Sunday, April 19, 2009


My best friend and I had an hour long talk on the phone yesterday. We are on opposite coasts. We catch up when we can. We promised to have a discussion about our feelings on aging but as it turned out, we talked about our pain; physical pain, that is.

We've known one another since we were fourteen. No pain then. It's something we're each trying to get used to without much success. I take a lot of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. She suffers the pain so she can have her wine at night. You see, alcohol and certain pain relievers are both hard on the liver. It's a double whammy if you aren't careful.

Today I tried to do a simple 35 minute yoga routine that includes lunges & hip bends and I could not do it. I lasted three minutes. It just hurt too much.

Now, it's not this way every day. Some days I am in good shape, fairly limber and have a limited but not unreasonable range of motion. Other days, everything hurts and I just want to sit or lie down.

But then there are my other friends in constant, unrelenting pain. One has had a spinal fusion and many other operations. She has metal rods in her spine. They attach horizontally and vertically. I can't explain it better than that. The x rays tell the tale. She stands straight as an arrow and will never again bend at the waist. She is never out of pain. So what the hell do I have to complain about?


Susan said...

Dear lord, that sounds awful! Your poor friend. It makes my everyday aches and pains of aging seem trivial. Getting old is definitely not for sissies! I bought 3 new workout DVDs two weeks ago and have yet to try one of them. I dread the not being able to get out of bed the next morning feeling. Ugh!

Baino said...

Yeh I know, I've been whining about back pain but it's nothing compared to that which others have to put up with. I do find that the more I 'move' the more comfortable my joints are (losing a little weight helps too!) and glucosamine! Haha . .it's a bugger getting old!

Minka said...

And yet, when something hurts it doesn't help you that others are in more pain than you. I mean, yes: What do I have to complain about! Absolutely. But when it hurts, it hurts, doesn't it?

I am lucky, though, for now at least, and I do feel bad knowing that some people aren't.

Judy said...

I have found in my 50's that Tai Chi is very helpful, more that Yoga.

Reya Mellicker said...

Pain is an inevitable part of life. Some suffer more of it than others, but we all get a dose.

That doesn't mean I think it's ever OK to be in pain. It saddens me to think of you and your friend in so much pain.

Wish I was there to do some gentle bodywork and/or Reiki for you.

Lover of Life said...

So sad to have to live with constant pain. So far, I've been pretty lucky. But you know your time is coming. Isn't there anything you can do, or take that is safe?

JC said...

I am so so sorry for the pain that you and your friend deal with each day.

I've dealt with a lot in my life. Each day when I get up, I have about five minutes when I'm young again. After that, I get to know what my day will be like.

It's all a mental thing. Some days aren't so good but I keep on trying.

If one med doesn't work, I try another.

A nice drink in the evening does help with my old friend, Arthur.

Hugs to you & your friend

Tanna said...

Constant, unrelenting pain would just be horrible. I cannot imagine never being out of pain. I hope somehow your friend finds some relief and comfort.

And, yes, you are right; your friend's situation puts my own aches and pains of aging into perspective, too.

I do hope you and your friend in CA get back to the discussion of aging... I was looking forward to reading about that.

California Girl said...

Susan: I made a promise to hit the gym 5 out of 7 days p/w if only for 30 minutes and I have yet to keep it.

Baino: if I would hit the gym, I'd lose the weight & the aches & pains would lessen, you're right. my husband loves glucosamine but it never seemed to help me.

Minka: yup. it still hurts no matter what.

Judy: I'd love to do Tai Chi and have thought about it but am not sure we have a practitioner here in the valley any longer.

Reya: I was seeing a Polarity Therapist once ever 3 wks for 18 mos. Can't afford it right now but I swear she helped a great deal. PT incorporates reiki and more. pretty cool stuff.

LOL: besides booze & NSAIDs? an occasional aspirin. I stopped taking arthritis meds 2 yrs ago. I have to take 3 other prescribed meds and I just couldn't deal w/ 4.

JC: my husband went through two solid years of agonizing back pain and read every book on it being in his head by one doctor whose name escapes me right now. He had me convinced but there are days when my head refuses to cooperate!

Tanna: yes, me too. I'll have to draw her into it again and not tell her there are readers waiting to hear what she has to say ;>)

Poppy said...

That reminds me of my constant back and neck cramps that started when I was only a teenager :S I was attending physical therapy with people that were 30 or 40 years older than me.

But still.. that looks like nothing in comparison to your story. I don't want to be negative but I'm scared of getting old from that point of view. It looks like you get tangled in a pile of medicines but the pain is still there. :|

I guess I'll just have to work out enough to strenghten my back muscles now that I still have time :)

Hope you get better!

Judy said...

I'd be happy to send you a Tai Chi DVD I don't need anymore. One can teach themselves the movements. or even make up similar movements once you get the idea of the gentle motion.
If you are interested email me

Your next post with questioning to repeat testing.... that's a tough one. I'm in the medical profession, but I use alternative medicine more! BUt knownledge is power, so I think it is best to go and learn as much as you can about your body.
good luck, Judy in Iowa

Star said...

I sympathise with you and your pain. I have had a fluey cold for a week and suffered first with the runny nose, then a sore stomach from sneezing all the time, then a sore throat, followed by a cough which stopped me sleeping at night. After that I got a sinus headache for three days. Today I feel better!! It's such a joy to wake up without the headache and face the day with hope...we always have hope, don't we? hope that tomorrow we won't have pain or that the pain will be less than it was yesterday. That's life, I suppose but it's not easy, especially as we get older. Take care.
Blessings, Star

California Girl said...

Poppy: compared to my friend with the rods in her back, I'm in good shape!

Judy: I think Tai Chi would be great to try. I sent you an email.

Star: you are correct. we always have pain, it's a question of how much for how long.


by Cole Scott