I’m lucky in a lot of ways, but my health isn’t one of them. I’ve been plagued with endometriosis, surgical complications, fatigue, and chronic body-wide pain. We all have something to battle in our lives, though, don’t we?
I’ve been working with a pain management doctor for the past year, who recommended an unusual treatment to me: an infusion of ketamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic drug, which is pretty out of vogue in hospitals, but is sometimes abused for casual, illegal drug use under the name Special K. In this case, it’s used for its analgesic properties through a slow infusion over several hours an across several days. It’s meant to interrupt the pain cascade in the brain and relieve pain for 6-8 weeks at a time after the treatment.
tl;dr I laid in a hospital bed for 3 days, 5 hours at time, hooked into an IV, and hallucinating mildly to try and relieve my pain.
And you know what? It worked. For the first time since I’ve been struggling with chronic pain for 8 years, I found something that makes me feel almost like a normal person. Wow. I can’t even explain it. Have you ever had a headache and taken some medicine for it? After maybe 20 minutes or so you look up and sigh with relief because, suddenly, the pain is gone? It’s kind of like that moment of realization that you feel okay again.
The down side? Ideally, I should be getting this treatment every 3 months or so but the demand for it is so high and the number of doctors in my area who provide it are so few that I can get this treatment about once per year.
It’s hard to accept this reality. That I can, for about 3 weeks, live almost like a normal person. But that’s it. The pain will come creeping back by the end of the month and my vacation as a human being in very little pain will be over.
So I’m making the most of April this year. I’m not sure what else to do. I’ll sulk, sure, but I’ll celebrate, too.