Thursday, November 13, 2008


I was up until 1 am last night, battling fire ants.

Wondering if I should take a big dose of oxycodone, if that would help me at least sleep through their attack. Pain medications do not work on central pain, that peculiar torture that emanates from the spinal cord. But sometimes, I still try. But last night, I didn't.

A stab of burning itch hit me on the outside of my left knee; on my collarbone; on the top of my right hand; the top of my left foot; here, there, never twice in the same location; burning itch that seems to have immediate access into the deepest caverns of my brain, which must be popping and misfiring like an old Chevy truck runnin' on 3 cylinders. The hot poker stabs only lasted a couple of seconds. Although I knew it doesn't help, I reflexively kept reaching to scratch the outside of a knee, the sole of my foot. Over and over. Even on the inside of my eyelids.

This morning, I am weak beyond words and the tortuous process seems to have settled into my right eye.

The other day, while in town, I looked up just a tad to look at a display of windchimes on sale at the hardware store, that were hanging at about 7 ft. high. My neck at the C1 area was shot through with stabbing pain. This is rare for me. Usually, the skull base area throbs all the time, but I don't often have harsh stabs of pain upon movement, for the most part.

[When I was hanging in the Invasive Cervical Traction a year ago in NY, the doctor reached up and grabbed hold of the chain or cable or whatever I was hanging from, the pins of the halo pinching my skull. He turned my head by twisting the chain so that they could get the view in the CT they wanted. He turned it to the left and I felt, wow, such an electrifying pain, I told him to stop. And I know I had pain like this right after I broke my neck.]

I took an Ativan the other day, all I had with me that I thought might calm my muscles or something. We went to a movie, but if I moved, I still felt that stab at the skull base again.

This morning, I feel this again, though not as intense. Along with a watery right eye and that neurological pain within it. This is trigeminal nerve stuff. Pain that starts at the back of the head, goes up over the ears and into the eyes is following the trigeminal nerve.

I have been staying home and inside all week. Yesterday, I did not step out once. I did do some hand-sewing beside an open window as a rainy, stormy breeze swept across our yard and set leaves dancing. The fresh air was wonderful.

And I felt a poignant twist in the gut about where my life is now. I didn't cry about it, it was more like fact. I used to conquer the mountains, the rough trails or no trails, the secret, hidden places where others cared not to ride. I breathed more fresh air than inside air. I was blessed and knew it.

Now, I look out the window at the mountains, the storm clouds gathering...I open it to taste the elixir of air wet with decaying leaves, the neighbor's woodstove, glistening rocks.

Many years ago, after my elderly father had suffered several strokes, I remember him sending me photos he'd taken of each room in his single wide trailer house. With his walker to steady him, he creaked from room to room, stopping, finding his balance while he straightened up, righted the camera, checked the settings, and snapped the shot. My heart at that time twisted for the man who used to send me pictures he'd snapped, a few years earlier, through his windshield of Wyoming highway, prairie, antelope....rushing see him limited to taking pictures withing the confining walls of a small, wood-paneled home, it hurt the heart.

Now, 20 years younger than he was then, I am almost as limited. Maybe more so, because Dad was able to drive up until the day he died at 80 years of age. My arms and hands are becoming tremendously weak. I am worse than I was two months ago. I would leave today for the fusion if I could.

I read a report from a neuropsychologist who interviewed me in September. He said that I am reclusive. If I could change that, I would, through determination and guts, just like I and my horse struggled up rocky cliffs or through thick brush, up over mountain passes or across deep rivers. But sometimes, I am learning, guts, will, determination, all will not get you far.

I am ever-learning. I always thought they made up for everything.

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