There are also the psychological dimensions. I've been told that what I've been doing a lot of is bargaining. I keep coming up with bargains. Maybe if I keep going to work, I won't be injured. Maybe if I don't eat sugar, I won't be injured. Maybe if I do these stretches, I won't be injured. Maybe if I take these pills, I won't be injured. Maybe if I walk to the mailboxes and back, I won't be injured. Maybe if I keep my feelings a secret, I won't be injured.
So I can't be surprised that people don't know. I can't be surprised that people expect me to be operating at full capacity if I don't tell them how much pain I'm in -- if I don't tell them that the drugs make me feel like I'm under water, or in a snow drift, or stippled by pins. I can't count change at the grocery store, or look for a lost shoe, or fold paper evenly, or spell.
I'm angry. I want my life back. I want to be able to move forward with my life plans. I want to be able to write poem, finish a story, visit with friends. I want to be able to sit in a movie theater, drive my car, put on my underwear -- I want to do things without feeling the searing, excruciating pain.
I want people to be nice to me.
Pain has a sort of myopia. I notice things like the textures of clothing: so many things are too itchy and my skin is on fire. The drugs give me dry mouth and everything tastes awful. I'm hyper-attentive to the ice pack, the heating pad, the myriad analgesic jams and jellies that smell sticky-sick and sweet, the dilapidated mountains of pillows upon which I try to arrange my body like a bag a of broken sticks or rusty hinges.
I do not want to feel guilty about building up a tolerance to the drugs.
I do not want to be hysterical.
I hate myself for being so self-absorbed.