For the last three weeks I have been going through a personal hell of sorts. I've experienced incredible amounts of pain, but today was a day like no other.
For those of you that don’t know the story, I suffer from a pesky but non-lethal illness known as Fibromyalgia or FMS for short. Each and everyone one of us knows someone, a friend of a friend, your sister-in-law's sister or you've surely heard stories at the beauty salon. Oh, sorry, I didn't realize that guys don’t go into salons, not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyways they used to be fashionable in the Wild West if those cowboy movies were historically accurate. Or were those Saloons?
But isn’t Fibro that illness where your bones hurt? Or is it your joints? Oh no, it's nothing like arthritis, not that arthritis isn’t painful as hell, just ask Isa (my wife, for those that don’t know suffers Psoriatic Arthritis). Fibromyalgia sucks in so many special ways let me count the ways:
1. It hurts like hell! How much you ask? Have you ever had the flu? Yes? How about having the flu every day, for the rest of your life? Yes, I know that Cubans have a knack for exaggeration, but just humor me.
2. To wake up every day like you only slept an hour or are waking up hung over.
3. To have your brain become no more than an burnt marshmallow from some Boy Scout campfire.
I know that you are not going to believe me when I tell you this, but hear me out. I've never been very smart, never had the discipline or the study habits, but the one thing that I always was, was sharp. Very nimble with my tongue, both: a virtuoso and vicious bearer of the blade. That is all gone now. Gone! Gone! Gone!
The pills bring some relief, but they also enslave. I take pills and they do help, but they also blunt, create a smoke screen, a cloud, they are like quick sand. Sometimes the pain is so much that I just want to give up. I just want to cry. I can’t think about anything else or anybody else. I become both, the bellybutton and the whole universe, just me and the pain. But, when I take a pill, I get a break, for a moment I open a distance, I run faster that the pain. But it’s far from perfect I feel the dullness of the drug, slowing my thoughts to a crawl. At least for a couple of hours I’ll be able to dream of a miracle cure. Maybe the pain will be gone for good this time. But pain, just like its sister, time are unforgiving and I soon start to count the time until the next dose. How do pain-killer addicts enjoy this? I would stop right NOW, if I could. But I can’t, if I want to function, I just can’t stop.
Today was both a good day and a tough day. It was a good day because I was able to go to work and because it took the best and worst of me to endure and have a decent day. I don’t have to tell you that I was a wonderful co-worker today. Festooning everyone with compliments, being both, witty and charming, which is the real reason they keep me working in accounting. Today I managed to run ahead of the pain, at least for a little while. But it will catch up to me, and it does! Pain is a mysterious thing.
It is 5:00pm and I’m out of here! But it isn't business as usual, somebody stopped in my tracks. It’s a woman who would have been more at home in Sub-Saharan Africa, than in Downtown Miami. It’s Friday afternoon and we're all in a hurry, no time to look, no time to stop. There’s no one else, just me and her. She’s dressed in rags. She sits on a wheelchair and she’s barefoot, her feet bare, deformed and she’s looking straight at me.I’m afraid of her, not that she can physically harm me, something worse. There’s nobody else, just me and her. I have my headphones on, I’m listening to something very important, a podcast about how to save the environment, maybe she won’t see me, but there’s only me, me and her. She looks at me and extends her hand. I don’t understand, maybe she doesn’t speak English or maybe I don’t want to understand. I could take the headphones off, but she’s in so much pain! She pleads, she tells me that they want to charge her to stay at the Y(MCA), and she doesn’t have any money. Do you have any money? I look at her feet. They hurt so much and she’s so hungry and they won’t let her in. I’m trying to think about that house for the homeless what's it called? (Camillus House) Isn’t it their job to take care of these people? We live in Miami, the 305, the home of the World Champions, the Miami Heat, who just last night, just walking distance from here. Surely someone around here has the training to help this woman. I remember that I have 5 bucks in my wallet, but what can 5 dollars do? I can’t help her, her pain is so deep. I’ve never experienced such pain. I would surely die, but I walk away. I can’t help you I say, I can’t help you. I’m ashamed of myself, but my shame won’t feed you or clothe you. My shame will only be forgotten, suppressed, as soon as I take a hot shower, and put on clean clothes. My dinner’s waiting, my pain returns, but I take a pill. Once again I’m running away. But she can’t run, she can’t run.
P.S.: I wrote this lament about a year ago. Thank God that I'm in a better place today. I just happened to be doing some "virtual" cleaning of my cloud storage and ran into it. It's very repetitive and not my best writing, but if you catch the spirit of it, you may get a different perspective, just as I did. I'm the runaway...