SUE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS OF PAIN

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, 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 my personal dwarfs who 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 seemingly 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; we hang onto them. Just when we get one broken in, they have the audacity to 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. As a retired RN, I do think I have an advantage in knowing what to looks for over the layman. Empathy 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. I require being treated with respect. Without that, I’m out of there, yesterday.

It would be wonderful; also, if you could argue with your doctor. These are men and women, human beings like you and I. They just went to school longer than most of us and have a great deal invested, including their time and finances. They are educated 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 slightly 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? Like you’ve never been explosive. One thing I do know is that it is always connected to my pain.

HAPPY: I look for this character every day but he is illusive. 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 my 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, watch out and stop hiding, because I’m always looking for you.

SLEEPY: Now Sleepy, he is always very near. For all I know he is sitting on Happy, helping him to hide from me. The nights of restful sleep are illusive and all of us know about this guy. We go after him with melatonin, 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 because he can descend into the deepest level of sleep within 30 seconds. Head to pillow…sleep!

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 like mad to everyone I see, meet or come across, usually at a doctor’s office or a department of the hospital. 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 so far.

SNEEZY: Now for this guy, I will have to say I don’t sneeze that much. I would have to throw in there, along with Sneezy, the characters of Itchy, Rashy and Nosey. 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 many of these rashes are a histamine response to the sun. That’s why I wear a hat anytime I am outside. Otherwise, hatless, my scalp breaks out as does any exposed part of my skin. I do have a serious problem with dry skin. This is the first time in my life I have had that problem. I’m currently one big flake. No remarks please. I suspect it is related to one of my diseases, Sjogren’s syndrome which causes dehydration and requires almost constantly drinking clear liquids of some sort. I have a Soda Stream seltzer machine and use it constantly and keep the bottles in a small refrigerator we have upstairs in an office next to our bedroom. I mentioned Nosey because due to the previously mentioned disease, SS, I have a constantly drippy nose yet always have dry eyes. The dry eyes require prescription drops several times a day.

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. My dear husband now pays all our bills, bless him. I’m terrible at remembering names. 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 thankfully and they have an intercom feature so I could find it. I like to tell myself I am distracted by my pain but I’m certain much of it is due to the rheumatoid disease process itself and its affect and stress on the body and brain. I recently had a PET scan and know, thankfully, I do not have metastatic disease of the brain in spite of the fact I do have mets to the bones and skin. I do have many things to be thankful for.

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, usually with a metal straw. With bottles, one gets all that backwash. Ugly with meds.

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, and I’m usually barefoot. I think when I’m lying down, I just drop glasses of liquid and, of course, other objects. Unfortunately, with three crushed vertebrae in my lower back, my ability to lift anything over two pounds is gone. I lift in small loads or have to ask for help. What would I do without my dear man? I don’t know.

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 if you have any of these little fellas living in your body or life. God bless you if you do, then you know life is no fairy tale. Thankfully we can always seek out the joys in our lives and through our faith in God, endure. Each day brings new hope as each day stands alone. We don’t have to be alone. Physically, perhaps but never, spiritually.

3 thoughts on “SUE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS OF PAIN

  1. Sue what a clever idea to write about the seven dwarfs like this and you’ve done it so well
    Yea a little bit of me in all of them particularly sneezy as with you and sjogrens and dopey always
    Sometimes they play me up…I shall always think of those characteristics now as those dwarfs…..can’t unforget that now!
    Love chris

    • Chris, Don’t let me ruin those dear little fellas for you. I just saw the similarities many years ago and wrote a version of it and this was an update. Hope you and your DH are doing as well as can be right now. I’m not doing well I’m afraid. I don’t know when we will all be back to normal as far as this Covid bit. Awful isn’t it? Stay safe. Love, Sue

  2. Well it was good fun to read
    I’m sorry you are not too good .you haven’t said ,so I won’t ask,but sincerely hope you will feel better
    We both are Okish…..yes when will normal be back ..it seems a long way off
    Love chris

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