A FINE DAY FOR EMBRACING by Marilyn Armstrong


Not an embracing sort of day for me, although I have to admit to a powerful passion for Excedrin, the only over-the-counter pain reliever that really works on migraine, backache, and a zillion other problems. If I weren’t so sensitive about the aspirin, it would be my drug of choice. It’s actually stronger than Demerol and with fewer side-effects, if you don’t count the massive ulcers that forced the twice removal of my stomach.

Otherwise, it would be my drug of choice.

It’s a gorgeous day in the valley. The sun is out, the humidity is down, the temperature is reasonable and in an hour or so, when I can actually walk upright, the world will be golden and full of joy.

These evil nights are hard for me. I don’t “not sleep” because of insomnia, though I sometimes fail to sleep because I’m in the middle of listening to a book. I just can’t stop reading. Books have always been my downfall.

It’s the broken nights. The every two or three hours of waking up with throbbing pain in a hip or the lower back or some other part of me. There is a limit to the number of drugs I can take — or am willing to take. In the first place, if you take drugs — any kind — all the time, they don’t work as well and if you keep at it, they stop working entirely. Our bodies aren’t designed as giant receptacles for drugs, so you have to know when you’ve reached whatever your personal maximum is and just simply stop. No matter how much you hurt.

Aspirin or any combination that includes NSAIDs will cause ulcers. That also means Ibuprofen whether it’s Motrin, Advil or a generic version.

Demerol works if you don’t take it often. It’s not strong to begin with, so its potency is limited. Moderately and carefully at best and I’m allergic to all the rest of the opioids — assuming I would consider them, though I admit there are some nights when anything seems like a good idea.

Tylenol doesn’t work very well AND it is lethal to your kidneys and liver, so if you take enough to make a significant difference, you are close to over the top on how much you are allowed before it does anything positive for you. I am fond of my kidneys and liver. I’d like to hang on to them. I’ve had plenty of replacement parts and they are not on my list.

The end of all of this is that I wake up tired because I haven’t gotten more than three hours of sleep at a time. Then there’s the phone that rings in the morning. Either it’s a doctor’s office (again) … or it’s a single ring that gets cut off by NomoRobo.com (I love that service!) … but just enough noise to wake me up again. Sometimes, I wonder if going to sleep at all is worth the effort.

And then, there is how much I really need a new mattress.

Embrace the world. I would really like to. But first, I need to be able to stand up and it would be a great joy if standing up were not accompanied by a lot of pain at the same time.

And I love people who keep telling me that exercise is going to help.

It isn’t going to help because the calcification in the spine is so deeply ingrained in there, nothing will make it better. Not anymore. Ten years ago, it helped. Even five years ago, it helped.

I tried to think about Richard Duke of Gloucester and his twisted spine. He led an army — to defeat, I grant you, but he tried his best. Of course, he was dead at 35. I wonder how he would have dealt with it at in old age. Well, hardly anyone reached old age back then. Pretty much no one lived to survive massive arthritis.

Except for Eleanor of Aquitaine. Woman power! It’s a miracle.

Categories: Arthritis, Daily Prompt, Home, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. I feel the same but can only take tylenol in limited amounts because of kidneys. No sleep is again my nemesis. I prefer numbness to pain.


    • Tylenol is actually pretty bad for kidneys and they have great lowered the dose we are allowed to have. Pity about all those years when I took tons of it because supposedly it was harmless. Now, I don’t believe ANYTHING is really harmless. They say that, but it ain’t true.


  2. i wish I could help you Marilyn. I think listening to books when you can’t sleep is a great idea.


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