Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

So on Friday my pain doctor switched me from Neurontin to Lryica for my neurologic pains. Most of the pain that I have of late is in my legs and is mostly along the sciatic nerve. There are so many variables in play that it's difficult to say what's causing any of my pains or what causes them to move, and it's equally difficult to say what is working to suppress those pains, but it seems like the Lyrica was the right move.

Saturday morning I woke up much the same as any other morning, though it did seem like the pain was a little less than normal. I got up, took my medication as usual, and waited for the medication to take effect. Around 11:30 or so, my wife took the girls and they left to attend a birthday party at a friend's house that is a little too far away for me to be comfortable riding in the car. Being at home alone, I decided to attempt to get a few things done. It was such a beautiful day, that I decided to finish putting together the geodesic dome jungle gym that Santa had brought the girls for Christmas. Santa had attempted to assemble it in the garage on Christmas Eve, but the cold steel got the better of him as well as the logistics of trying to transport it fully assembled out of the garage and into the yard and Santa decided to leave it for me to assemble when the weather became more cooperative to such endeavors. So I brought all of the parts out onto the deck, still as cold as they were on Christmas Eve and let them warm in the sun while I got to work assembling several pentagons and hexagons into something resembling a dome.

What seemed like 64,000 screws later, it was completed around 4:00. It was at that time that I realized that I hadn't had a Vicodin since around 9:00 that morning and hadn't really noticed any pain in the interim despite the fact that I spent much of that time either sitting on a stool or on the ground putting things together. I was starting to feel some early tinges of pain at that point. It was more just a little discomfort that I recognized as the early warning of things to come, so I went ahead and took another Vicodin at that time. The discomfort quickly faded and I decided to start on project number two which was the trampoline that mom had purchased for the girls the previous week. Her grand plan had been for my brother to assemble it for us while he and she were visiting last week, but Old Man Winter had other plans and a freak March snowstorm prevented that from happening so I got started assembling the trampoline which went much quicker and involved a lot less effort than the jungle gym had. As sunset approached, I had it assembled except for the safety net that goes around it, and decided to call it a day. At this point, I still wasn't feeling any pain.

I decided at this point that a soak in the hot tub was warranted as a fitting end to the day, so I climbed in, turned on the jets and relaxed, or at least that was the plan. Apparently the jets aggravated several of my pain points though part of the aggravation may have also been caused by the position in which I sat, either way, I began to get some pain in my neck and shoulders, my left forearm and, of course, my legs, so I cut the cycle short and got out. It took the better part of the evening for those pains to go away but they eventually did. I went to bed that evening much the same as other evenings, sleeping for about an hour or so, then waking up with an ache in my legs, taking some more medication, waiting for it to take effect, then going back to bed until about 4 or 5AM when I would wake up again.

Sunday was much the same as Saturday. I finished putting the trampoline together, even spent a little time on it with the girls, but somewhere around mid-afternoon I guess that all of the pain-free fun caught up to me as I became drowsy and had to take a nap. When I got up afterwards, things seemed to be back to "normal" with some mild pain kept in check by the Vicodin.

Monday was perhaps the best day that I've had since all of this started. I go out of bed feeling no pain. A first as long as I can remember. Throughout the day, I felt hints of pain coming on a couple of times and took a Vicodin when I did, but I stayed pain free most of the day and by its end, made it through the day having only taken 3, despite actually sitting at the desk all day rather than trying to work from a standing position or seated on the floor as has become the norm. I went to be feeling optimistic and hoping that it was the beginning of a trend. I thought that if it were, that I may be able to consider going back into the office soon, perhaps as soon as next week.

Tuesday started out like Monday. I awoke without pain and approached my day much the same. I noticed that my sleep pattern had changed somewhat as I found myself not really being very sleepy come the usual bedtime, but after the usual ritual of going to bed, then having to get up, take meds, sit for a while, etc... I was getting down for the night around 12:30 or so and sleeping through until 5AM, then going back down at 6. My wife, for better or worse, was letting me sleep in so I wasn't getting up for the day until around 9. Somehow, my nights had sprung forward by 2 hours instead of one, but overall I was getting a little more sleep than before, especially in an continuous stretch.

Tuesday was our anniversary, so my wife suggested that we celebrate by going to lunch, girls in tow, and use the gift certificate that my employees had graciously taken up a collection to give me. While there, I approached the end of the window of my Vicodin dose and started feeling that discomfort that I get from sitting in a comfy chair for too long. By the time we got home, I was about an hour and a half past due and in a fair amount of pain. It then took the better part of the afternoon for the pain to fully subside with my needing another only 3 hours later. By evening, things were once again back to "normal".

Wednesday morning I was awakened by the girls bright an early at 7:30. They didn't wake me on purpose, but they have no volume control which is an unfortunate hereditary condition so I got up. I awoke from perhaps the longest night of sleep that I've had in some time. I went to bed the night before at around 11:30, got up an hour later with mild leg pain, and sat writing on this blog post for about an hour, taking a Vicodin and returning to bed at 1:30. I did not get up again until the girls woke me. I got up without any pain and took my meds as usual, however I started feeling it in my legs around 11:00 which was an hour too early to take another Vicodin. I held out until 12:30 and was good until around 3:30. I'm not sure what is going on, but it seems that the last two days in the afternoon it has come on more strongly where I've needed the Vicodin every 3 hours through the afternoon, then by evening things are back to normal. I did have a fair amount of constipation that afternoon, so that could have been contributing to it. I went to bed around 10:00 and was sleeping well enough that I may have made it through, but the baby woke us all up around 3AM and once up, I realized that I was having lower back pain, and the bowel discomfort that goes with it, so it was back to the routine.

So the Lyrica pattern, if there is one, is still a bit elusive. Overall, I think that it has improved things. I do feel that the pain is less, especially compared to the previous week, though it seems that some of that may be masked by a shifting of schedules, with my sleep patterns off and my daily routine perhaps pushed a little too much. I have a follow up appointment with the pain specialist tomorrow, so we'll see what that brings, if anything...

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