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  • Writer's pictureKL Forslund

How It Begins

Life is pain. That’s what the Dread Pirate said. At some point, you get used to it. The aching knees. Fingers that don’t bend so smoothly. I’m getting older. There’s more winters behind me than in front. And in the last few weeks, the kidney stones I had in 2010 woke up to remind me they been growing. Eighteen millimeters.

They gave me some pain meds. The “good stuff” as some folks say. The stab in my back died down to a quiet one or two on the pain scale. Over five and I can’t sleep through it. Before I went to the ER, I rated this at seven, because I’ve had even worse. Pinched nerves that spiked so hard I couldn’t breath. This was just pain.

Two weeks of that and sleeping if I sat idle meant I napped two whole weekends away. Sure, I could work. Coding uses my brain and that keeps the spindle spinning. But come Saturday, I got up, sat down, fell asleep before too long. It was easy.

Even easier was getting up. My back didn’t hurt from laying just so to keep the mask and CPAP hose in place. My ankle knob bone and heel didn’t hurt so bad from the pressure of the blanket. My knees didn’t groan when I got up.

Then came the time to stop taking the pills or food or water for another set of tests. The pain from my kidney stayed dim, but every pain from nearly half a century came back. All of it fresh and clear jabs at everything I wanted or needed to get done. The tests took one day, but that weekend, I needed to mow. How easy it would be to take one of the last pills I had left. Just to get the job done with less hassle.

That is how it begins. Most of the last decade is a soundtrack of two to three on the Owie Scale. Every day. Some days and moments a bit worse. But painless measured in moments. Now the number of hardships my body has faced never struck me as excessive. Imagine somebody who’s been through worse.

Hand them some of these pills. Why would they stop? Before any chemical addiction and withdrawal could be a problem, just the sheer difference between dialing it down and having it come back would be a temptation.

I know, because I sure gave it some thought just to do chores. And I can feel that stone poking me. Just a little harder today than before. It’ll be a few more weeks before they can go back in to knock it out. I’ll need them pills, like it or not.

This is how it begins. But not how it has to end.

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