Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Comfortably Numb

I can tell the time by my pain level-- if I take the meds right. My afternoon dose of narcotic is due just in the middle of several of my weekly meetings. As you can imagine, this can be a bit awkward, especially when (as this week and last) the PHB is visiting and sitting in on everything. Today went something like this:

12:58 p.m.: I'm starting to feel a little achy in the base of my spine; I glance at the clock, grab the Percocet bottle out of my desk drawer, and take bottle & a big glass of water to my 1:00 meeting.
1:15: The pain is increasing; I check the clock & decide I'd better wait just a little longer. I try to keep my hands from fiddling with the medicine bottle, or at least keep the glass between them and the PHB. Wonder if that glance my way was at all threatening.
1:25: Pain is seriously strong now. I wish I could take my spiffy othopedic chair into meetings, but there's barely enough room for the folding/stacking monstrosities that half the attendees sit on. Consciousness is becoming more difficult to maintain; black spots appear in my peripheral vision.
1:29: I decide it's about time. I start to open the bottle very, very gently...
1:30: I've got the pill in hand. Can't hold out much longer. Curse words start forming and a scream starts in the back of my throat. I pop the pill to stifle it. Then I hold my breath and try to stay upright.
1:45: Ahhhhhh.... that's SO much better... Mmmmm... Oh, hello pain, my old friend. Still at it, I see. That's nice... Ooooh, what a nice floaty feeling... Warm. Comfy. What's that, PHB? Oh yes, that project. Mmm-hmm. I've got it covered. (If only I could form coherent sentences.) Understand? Yes? Lovely... Just lovely...
2:00 Meeting's over and I'm feeling just ducky. What? We can't stay another hour? Darn it. How 'bout a chat? Anyone?

And now:
10:30 p.m.: Heart flutters; stutters, even-- I cough to normalize my heart rhythm, but it starts again. Must be time for my anti-anxiety meds. Not to worry. At least I have them. Every 12 hours, like clockwork. And I'm done with my day's work and it's not even midnight yet. It must have been a good day.

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