Monday, September 19, 2011

More about pain

I think I've said this before, but I'm always amazed at all the different kinds of pain you can feel, at the same time, in the same body. Amazing, really.

For example, this month I sprained my foot. Holy rollers on a cheese stick, it hurt. It's been a while since I've broken a bone, and the pain was so intense, I thought for sure I had broken a bone in my foot. Luckily, I hadn't, but that didn't stop me from taking Vicodin and passing out in my bed after I got back from the doctor's office. The pain woke me up 6 hours later, and I popped another Vicodin without even thinking, and went back to sleep. Rough stuff.

Again, since it wasn't broken, I was able to walk without crutches or a boot about 4 days later, but the pain isn't gone for good. Now it's just a dull ache, the kind that you can sort of ignore until you wonder why you're grouchy, and then you realize your foot has been hurting for hours and you were too busy to notice it. Yet the brain still sends signals that says, "DUDE, this HURTS!" and it still takes energy to deal with pain. SO much energy--ever notice that? Pain is exhausting.

Anyway, today I went running for the first time in about 8 months. Still healing from the hamstring tendonitis, I've been using that as an excuse not to exercise, and I feel like I'm back to square 1. Or square zero, if that exists. I don't know why I need to relearn this lesson so often. I NEED to exercise. Without it, I get depressed, my mood swings get bigger, I lie in bed longer than should be allowed. And also, of course, there's the pain. My kidney pain, which is completely different than my foot pain, or even my hamstring pain.

So I went running today, after deciding I need to pull it together again.

Oh, the pain.

Foot pain from the still healing sprain, hamstring pain from the tendonitis, knee pain from the fact that I'm no longer doing the cross-training necessary to support a running habit and keep my knees healthy, and then just the regular groaning of a body that is not used to running anymore.

So then I think, "I'm doing all this to avoid a little kidney pain? Shoot, what's a little kidney pain compared to all of THIS?"

And there you have it. The rub, as it were. The trade off of the pain of getting in shape vs. the pain of being out of shape. I tell myself that the pain of being IN shape--the sore muscles, the tired knees, the blisters--is better than the pain of being out of shape, and mentally, I suppose there's a big difference. When I have tired and sore muscles, I feel like I've earned that pain. But seriously, how mental is that? I did such a good job in taking care of my body that I drove it to the brink? That I pushed it so hard it hurt? Go, me? Craziness. And yet, I guess I prefer this kind of pain to my kidney pain. And depression. Depression sucks.

So, I'm going to run again. Soon. I'm thinking about signing up for a 10K next month, because obviously, I need races in my life to keep me running, and I need running in my life to keep me sane.

Not pain free, though. I used to say that running kept my pain at bay, that it made me feel good. It makes me feel healthy, for sure, but pain free? No. To say that, well, that's just me, being a runner. And runner's are notoriously delusional. And notoriously always in pain.

At least I'll have nice calves again, though.


AlisonH said...

Fast walks are easier than running, if that helps any. I used to outpace the neighborhood jogger. (Oh. That helps with knees, maybe feet not so much.)

Good luck!

RobMonroe said...

Sorry to hear of the injuries - hope you are feeling better as you get back into shape. Best of luck with your 10k! I'm looking at a 5k on Thanksgiving since we will be staying put this year... :)

Carolina Nightingale said...

When you got to the part about pain taking up so much energy I thought YES AND EVEN YESSER!!! It is amazing how many different kinds of pain our bodies can experience. Mine is so weird, too... for me, the pain is connected to movement and exercise and also to NOt moving and NOT exercising, and also sometimes happens for NO DANG REASON... and might, unlike most pain, not be doing any damage at all. The weirdest pain is the nerve pain kind, the kind that isn't a warning signal, like most pain, that you have done something "wrong" or in the wrong way... instead, it is just saying "look at me LOOK AT ME I'm HEEEEERE!!!!!" like a little drama queen, and not doing damage, only making life SO much more "interesting." And I'm so grateful for pain medications. I try very, very hard not to become addicted to anything (addiction and dependence being different than each other, of course) but, I cannot walk, or more, or function, or even lie down in bed without them. Well, not without them And without the hot acid feeling of the nerve pain down my legs and back. And yet I worry over my liver and kidneys every day, because I must keep them healthy, too, despite all the medication I continually have to take. It is a constant balancing act, is it not? (PS- my name doesn't show up, but this is Heather B.)

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Well you should take proper rest and take care of your health! Best wishes for you :)