Friday, March 12th 2010

Painful mornings

I’ve been having a terrible time this past week with pain in my lower spine and the consequences of taking medication to alleviate it. In my previous post I mentioned I was about to try something called Tramadol, a slow release painkiller that would hopefully bring some relief in the early hours of the morning and until my carer arrived. Unfortunately it does not appear to have brought any benefit as I still wake up around 5 AM with pain in and around my lower spine and can do nothing but lie there patiently for the next three hours until I’m ‘rescued’. We tried varying the dosage starting initially with one tablet and progressing up to three tablets just before going to bed but there doesn’t appear to be any discernible difference no matter what quantity I take. So I may not be reaping any of the benefits from these tablets but I am most certainly suffering from a couple of their side effects. I’ve been waking up every day with a very dry mouth and it seems to persist through most of the day despite drinking lots of fluids. But far more uncomfortable has been the terrible constipation that has plagued me all week. These tablets just seem to slow everything down to the point where it is difficult to pass anything, a most uncomfortable feeling. So today I made the decision to stop using Tramadol as it only seemed to be bringing new problems and not curing old ones. I had a telephone consultation with my GP today to see if there was any other painkiller but she was reluctant to prescribe any opiates as they would only make the constipation worse. Instead she is going to chase up the district nurses and I guess the OT people to see what can be done about getting a pressure relieving mattress for my bed.

Sad day

I suppose the writing has been on the wall for some time but I just didn’t want to believe it. (Selfishly) I kept hoping that things would change and everything would be back the way it used to be. But unfortunately it was not to be. Francesca has pulled out of my care package because of the escalating workload she has with her main job. For some time now Francesca has been performing a bit of juggling act trying to keep everyone happy, but the scope and responsibilities of her main weekday job have in recent months began to encroach on the weekends which of course is when I depend on her part-time care skills. This weekend was to be Francesca’s time with me but the demands of her full-time job currently have her working in Europe. Clearly with a care package like mine that is becoming ever more complex it is absolutely imperative that we have a team of carers that are reliable, flexible and willing to cover for each other. Francesca feels that with her current level of work she would not be able to commit to my care on a regular basis. Of course I was very upset to hear the news as Francesca was my longest serving carer and (perhaps naïvely) it had been my hope that she would be looking after me for the remainder of my journey. It’s also particularly frustrating that it should happen now when my needs are increasing by the month. Not only that of course but we had become good friends and I always look forward to the weekends and my time with her. But of course everyone has their lives to lead and Francesca certainly seems to be doing well in her full-time job so in that I wish her continued success. I would also like to thank Francesca for everything that she has done for me in the time that we have known each other. Although it was not her choice as a main career there was no doubt that she was a naturally gifted carer. I will miss having her around. However we shall continue to be friends and keep in contact so I daresay that she will continue to pop up on the blog from time to time.

Ann now becomes my longest serving carer and the last member of my original team.


Here’s a bit of blog trivia. Today’s post is the 100th unique post. That’s 100 separate updates to my blog in just over two years. I would have reached this figure a long time ago if last year’s daily events were posted individually (like they are now) instead of being grouped together several times a month. Anyway here’s to the next 100!


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One Response to Friday, March 12th 2010

  1. Mark– please ask for a Lidocaine patch for your back. It is just a patch you put on your back but it is a Godsend to those of us with painful areas. It doesn’t cause any side-effects, and feels great. I absolutely love you and your blog. If I didn’t have to work my full time job, I would travel to the UK to take care of you. You deserve the best treatment possible–and lots of love. You are incredible. Brave, honest and true. I admire you more than you will every know. b

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