Saturday, June 18, 2011

Strange Feelings

What strange feelings I've been having lately--physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I've mentioned before that I'm concerned about getting physically dependent on my pain pills, as I know someone who died from an overdose of them. I was especially worried a couple nights ago, when I couldn't sleep until taking one at 4am.

The fear of becoming dependent on them (the word "addicted" scares me) creates feelings all its own. I talked to a nurse friend of mine when I couldn't sleep last night, and he said that if I absolutely had to take something, try an antihistimine. This isn't a bad suggestion, especially given all the outdoor growth from our late Spring rains, so I took some. Over 45 minutes later I was still awake, but shortly thereafter got to sleep. I woke up an hour or two later but was able to get back to sleep. This morning I felt better, like perhaps I'm not reliant on the pain pills.

Throughout today, though, my hurt knee kept feeling tighter and tighter. Also, I get this strange feeling in my back, almost like I'm carrying a backpack or something. I don't know how to describe it but "restless". Today, more than a day and a half after that 4am pill, I took a half a pill. I hope that will help. And my doctor told me definitely to take one shortly before going to physical therapy on Wednesday.

I've noticed something else. I'm getting weepy lately. I don't know what brings it on, sometimes nothing, but I'll just start crying. Thirty seconds later it'll end as abruptly as it started. In fact, if I want to I'll bet I can cause myself to start crying on command. What the heck is that? I feel like this song sounds.

I wonder if I might be staying indoors too much. Today I charged up the motorized scooter and took it for two spins around the block. It was nice being out in the sun and tossing out hellos to people, but it was also nice to get back into my air conditioning. Still, because of that odd feeling in my back, I couldn't enjoy resting or taking a nap afterward.

About my back, I should probably contact my chiropractor--whom I haven't seen since before my injury. That might help my back a lot; unfortunately, I don't think his office is open on Monday! About the crying, I don't know what causes it so I don't know how to end it. And now that I've gone a night without the pill, and I'm down from lots to only half a pill a day (unless there's physical therapy!), I can with some reasonable confidence believe that I'm probably not physically dependent on the medication--which is a tremendous relief.

These last few days have been exceedingly uncomfortable in so many arenas. I'm hopeful that these days were just a random "rough patch" and that there will soon be improvement. My son and I split a couple games of Sorry tonight, and tomorrow morning we're scheduled to walk (I'll moto-scoot) up to Grocery Outlet for a few things, and my dad and his wife are picking us up for Father's Day ice cream in the afternoon. A friend should be here for movie night in a few minutes, and I asked him to bring some root beer, as I kinda have a craving (ooh, and I have vanilla ice cream!). I recognize that I have no legitimate reason to be in an emotional funk, and every reason to think that I'm well on the road to physical recovery from an injury that, while not big in the grand scheme of things, was very traumatic for me and my way of life.

So why can't I shake this?

Update, June 19th, just a few hours later: Movie night is over, and how helpful it was to find the comments here and the emails from friends (yes, I sent this link to them). Cries for help can be pathetic, but they're usually only made when necessary. I'm not magically "cured", I can't suddenly walk or even feel happy, but I don't feel alone, trapped in this house, with my son leaving tomorrow afternoon, doomed to face four walls and the reality of my condition. Oh, all that is still true, I just know that I'm not alone.


MikeAT said...


One, cut yourself some slack man. You had a bad break that you well know could have been a lot worse.

Two, you are an independent SOB to an extreme. Remember your issues when you became the adjutant? You like controlling your future…or more to the point, not letting it be in someone else’s hands. You wouldn’t even take unemployment after getting off active duty.

You have handled the pain pills pretty well (in a few weeks from 6 a day to less than one a day is pretty good progress). I know after loosing the weight over the last year you have gotten back into working out and not having that is part of the funk. But that will come back as you as recover and get back into your normal routine.

That may be it in a nutshell. Your routine, the parts of your life that are out right now (work, exercise, time with Austin, the vacations, etc). It will come back…Iceland in summer 2012, camping over the holidays, your students listening to you, not the sub. It will come back.

You’ll get through this bro….

Polski3 said...

Perhaps a form of "shell shock?" You have had a traumatic injury that greatly altered your usual routine, life and lifestyle. I'd encourage you to talk to someone professional about this....and I am sure you are not the first person to experience such thoughts, emotions, worries, etc.

Keep us posted!

Melody Hutsell said...

I have some suggestions of the more natural approach for your sleep, pain, and general anxiety.... Valerian would be one of my recommendations.
A friend pointed me towards your blog and I've made a couple stops here. I enjoy what I've read.

Darren said...

Valerian? What can a Roman emperor do for me? :-)

Mike, leave it to you to tie this problem to my time as adjutant. You see clearly what I did not, that I like feeling in control of my own destiny. Oh yes, it's a conceit, as none of controls our own destiny--which is why it's destiny!--but I need to feel in control of it. I'll consider that, and work on accepting things rather than fighting them.

And I did go on unemployment, eventually. It gets cold in Colorado Springs in October, November, and December, and the apartment wouldn't stay heated for free. I don't know if I ever told you, but it got to the point where I kept the place at 55 degrees (thank God I had a waterbed, with a heater), and took showers in the apartment pool restrooms so as not to have to pay to heat my own shower water. And to this day I haven't eaten another meal of Top Ramen. Yes, those were difficult times, too, and I got through them. With help....

Darren said...

Valerian is available at the Walmart down the street. Gawd, how did we ever live before the internet?

MikeAT said...

I knew about the showers at the pool....but not about the unemployment.

I'll send you a case of Ramen! :<)

Darren said...

Save yourself the effort and just send the cash instead :-)

Joshua Sasmor said...

"Send the cash" - for Ramen? Do you want that heads or tails?

I thoroughly agree with Mike - you're allowed to go through a period of "man this sucks" before you get better. There are many more milestones ahead, and you'll be dancing at all of them :) Just give yourself the time you need to be able to get back into your routine.

Darren said...

I'm making a change. Tonight I'm sleeping in my own bed, after 8 weeks in the front room on the futon.

My bed is a former waterbed with drawers underneath, about waist high. Getting into and out of it was impossible at the beginning, but now it's doable. It's not easy, but it's doable. And the bed is bigger and softer than the futon, and it doesn't make me feel like such of an invalid.

One more step towards the routine :)

Ellen K said...

Men by and large, respond badly to inactivity. It causes most men to become grumpy and depressed. Having two sons and a husband who have managed to mangle knees and backs and arms, I can testify to the phenomenon. It is normal for you to feel frustrated, depressed and angry that you aren't at 100%. Your fears about addiction to pain pills are somewhat justified, but frankly you have limited yourself. Do take one before your therapy session (but have someone else drive you there....) You will get better. You are much younger than I am. It may be a while before you ski again, but you will get there. Stay strong and stop watching the news. That's enough to depress Pollyanna.

Happy Elf Mom said...

Hey, I know you were feeling really *great* before on your diet and wonder if your diet has also changed. It really can have an effect after awhile. I hope your Valerian works- I have heard of that as well. :)

Darren said...

It's true, I'm not eating as much or as well as I used to (but fortunately haven't gained any weight yet). More salad fixins' are on my shopping list.

Elaine c. said...

Your back is probably hurting because you're trying to compensate while walking. An adjustment is probably an excellent idea.

I wouldn't worry much about having a problem with the pills. You're careful about it. Do use them if you need them. My first reaction to this was: 'don't borrow trouble'!

As for the mood swings - crying is a very normal response to both stress and frustration. Feel free to indulge... just don't let it become the main focus of your days! (Incidently, sunlight and taking you vitamins will also help.)

Also, do not feel bad about asking for help, physically or emotionally. People are not designed to be isolated, and that's what friends are for after all!

Darren said...

Getting that off my chest last night helped, as did the responses I got. My son and I spent plenty of time together today and went to ice cream with my dad. A former student came by to pick up some service academy letters of recommendation, and another friend came for a visit. Tomorrow another former student is going to come clean my hot tub, and I have plans to meet up with other friends (and my own former high school counselor!) throughout the week.

So I don't feel so isolated now.

I'm actually looking forward to beginning physical therapy, and hope that, without being too cliche, it marks the beginning of the end and not merely the end of the beginning of this unpleasant time in my life.

Darren said...

I received a package from Amazon this morning. In true smart-alec-friend fashion, MikeAT sent me a package of ramen :)

MikeAT said...


You would do it for me man! ;<)