Thursday, March 4th 2010

The longest night

It’s no exaggeration when I say that I’ve just had the worst night of my life! I got no sleep at all and lay awake all night unable to get comfortable because of the terrible pain in my lower spine. The problem started at the beginning of this week when I was being woken up at around 5 AM with back pain and not able to get back to sleep. As the week has progressed it has steadily got worse. But the constant unrelenting pain all through the early hours of this morning was far worse than it had previously been and when you can’t get to sleep and can do nothing but grit your teeth the minutes seem like hours.

Although I can’t turn my head enough anymore to see the bedside clock there are certain events that occur that tell me exactly what time it is. So for example I always know when it’s 6 AM because I hear the central heating system fire up. But this morning that seemed a lifetime away and even when I did hear it start-up I groaned inwardly at the thought that I was still two hours away from my carer arriving. The next hour crawled along at a snail’s pace until eventually the bedside radio sprang to life signifying that 7 AM had arrived. With music and the persistent chitchat of the DJ to engage the mind the final hour passed slightly quicker although nowhere near as quick as I was praying it would. It was also colder as my constant attempts to bring my knees up to try and alleviate the pain had caused the duvet to slide off the bed. On top of this my eyes had started watering again and were stinging badly causing me to screw my eyelids up tight. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard the front door open. But even getting off the bed this morning was a very painful experience. First the act of lifting me into an upright position on the edge of the bed caused my back to protest even more, and secondly by stretching my legs over the edge of the bed set off painful cramp in my right calf and in both sets of toes, not the best way to start the day. But once I was up and soaking in a Radox bath my back pain gradually began to dissipate and within the hour it had gone.

These days I can barely move anything above the waist when lying horizontally so if a pain develops in my lower spine I am powerless to reposition myself, and lying in the same position for 10 hours is not doing me any good. All the time I was getting up in the night for bathroom visits I never had a problem. But now that I have grown weaker and am unable to get off the bed unassisted I am starting to hit problems brought about by lack of mobility. We’ve been experimenting with various types of pillow lately such as bolster, V shaped, and memory foam, to see if any of them improve my comfort and help get a better night’s rest. Unfortunately nothing so far has done the trick.

This latest episode was the last straw as by this time I had been running for almost 3 days on hardly any sleep and was therefore feeling absolutely shattered. The care agency made arrangements to have a GP make a house visit and after explaining the situation I was prescribed a slow release painkiller called Tramadol which is supplied in 50 mg capsules. Ann, bless her did all the running around picking up the prescription and collecting the capsules. So tonight I shall be taking 2 Paracetamol tablets followed by 1 Tramadol capsule (for starters but may need to tweak the dosage) and keeping my fingers firmly crossed in the hope that I get some much-needed pain-free sleep.

Birthday girl

In complete contrast to the above something nice rounded off the day – a visit from my brother and lovely sister-in-law who dropped in for a few hours before heading off into town to celebrate Chery’s birthday at one of the local restaurants. Happy birthday, Chery! It was really lovely seeing you again and I’m glad you liked the present. Thank you for the delicious home-made brownies. They went down a treat! Oh, and thank you Ali for helping out with the photos. It’s not often I have the opportunity of having a picture taken with both Jason and Chery in the same frame and you’ve captured a nice one.

Here she is, the birthday girl! 🙂

With my lovely sister-in-law, Chery

Brothers!

Happy!

Mark

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