I went camping this past weekend. I needed to get away from people, get closer to myself and nature, and reconnect with my photography. The part about getting closer to nature and reconnecting with my photography was true enough, but getting away from people was anything but that! I think everyone who owned, or could borrow, a tent had the same idea and showed up at the same campground. Heck, some didn’t even have a tent. They slept in their car. It reminded me of camping at Catfish Bay, Lake Texoma over 40 years ago: leaving an overcrowded urban trailer park to stay in an even more overcrowded tent city. It was fun back then; it ain’t today! So my intention for a weekend of gritting my teeth through the pain in solitude while pursuing a great photograph was blown first rattle out of the box.
I still had the gritting and gnashing of teeth in response to pain, but I also had the irritation of people to deal with: people who don’t even bring a flashlight to camp, people who use charcoal lighter fluid to start a campfire, people who bring large screen TVs to keep their kids occupied, and a divorced dad trying to impress their kid and wind up being a total jerk. However, I was determined to put myself in the right place at the right time for the best opportunity to make a good image. Since I barely slept a wink, waiting for sunrise was not big deal, and after spending the afternoon observing the loonies around camp, it was real easy to leave camp early enough to be set up for sunset. All I really wanted was GOD to paint the sky in magic.
I’m no expert on pain. I don’t have any information or answers on what to do to get rid of pain; I wish I did. I have pain: physical pain. Mine is caused my arthritis. It keeps me from doing a lot of the things I want to do most. It steals the joy away when I’m doing the things I can. It saps my energy until I’m tired and don’t feel like doing much, at all. It prevents any restful sleep at night and causes me to wish for the sounding alarm on the clock. Medication helps, sometimes: meloxicam, Tramadol, acetaminophen, ibuprofen. Topical pain relief creams and moist heat give relief, at times. Even Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has a place in my self-therapy. But when the sciatic nerve on my left side erupts pain courses across past my artificial hip, runs down my leg and explodes into my arthritis destroyed left knee. It quickly becomes crippling agony. What to do? What to do?
I have no answers. I’ve already had a total replacement of my right knee and left hip. I anticipate future replacements of my left knee and left shoulder. Will replacements stop there? I don’t know. And then, what do I do about the sciatic nerve? Tomorrow, after a regular monthly visit to my chiropractor, I have a “not regular” appointment with my physician to discuss options. I’m hoping there are some.
I know there are many out there who have it much worse than I and their pain is greater. Some will think I’m whining. Perhaps some will understand. My hope is that writing about it will help me feel better. That’s all!