro patients are often misdiagnosed with by incompetent doctors. The easy answer every time a fibro patient presents with a new symptom or source of pain. Ironically, the very thing caused by living with the disease and confronting doctor after doctor who refuses to work with you.
16. Official name for fibromyalgia. (abbreviation)
18. My husband snorts every third breath of his snore. The dog whimpers every sixth deep breath. Her tail will inevitably bang the side of the kennel around 3:32 AM. One of the cats pokes their head through the curtains at 5:37 AM. Another climbs onto my chest shortly before 6:04 AM. I roll from my left side to my right side a total of thirty-six times a night.
19. “Do I need a jacket?” has a different meaning for me. The average individual thinks nothing of stepping outside and enduring a light breeze or an autumn chill. I get five feet from the door and start shaking like a chihuahua in Antarctica. (Complete with the pathetic whimpering) And woebetide the fool that neglects to warn me that the temperatures have tipped over into the face-melting zone (somewhere around half a degree over 80, give or take 5% humidity).
20. Affectionate—and accurate—term for someone living with a chronic illness or chronic pain condition.
1. The most common test result delivered to fibro patients, regardless of what the doctor chooses to check.
2. My fingers (and toes, and hands, and feet, and arms, and…) go numb. It’s a sensation that transcends pins and needles: dancing electric shocks of synapses experimenting with different sensations. Will they decide to fire all the way to the spinal cord today? Or will one drop the signal along the way—too bored or too overworked to carry the load? (two words)
4. While far from experts in the field, this specialist is typically the most common to treat fibro patients.
6. Is it really asking that much? Simply monitor and issue the orders to keep my body functioning at a minimal threshold for existence. And accurately (accurately, notice I used that word) interpret the signals relayed by its minions into two categories: pain, not-pain. While maintaining a faithful database of all of my memories, vocabulary words, and imagination. It’s so little to ask when you think about how much work the kidneys do. (three words)
7. There aren’t enough caffeine, guarana, chicory root, cordyceps in the world to get my body going. A precise lightning strike to my heart wouldn’t move my limbs so much as a centimeter. Even the credible threat of an imminent zombie horde would not inspire me to lift my head. (Odds are they’d mistake me for one of their own and leave me alone, anyway)
8. The world will continue to demonize this form of analgesia—courtesy of a few assholes and the inappropriate implementation of the medical system itself. All while refusing to acknowledge the legitimate relief they bring to fibro patients and millions of other chronic pain sufferers. (Sorry-not sorry)
11. I recognize that I did nothing more than bump my foot on the corner of the table (I watched it happen—complete with the slow-motion commentary in my head). I examined the aftermath and concluded the damage would not even warrant bruising. The investigation was closed. But that isn’t going to stop my nerves from reporting a near-death collision, complete with a potential fatality. And no matter how I argue the logic or how much evidence I present to the contrary, I’m still going to suffer the result of that overblown drama.
14. Concurrent disease commonly found in fibro patients resulting in GI difficulties. (abbreviation)
17. Hell. (Oh, look, it’s also a four-letter word! What are the odds?!)
10. Vitamin D
12. Fibro Fog
2. Neuropathic Pain
6. Central Nervous System