I was told years ago to embrace my pain for that was the one thing that will always remind me that I’m still alive. I think about those words that my dad told me when I was fifteen, laying in a hospital bed, just weeks after a disastrous ultra-light crash, and I remember that I wished for death to make the pain stop. I traveled a very long road to recovery which would torture me every single day. I was told to never give up and not to let the pain beat me. Here I sit thirty years later as a reminder that my personal triumph was filled with agony and tears. I also sit here today wondering why I go through my daily life still suffering pain.
The doctors tell me the definition of the pain in my feet is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy means the nerves in my feet don’t work properly. Of course, there is much more to it than just that but I’m not here to give you definitions. Hell, I’m not even here to give you answers. Unfortunately the questions I have are beyond what science has answered so therefore I don’t get answers either. Before you ask, yes I have tried medications for this nerve pain, Gabapentin & also Lyrica, both have failed to provide me any less pain or discomfort. I’m sure there are more medications out there but I don’t do the whole guinea pig thing too well. I have learned a few secrets about my feet and how they feel daily. I now have specific rules that I never deviate from. Did I just say never?
I also take two different diuretics (Hydrochlorothiazide aka HCT), one in a medication and one as a stand alone medication. Why? Along with the neuropathy, I also suffer from fluid retention (edema). Why is this important? Because I have to piss more than a pregnant woman in her third trimester throughout the day and night. I can set a clock by it since I have to relieve myself every two hours usually without any margin for error. Still need to know why this is important to this conversation? It’s simple, it requires me to get up at least three times in the night, in total darkness, and half asleep. I mentioned my rules above, well, the number one rule is that I do not walk around anywhere without some form of footwear, not even in my own house. I have lived and breathed that rule to the full extent and I do not deviate from it, until last night.
At around 1 o’clock this morning I found myself needing to get the hell out bed immediately because I was close to wetting the bed, which is something I have been able to pride myself on not doing as an adult. But no, this morning there was more of a sense of urgency, there was no holding back what was going to happen, it didn’t matter where I was going to be at the moment. I fucked up and paid the ultimate price. I skipped the slipping on of the houseshoes and bolted in the general direction I knew the bathroom to be. I ran three toes on my left foot straight into the corner molding on the floor entering the bathroom. I’m usually real stealthy at night, careful not to wake anyone in the house, but when I struck my toes it was like opening a can of every known fowl word to mankind. Unfortunately for me I woke up everyone because of my mistake. A mistake that I hope will never happen again, ever.
Anyway, while I sat on the floor (after pissing) holding my three toes I began to think about what I was told so many years ago and what I would be telling my children to encourage them to brush themselves off to face the rest of the day. I did this silently while I held back my tears. My children may not be ready to see me cry over three beat up toes. I have found that it sometimes doesn’t take much to bring this 6’8″ tall, 290lb man to almost shedding tears when I encounter earthshattering pain. But I remember, pain is my friend because the pain I feel reminds me I’m still alive. One day, as I told my wife, I will draw in my last breath and exist no more. I will know this because I will not be feeling any pain.