Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Been Better.

I tried to do something this week as a matter of strength, a matter of will. I failed, miserably. I went completely off my narcotics. No more Fentnyl patches, no more actiq, no more Dilaudid, nada. Cold Turkey.

It has been one of the worst experiences of my life, including getting my ass shot off. Pain, shakes, sweats, the whole nine yards. I was so tired of being a drug-addled zombie all the time. I went to see my doctor today. We had a Major-to Captain conversation; I am back on my meds and actually feel more like myself again.

I suppose the root of this attempt (because it completely lacks any sense) was my depression in finding out that the next three surgeries will require lengthy hospital stays, and worse yet, the nerve graft will not result in 100% recovery. It will take time(nerves grow about 1 mm per day, and it’s about 180 mm from by wrist to my fingertips), but my motor and sensory feeling in my left hand will never be the same. What I may end up with is a hand that can feel (at best) like it’s wearing a driving glove. No fine textures, but maybe (there’s no guarantee) hot, cold, and pain. Just enough to allow it to function.

Somewhere in my self induced pity-party, I realized how may of my brothers and sisters would give for one more day, one hour, with even a semi functioning hand, and the hope that it might get a little better. I should be thankful for what I have, and for as fortunate for all that I have achieved with the help of others.

Many people have told me how fortunate I am; but the nights that spend wracked in pain, or worse, not in pain, but restless, feeling so hot I break out in sweat, only to freeze to a feverish chill. Lather, rinse, repeat. I toss and turn so much that I fear I’ll keep the Mrs. Awake, but she and I would rather sleep together than apart. I stroke her hair (to soothe her and center myself) until she falls asleep, and then I often traipse downstairs to suffer on the sofa. It’s grueling, at best, and often feel like I am getting nowhere, doing nothing. Healing sucks.

So what have I learned?

Listen to my doctors

Listen to my Mrs. (After all, she’s not taking large doses of narcotics)

Try to do things—anything with my kids

Basically, live the life that was given back to me

By the way, did anyone notice that Katrina=tens of thousands dead and missing, Rita=tens. Apparently, warnings from the gummint, much like warnings from doctors, are not polite suggestions. When they say get out, get out. Take everything that you can’t live without. As time allows, add more stuff. Start with the wife&kids, go from there. The photo albums should be waaayy down on the list. Insurance can replace most things, but all things are just things. If you leave with an open seat in your car, you’ve sinned against your neighbor.

Coming soon, what’s up with the hand, where I’m going from here, and the day-to-day from CNN. The Boys in Company C are all doing well, but a young SPC Ronnie Smutz could use some of your best wishes, he’s fallen on exceptionally difficult times. Not necessarily financial, but definitely heavy crosses to bear.

Send to
SPC Ronnie Smutz
C/O 1SG Keith Williams
C/Co, 2-34 AR, 3BCT

APO AE 09397

I can’t get into the personal details, but SPC Smutz is one of the boys men who pieced me back together on the LZ last June. I owe him a lot, and given the outpouring ya’ll gave me, I’m sure you’ll do likewise for him.


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