The funny thing about a long-term, pain-inflicting condition is that you don't fully realise or understand how much pain you're in or how much it affects your life until it's not there anymore.
Last night I got a reminder of what life is like when your whole body doesn't ache and stab mercilessly, all day every day. It was so bizarre, to not be in pain. My body felt numb, but it wasn't, it was just that the points of pain which have been identifying markers for so long weren't there.If I thought about it, I could still FEEL my hip, it just wasn't in pain. I could still FEEL my knee, it just wasn't in pain. Never having had any sort of severe condition, never having broken a bone or anything like that, I'd never experienced pain that lasted longer than a few weeks until suddenly I was in pain every day for 18 months.
Being out of pain for the first time was eye-opening. It was like I had been living in a house with unwashed windows for so long that I'd forgotten what the outside looked like. I'd forgotten that there was sun, that there was grass and trees and such beautiful things. Maybe I was just high, but for the first time since I was pregnant I could see things clearly. I could remember how I used to feel, before my whole life became about controlling and limiting my actions so I could control and limit my pain. My world had shrunk down so far, into what could be achieved without pain, or what had to be achieved and how much pain it would cause. You can't have a happy, fulfilling, and productive life if you focus it on pain. Or at least, I can't.
I have been such an unpleasant person over the last year-and-a-bit. I'm snappy, difficult, miserable, negative, impatient and withdrawn. I make an effort to be pleasant, cheerful, and delightful in public when I see people, but the truth is I almost never see people because it's just too hard. Most of the time I'm at home, alone, moody and brooding. There have been times when my world view is so clouded that I've had serious thoughts of suicide, and -more worryingly- divorce. It's so hard for me to see good in things when I feel bad all the time. Last night for the first time in ages I felt close to Mr A, properly close. Not just physically or out of gratefulness because he'd done something nice that day, but the sort of closeness that comes from feeling years worth of happy memories and good times. A stretching, reaching sort of closeness. A warm, safe feeling that wasn't interrupted by 'Ow, my hips' or 'Shit, my knees'. It was like someone opened the door of the room I was in and let in some light, and allowed me to see all the rooms I'd walked through before, with him.
The only real problem with this is that I'm becoming hyper-aware of when the pills wear off. The pain starts coming back, my mind becomes fuzzy and I get a feeling of slight panic. I lose concentration and start losing my train of thought. Not good, and I'm understanding more and more how people becoming addicted on pain medication. Before that, there's also a slight nausea that's near-constant, but it's worth it to feel this GOOD all the time.