“So, how are you?”
A simple enough question, right? One we hear every day. A common greeting, between casual acquaintances as well as long time friends. It serves as “Hello,” “What’s been happening?” and demonstrates that you care enough about the other person to want to know something about them. As long as they’re well.
For most people, its true that there is a “right” answer.
You mumble something along the lines of “I’m fine,” and you keep walking.
At the courthouse, my usual response was “I’m vertical.” it was true, everyone laughed, and life went on.
It was also the best I could say about my condition.
Because, let’s be honest. No one wants to hear, “My muscles are tense to the point they ache so badly I can hardly think.” Or “My knees are grinding bone on bone and walking up these steps has just about done me in.” Or “Fibro fog combined with my prescriptions makes me wonder how much I’ll remember about my case today.”
(Which is why I finally had to give it up.)
According to WebMD. chronic pain is defined as “pain that lasts longer than six months. It can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating…With chronic pain, signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for months or even years. This can take both a physical and emotional toll on a person.”
And every time I choke back the truth, it burns me. Not that I want to dump all my internal chaos on any of the sweet people I meet every day who genuinely care about others. They don’t deserve it.
Sometimes, when I’ve tried something new, and a glimmer of hope appears, I eagerly share the results–a new medicine, a new exercise, the autoimmune diet. But in reality, this usually backfires. people then think I should be cured. Heck, I think I should be cured, too! Unfortunately, the process hasn’t seemed to work that way.
Lyrica worked for about a month. Same with the lidocaine cream. Ditto, the magnesium spray. Physical therapy. Electrotherapy. Darvocet–oh, wait, they pulled that from the market after it had bad side effects. I guess those two years I took it didn’t count. I understand medical marijuana would help–but it’s not legal here. Kratom is about to be named an illegal drug. That leaves me with a combination of muscle relaxers and yes, the dreaded opiates, which actually manages the thing so I can function. But who knows how long I’ll be able to get those, with all the hoopla about those overdosing on them, and the relative lack of attention to the thousands who take them just as prescribed, simply so they can function.
So, yes, friends and neighbors, I’d love to tell you I’m feeling better, back to my old self again. The chances of that, however, are not so great.
I’ll continue to try to be polite. After all, I’m living in the South now, and Southern ladies…well you know. But if on occasion I actually stop and tell you how I’m feeling–the real truth–please know it means I really like and trust you and that I think you’re safe to hear my honesty. And thank you in advance for letting me let it out. One less thread of stress in my daily blanket of living. Feel free to be honest with me about your own troubles, as well. Even if we can’t stop the pain, at least we can relieve a little of the burden for each other.
So, how are you today? 🙂