Pain, Incapacitation, and Not Being Able to Create

This blog is long past due. I have wanted/not wanted to write for weeks. My husband and I went to Hawaii to celebrate two big events in our lives. When I first met Martin, he was working on a photography project, photographing the fifty state capitols. I was able to join him in his quest for many of the remaining capitols. He saved Honolulu for last. What a great finale! And I completed my Master of Fine Arts in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. My journey was only four and a half years, compared to Martin’s ten-plus years. Both were quite the journey, though, and we shared much of them together. That was, undoubtedly, the best part.

Martin in Front of Honolulu State Capitol

If you follow either of us on Facebook, undoubtedly you know that we squeezed our trip to Hawaii in between school schedules. We left South Carolina the last day of my semester at AAU. We returned the day before we both started teaching in the fall semester, me with the University of South Carolina Palmetto College (USC’s online university program) and the University of South Carolina Sumter’s online accounting program and Martin with Florence Darlington Technical College teaching Developmental English. (I was also to teach another class, as well. See below.) While in Hawaii, we cruised around the islands, visiting, Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai. Blog soon to follow on snorkeling with sea turtles!

Shortly after returning to South Carolina, though, I began having excruciating pain, very similar to what I had experienced before my hip replacement surgery last year. Much like last time, the diagnosis was not quick to reveal itself. And that is what this blog is actually about. For a couple of weeks now, I have been unable to walk without a walker. I can’t sleep in (or even get into) the bed. Pills don’t even make a dent in the pain. After taking Vicodin and Percocet to no effect, I ended up in the Emergency Room. Even after IV morphine, the pain still didn’t subside. It has only been two weeks, so far, this time, unlike over three months last time, but it seems like forever. There is little that is more debilitating than constant pain. And little that is more depressing. I seem to exist in the middle of a giant pity party. I so desperately want to be able to get out and photograph, to print, to work on the images I created in Hawaii. Instead, I find myself anchored to a “lift” chair with pillows propped under my leg and butt, a heating pad constantly attached, and ineffective pain meds an arm’s reach away. On my few ventures out of the house (hospital, doctor, and two foolish attempts to teach class in the traditional brick and mortar classroom environment from which I finally had the good sense to resign), I have ended up dizzy and nauseous from the pain.  Dizzy, nauseous, and unable to walk to the board do not make for an effective classroom instructor….

I feel confident that things will improve. I had two injections in my spine yesterday. The docs said it would take three to five days for the injections to take effect. I’m trying to stay positive and look forward to returning to my camera and studio. It’s hard to not wallow in self-pity, even though I know that, compared to what others have to endure, I don’t have it so bad. Back pain is not life threatening. There are treatments. I have a wonderful, supportive husband who takes incredible care of me….

Hopefully, my next blog will examine those amazing sea turtles I snorkeled with on Maui!  Soon….