Day 3 of November Hell

This morning was Staff Development Day at work. It consists of all-day meetings and guest speakers and whatnot. I am still ill but was expected to show up. I wore the loosest fitting slacks I could find, and a sweater. The idea of sitting in a metal chair all day made me wince, but I needed to at least try.

The pain and bleeding had abated overnight, and I was down to a minimal pink flow – almost spotting, when I woke this morning. But I knew that wouldn’t last long.

I packed my heating pad, some extra cloth pads and my medication, popped 600mg Advil, and off I went.

I lasted an hour before the pain and bleeding ramped up again (about 9:30am).

The first inkling I had of renewed pain was actually anal pain while I sat in the metal chair. Even though I had a chair pad, I was very uncomfortable. When I stood up with everyone to go outside, I felt weak. As I watched my co-workers do a music and movement routine outside, the menstrual flow returned. I slowly made my way to the bathroom, and chuckled to myself as a very pregnant co-worker waddled hurriedly past me. She’s in her last month and has to go to the bathroom all the time. I had a mock image in my head of me and her fighting for the bathroom. Ahh, it’s the dark humour that sees me through…

The pain continued to ramp up as I waited for the bathroom. I could wait no longer, so I shuffled to the other bathroom in the building. Yep, super red flow and clots had returned, and I felt I still had a much bigger one yet to pass. I took a full Tylenol 3 plus 400mg Advil, and waffled on whether to just leave work right then or try to hang on and make it through the guest speaker’s presentation.

That’s when the director saw me and asked gently if I could try to make it through the guest speaker’s presentation. So that was my decision. I heated up my corn heating pad and sat back down. I knew that by staying, I’d be toughing out the pain til the meds kicked in. I knew that by staying til the pain meds kicked in, that I’d be too medicated to drive anywhere for awhile. I knew that by being on an entire Tylenol 3, I’d become very sleepy. But I chose to stay, because I knew that there were still two meetings to get through today after the presentation.

Well, the presentation lasted til 11:30am. The director told me it was okay to go home, but I was far too stoned on meds by this point to make rational decisions anymore. I hung out for a bit, hoping that the Internship teacher would be speaking, soon, but the wrap-up from the directors on the guest speaker took a half an hour. During this wrap-up time, I sat by the front door of the school, then moved to the library of the school and snoozed on a pillow chair. The whole time, I was within earshot of the wrap-up commentary by the directors, so I was still there in attendance, just not in the same room with my co-workers.

When everyone was dismissed to lunch at noon, I found my head teachers, my afternoon supervisor and my internship teacher, and got whatever notes and details I could from them about the meetings I would be missing this afternoon. Everyone was understanding and said it was okay for me to go home. I was wavering on my feet, after all.

The pain was dissociated enough by this time that I was able to drive home, even though it was too bright outside and my eyes hurt (thanks to the Tylenol 3).
I only live a mile from the school, but it was a grueling mile to drive when so medicated and brightly lit outside.
But I made it home safely.

I got in the door, changed into my jammies, and crawled into bed. My husband is thankfully working from home today, so he went out on his lunch hour and brought us back some Thai food.
I ate half of my meal, then tried to crawl back into bed, but the pain was returning again. It had been nearly four hours since my last dose of Tylenol 3, so the pain was already leaking through again.

I took my second full Tylenol 3 of the day, tried to crawl back into bed again, and could not get comfortable.

This afternoon is officially the part of my cycle where everything is annoying and uncomfortable and I’m just DONE with dealing with the endometriosis.

Part of it is because I didn’t see the warm sunny days for the past three days. Part of it is because no matter how much time I’ve spent in bed, my body is still unable to hold itself upright for too long. My back aches from all the laying around, and yet I can do little else but lay around. And part of the frustration and annoyance is due to all of the codeine I’ve ingested over the past three days – it’s definitely a CNS depressant, and it does make me super grouchy every month after I’ve been on it for two days.

I hate this part of the cycle, because I turn into a three-year-old and can’t use my words. I huff and puff and growl and cry out ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! a lot.

This too shall pass.

If you think that’s bad, you should see me on morphine. Not looking forward to *that* hangover after my second surgery in December.

Two last things I want to touch on before I sign off:

Diet – I’ve caved in and have eaten a lot of chocolate in the past seven days. Chocolate is BAD BAD BAD for me. But I keep rebelling, and I keep demanding a play-by-play of how chocolate affects one’s brain and hormonal chemistry. I once got a play-by-play on what happens to one’s body when one drinks Coke. I would love to see the same thing written up for chocolate. Anyone stumble across it? Let me know! Because until I read it, I know myself well enough to know I will still rebel and eat chocolate.

Pain Management – I’ve been going to an Alexander Technique class as often as I can for the past four months. While it does not help immediately relieve my pain of endometriosis, I am convinced that in the long term, applying this technique will do wonders for my pain management overall.

I have not gone to the acupuncturist since July. I simply could not afford her anymore, and my husband is very skeptical that acupuncture works at all, so he’s reluctant to pay for weekly or biweekly sessions. The Alexander Technique, on the other hand, is offered for free through a Prop 215 dispensary near our home.

As far as any other pain management for “in-the-moment” pain, I have lapsed. I really need a devoted teacher to train me in the ways of mindful meditation and progressive relaxation. But again, those classes were unaffordable, because our insurance would not cover the classes through UCSF, where I’ll be getting my surgery in December. They were billed as psychiatry instead of pain management, and so they were considered out of network, because there are only certain psychiatric providers I can see under our health insurance. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all. :(

I noticed today at work that my breathing came in short bursts because I was hunched over my heating pad in the chair, with every muscle tensed in the moment of pain. I tried to sit up straight to open my lungs and draw some air, but it hurt so much that I hunched over again. Being at home on my yoga mat or in my bed allows me the proper comfortable time and space to do my breathing exercises, but out in public, I just want to roll into a ball and disappear. That is what I noticed today.

I’m sad to not be participating in the staff meetings and classroom cleanup today. But I am, at the same time, much happier to be at home where I can allow the pain to BE what it is, and I can freely express how I feel about being in pain within the safety of my own home.

I now have the weekend to recover, and Monday will start a new work week, hopefully with energy restored by then.

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