A moment of medical self-reflection

I went in for my semi-annual checkup with my endoc this evening, the last holdout of my adventures with the BFFN. Which went well, as expected, though I had to sheepishly explain to Dr. Kohn that I was ragged around my edges thanks to dental surgery AND fighting off a cold. And on the way out, I added to her that I had learned from all my experiences with cancer how to tell when my pain tolerances were maxed out, and that I’d be heading home to lie down.

Which is all true. In the last couple of years I’ve gotten way better at telling when my system has been overloaded due to pain–which historically I’ve always had a problem with. I’m usually able to shrug off minor pain, until it builds and builds and eventually suddenly POW, I’m tired and cranky and nauseous and out of cope. That kind of pain is almost more draining than the blatant, outright agony of something on the scale of oh, say, breaking my arm (still my benchmark for Worst Pain I’ve Ever Been In).

All of which is a roundabout way of me deciding I should probably ask my dentist for a refill of the painkiller. My personal supply of cope has been stressed this week, even with preventive measures of working from home for two days in a row so I could continue to recover but keep working at the same time. I’ve been fighting off that cold, which impacts my reserves. And we’re about to head into an Excessive Heat Warning situation starting tomorrow, which is also not fun for my reserves.

So yeah. Surgery recovery + cold + high heat = I’d better call the dentist in the morning and ask for more painkiller. A decision part of me is chagrined about even with my more mature self-awareness about my medical limits–even with that, there’s an instinct of “I should just be able to handle the pain! I’ll be OKAY!”

Even now, it requires swallowing a bit of pride to be able to let myself say, “Actually, it’s OKAY to admit that I’m in pain and that I need a bit of assistance managing it. That is, in fact, the wise thing to do!”

This post goes out to all my Internet friends who face similar changes on a daily basis, or to those whose loved ones do so as well. This is me saying yeah, I hear you. And also, take care of yourselves and your loved ones! Especially if you’re in the Seattle area, and you have no air conditioning, and you’re joining me in facing the 90F+ heat adventures tomorrow.