I have discovered most of us who have been living with chronic pain have sacrificed and donated so much of ourselves while we are still living, we usually feel like living donors. We live with grief every day for our lost lives. Incidentally, most of us with autoimmune disease couldn’t donate organs anyway. It seems some of our antigens, etc. are simply not desirable. Guess we’d better use it up while we have it.
So often my blogs are a bit grim so just for today…let’s get goofy and let our senses of humor and our imaginations run wild. Are you game?
Those of us who live with chronic pain and disease, fight to stay alive, enjoy the limited lives we are stuck with and find meaning in our lives; we still continue to watch body parts appear to fall off. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to awaken to find my foot lying on the floor by my bed tomorrow morning. If life was a cartoon, I would simply reach down and pop it back on. A foot seems the most likely as it would be the easiest part to access, as well as an arm or hand. Dysfunctional and painful backs, ribs and organs, well, that’s a much more complicated proposition what with all that skin, et al. None the less, that is how it feels. If a part of your or my anatomy is no longer an asset then…bye, bye body part. Sometimes that bye, bye is accomplished in reality.
Many of us have had parts replaced such as new knees and hips, as well as finger joints, and various inserts to keep us in shape. Speaking of shapes, many plastic surgeons replace and improve breasts, buttocks, and varying parts of the body every day. Some celebrities and regular folks have had chin implants, noses rebuilt, fat sucked out of one part of the body and put elsewhere in the body. Others have had cadaver parts used because it’s pretty difficult to talk someone into giving up some parts of their bodies such as tendons. Most of us still use most of what we have, sad as it may be. I guess one of the problems for our society is the mixed blessing of living longer than we ever have before.
If life was a cartoon, what would we call it and just how goofy could it get? Well, let’s let our imaginations go, just for fun and see just how far we can take it, okay? I think I’d call my cartoon, “THE NEW ME ‘CAUSE THE OLD ONE STINKS.”
For me the problem naturally comes to mind regarding my poor and painful sitter. If by the stroke of some cartoonist pen it could be replaced, would I want it larger or smaller? I think larger because it simply sounds more comfortable like the bustles women used to wear over two hundred years ago. Who knows what they had hidden in there? Their lunch, their kids? Now that I think of it, I don’t believe those artificial tushes they wore were there for comfort as they often had wire frames. I’d still choose a larger one, with padding not the frame, just for the cushy effect when sitting. Oh well, back to the cartoons.
For so many of us who have bad backs the cartoon version would be to debone us like a fish, and simply zap into place a new spine. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? It sounds better than the piecemeal way many back surgeons are “practicing” with a 25% success rate for most back surgeries today. I think I’d pick the deboning process anytime.
We live in a violent age when everyone is worried about kids watching killing videos when we grew up with animal and human characters who were being smashed, burned, frozen and ejected from planes without parachutes and it was all being done in living color. We laughed. It was funny when the good old Road Runner dropped an anvil on Wiley. Jerry always won out over the much larger Tomcat. They were fast, they were stealthy and they were hilarious. Warner Brothers definitely had the edge on violence mixed with humor and still do. Disney tends to be less gruesome and although colorful, lyrical and humorous, less violent.
For many of us, millions actually, who live with chronic pain here in the USA alone, don’t think it’s funny. One’s sense of humor must not be the first thing to go. I think I’d rather lose that foot than my sense of humor. How do folks without one make it through the day?
Here we are, alive and constantly facing the compromise of what we have left. Like used cars sitting in the driveway dripping oil all over the cement; we know something must be done. We have gone to those human mechanics, also called doctors, physical therapists, etc over and over again, only to find varying opinions, ideas for testing, blank stares and well-meaning but misguided diagnoses. Over an expanse of 30 years, I cannot even begin to count the way medical professionals have failed me, saved my life and pissed me off. I have decided the good does offset the bad…but not by much. My Mom used to say, “Remember, doctors have practices; that means they are just practicing.” I have often whispered to myself when leaving a doctor’s office, “You’re on your own, kid.”
I frequently wonder how the average lay person who is not medically trained handles all of the challenges brought on by incompetence, computers which fail, drug companies who get fat as we grow lean and the sheer madness of it all. I am medically trained and yet I am always frustrated by labs not sent, communications to other doctors’ offices which have disappeared and haggling with insurance providers because of some drug company. For instance, just this week I discovered a simple headache medication which I have taken for many years, has now jumped in price and will now cost me $148 per month and that’s the generic with good insurance. However, if I want to take an opioid, I can get that bottle filled for four dollars.
Is it surprising I need to laugh about this life of mine and hope you can find the effort to laugh at yours, too? I know you have the time. Let’s look at it a bit differently. What if life was a science fiction story? What if we could donate our organs while we are still alive and get new ones much like the knee and hip joints? Who would I give my used organs to? Let me think about that for a minute. I think first of all I would donate my brain and spine to Congress as they are all sorely in need. Maybe it would be tax deductible. I know they could use many more such donations, particularly of the brain and spine. I would give my heart to some mass murderer so he could feel the remorse he sorely lacks for what he has done to others while he sits in prison waiting to die, that’s assuming it’s any state but Texas. I would have it installed with a defective defibrillator to zap him every hour as a reminder. I say Texas because they fry them quickly down there. I would donate my liver to the Betty Ford center so they could implant it into the resident they have who has returned to rehab the most often. I’d also have a foot implanted in his/her buttock to give a good kick each time they picked up a bottle of alcohol or pills. I’d give my hands to pickpockets and thieves with auto alarms which would not allow them to use their fingers in pockets other than their own.
Well my dears, it is time to take one of those expensive pain pills, get a bit of rest but first a trip to the market as life goes limping, wheeling or striding along for those of us who face this challenge but choose to live life on our own terms, considering the hand we’ve been dealt. Don’t forget to laugh today and look out the window at all the beauty nature has for you to enjoy. A few minutes ago I looked out our second story window to see a beautiful robin with her reddish, rusty colored breast hopping from branch to branch on our tall, gorgeous camellia bush, abloom with early crimson camellias now covered with snow. Its leaves glossy, the camellias in the thousands on this enormous old bush, as I was enjoying the wonders of nature, Ms. Robin dropped poop all over one branch. As I laughed I said, “Well, that’s a wonder of nature, too.”