Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When the pain gets really bad.

As I've mentioned, RSD is a degenerative disease; my pain will continue to get worse. Today is the best day I'll ever have, and to be honest, today SUCKS! Every day I wake up and think, "I cannot imagine the pain ever getting any worse than it is right now." And the next day, I wake up, and it did.

But, as my Doctor is fond of telling me, nobody ever died of RSD. Maybe not, but sometimes we sure wish we would. It's truly horrible!

I think I've talked about my dog Buddy before (The Importance of Pets! 4/21/09). He is a found dog, he was dumped in a park (a special circle of Hell exists for people who dump animals). We took him home and immediately noticed that there was blood in his urine. A bunch of tests later, and we found out that he had a huge cancerous tumor. We were devastated, we knew there would come a time when we would have to put him to sleep. We were told that it would probably be weeks, maybe a month. As I write this, he is laying next to me, 8 months later. He's truly a lesson in "doing it your way."Apparently he didn't get the memo that he was supposed to die 7 months ago. And it's not that we are prolonging anything. He eats like a pig, he drinks, he runs and plays, his tail is constantly wagging. He is the picture of a happy "healthy" dog!

And yet, we know the time will come. As our vet says, he's living in Hospice care right now. He has every right to be angry, depressed, lethargic, in a lot of pain. Instead he is the happiest dog. There's a lesson there! Now I know dogs don't understand from being sick, or from dying, that's not my point. What I'm saying is that we know he's in pain, at least very uncomfortable, but he still lives his life. It's inspiring for me.

But our vet also told us an interesting story the last time we were in his office. He said that he watched his mom die of cancer. She was always in horrible pain, so they gave her enough pain medication that she wasn't even aware of her surroundings, she had no idea that her son visited her. And our vet kept thinking that "he couldn't even do for his mother what he would do for his patients." He couldn't give her an "easy out," one with grace and dignity. Why do we do for our animals what we won't consider doing for ourselves?

Okay, there's Dr. Kevorkian, but look what happened to him. John and I have talked about it several times. We've said that it should be my choice, that if the pain and everything else ever get that bad, he would "help" or at least be with me. But really, do you ever get there? Would I ever really say "okay, today is the day." I don't think so. Because dogs can't understand a hope for tomorrow either. Short of being in Hospice care, dying, I don't know that I'd ever give up. It's all well and good to talk about it rationally, but until you're actually there, I think it's an amorphous thing. Once faced with the actual "okay, let's do it," I think all the rationality falls apart. But I do find it interesting to think that we call it humane to "put an animal out of its misery." Humane? Am I less important, deserving of fewer rights, than an animal?

It's a tough issue. I'm not sure there are any right answers, or really any good answers. RSD hurts, it hurts a lot, and I hope I'm strong enough to carry tomorrow's load.


  1. WOW, that was a difficult read. What wake-up slap to outsiders (and by that I mean those who do not suffer with RDS) on your daily reality of life. Thank you for sharing. Linda

  2. Let us all be thankful to those medicines, supplements and other that helps fight chronic pain. It's a big help for everyone.