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levels of pain

I wrote this last night, sometime early morning. Don’t read if you are sensative to hearing about health-related issues.

When Megan and I were talking on Wednesday, she asked me a few questions that are on her assessment she has to do with each patient she sees on clinical rounds. (Nursing major, almost CNA, 2 more years of school on Portland campus)

"On a scale of 0-10 (0 being no pain and 10 being the worst you can imagine), where are you?"

Clarification, I had to ask if this was based on the last 2 weeks? That was probably a good idea, since she wanted recent info

"I must be a 7 or 8."

I don’t think she really believed me at first. I don’t know if I believed me. But then I started talking it through and she realized how bad it was. Since the scale was based on the worst pain I could imagine, this made sense. The worst-worst pain I can imagine is childbirth, so the ranking of 10 is assigned to that!!

Of course, the pain varies depending on what I’m doing. Considerably. The lack of consistancy sucks, and makes it hard to treat and deal. Just sitting still makes it not as painful, but that’s not practical all the time.

I laid in bed last night trying to think of the worst pains I had known before this point. E was snoring and I wasn’t quite sleepy, and so Meg’s conversation came back to me.

These are the major pain events in my life up until 2000-2001ish when I was beginning to experience the symptoms of CFIDS.

  • Several major ankle twists—one particular one at camp one summer to the "good" ankle (one w/o internal damage from birth).

  • Wisdom Teeth removal—couldn’t eat solids for 4 weeks

  • Nasal surgery—the surgery wasn’t painful, but the gauze packed in my nasal cavitiy that had to come out was horrendoussly painful.

  • Giant bruises --I’ve had some big bad purple knees and hipbone and arms at different times. A month before our florida trip, I really did a good one, and remnants of the color change was still there months later.

So how does it compare?

Ankle twisting and aftermath. The pain is random when I’m just moving from one place to another in the house—sometimes, I just step and my ankle collapses out from under me in pain. That sharp feeling causes me to almost cry. Long term: after walking for 10 minutes, I feel significantly more pain than when I twisted it originally.

Nasal surgery. When I stand up with a normal headache, the type I get every day, my head spins. But when I stand up or even just move with a quasi-migraine, it feels considerably worse than the guase coming out of my nose. And a true migraine is way up there on the scale even worse. I literally can’t breathe without pain when its a true migraine.

Wisdom teeth removal. The sore throat I had following this surgery was pretty bad. I’m not sure if my every-day throat soreness lives up to this scale, but I have a feeling that if I was to get a cold on top of the CFIDS sore throat, I’d be in some mega pain.

Giant bruises. Even the pain of a 4" wide knee-bruise can’t compare to the acheyness and pure pain in my legs 50-75% of the time. Alternating between aching and stabbing pain upon moving, and add into that my lower back pain, and I hurt to move and I hurt to sit and I hurt to lay down.

Stomach issues. I’ve never experienced this type of symptoms before. My tummy feels like there’s a big ballon of gas in it and it doesn’t want to leave. Sometimes, rubbing it helps a bit, but alternate this with constipation, and it keeps me feeling bloated. Also, with headaches, moving causes nausea, moreso than with any flu-cold-related nauseua in my history.

Brain activity. not pain related. Again, I have nothing "real" to compare this with officially. I graduated from HS with a 3.945 GPA and have always been pretty smart and excited to learn. Now I have trouble with finding the right word. Last night, I was pointing to a character in my game and called him a "mammoth", but that totally didn’t sound right. I asked E 3 times if he was sure that’s what it was called. I also have frequent ringing in my ears, or sounds that I can’t tell where they are coming from. This brain fog is bad, even though it doesn’t add to the pain scale of the assessment.

The Fatigue. Uncomparable to anything in my previous life. Adds to the pain, but not a catalyst for pain in its own regard. Even a week in college with less than 6 hours of sleep a night, and staying up all night thursday to study for a test on friday—after the test, all you want to do is crash. But even that scenario (which I did participate in probably hundreds of time during my college years) still not as bad as what I feel every day now.

OTHERS. The array of other stuff adds to it all, but isn’t necessarily deemed a category of its own. Sore eyes, blurring, light sensativity. Dizzyness, balance, "weebly-wobbly"ness. Feet and legs freezing, and then a few hours later, I can wake up thinking they are on fire because I’m so hot (E says my toes never fully warm up, even when he’s in bed)


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I just wanted to give you a *hug*. Reading the more detailed physical reality of CFIDS makes me marvel even more at all the things you manage to accomplish. Kristine, you rock! smile And I love the heart additions to your blogroll.

I was trying to think of what to say - in the end I just want to offer support and few hugs to you. I suffered from CFS from my late teens to mid 20’s. Diet and lifestyle change got me thru the worst of it. At 35 I developed Grave’s Disease, and as well I’ve been through 2 major car accidents that caused permanent injuries, so I do understand about chronic pain. Funny thing is I’ve had two kids, and childbirth was probably the easiest kind of pain! (Luckily it’s true what they say...you forget the discomforts of childbirth quite quickly).

I hope you start feeling better again very soon.

*hugs just because* smile

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