- Posted August 6, 2012 by
Kansas City, Missouri
The worst part of waking up
Ugh. I gotta work a double today. My life as a server in a busy restaurant is enjoyable enough, if I choose to ignore the necessary pace of Mach One I must maintain to make it through each shift. I am not a slacker. When I work, I break my back because if I have to be there, I may as well keep busy and do it with a smile.
As this occurs to me, I grab a cup of energy and head for the bathroom, preparing to shower and put on my face. And then... I feel the twinge. My bladder pokes me with a familiar pain, which seems to radiate up my spine. It's a crushing bear hug of pain that takes my breath away. Standing upright is no simple task. Not again...
Let's be honest. Most people find morning urination a relief. Pressure gone, now you can press on. For people living with my condition - interstitial cystitis - bladder pressure is a nightmare. And the actual release and draining is like voiding lava, if my kidneys don't decide to pass a jagged fragment of crystallized cyst. That's always a good time.
I force myself to drink water, even though I dread the "twinge", and the damage to my bladder is self-perpetuating. There's a constant process happening, so my shredded urethra, bladder, and ureters undergo the daily bear-hugging, searing, bleeding, tearing, burning process of simply voiding my bladder.
Because there is no cure for my condition, I must endure this several times a day for the rest of my life. Every six months, I check in to the hospital to have the cysts in my kidneys "shock-waved" into glass-like fragments, which I then get to pass when they make their way into my bladder. It's a blast to the senses, I don't mind saying. We're talking bed-rest and six tons of water for three days.
After trying typical IC treatments, I've been told my best course of action is pain management. I am allergic to narcotics. Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycodone... all of them. Tylenol 3 makes me sick. I can't keep any of them down, so they don't have time to work.
Gabapentin and its cousins are a joke, too. There is no pain like fire in your urethra, especially when it's shredded from constant passage of demon shards (my pet name for them). Mickey Mouse medicine is nowhere near adequate.
The only relief I've found is cannabis. To people who live with debilitating pain, cannabis is often the only viable medicine. Medicating with marijuana alleviates most debilitating pain. It isn't a cure-all, but it is useful in allowing average people to live a normal life without suffering. Rather than being doped up in bed on Vicodin, which causes "head-haze" and dizziness many times more powerful than cannabis. You try serving six rotating tables with tea refills, running food, prebussing, taking orders, making coffee, getting more ranch dressing for table 73, running credit cards, fetching to-go boxes...... when you're jacked up on Vicodin. If it's even possible, I'm less of a woman than I thought, because I can't do it. I just want to sleep.
Unfortunately, the narcotics my doctors want me to take to manage my pain make me sick or itchy or they don't work at all. So I persist, using friggin' Advil Migraine to deal with it. I may be imagining it's actually helping, but I have to, if I'm going to make it through each dinner rush.
I won't lie. Sometimes I smoke marijuana, despite the law. Know when I do it? Every time I read about another cop or politician getting busted for abusing drugs or alcohol.
In this century, more than half of our population is currently prescribed a pharmaceutical drug. Some people abuse them. Most don't. Cannabis should be given the same respect. It is not fatal, even if someone's kid got into it and took the whole thing. How many of YOUR prescription drugs can claim the same thing?
It is at this point in my diatribe I'd like to address the opponents of cannabis legitimization:
Hear me. Listen closely. Read this paragraph again if you still don't understand. If U.S. laws permit American adults to drink limitless alcohol, smoke infinite packs of cigarettes, gamble away their retirement, abort viable fetuses, view pornography, buy prescription drugs to take home and stockpile, create and raise children without supervision, and speak our minds... American adults should have the right to use a non-lethal plant to end their suffering, if it works for them. Period. Any confusion? If so, begin again... it'll sink in eventually.
Vote. For Christ's Sake, vote. Tell everyone to vote. Start a conversation with the guy behind you in line. Talk to your customers. I do. Tell people to vote. You can't throw a rock in this country without hitting someone who either smokes themselves, knows someone who does, or loves someone who is living in agony who could benefit from cannabis.
If you dug this, share this. Thanks. Been a slice...
don't worry, I'm getting down off the soapbox.