Waking up in the middle of the night is never a good omen.
Three summers ago, I awoke to the sound of our darling, dying Persian as he succumbed to his illness. It was but a small shriek, sounding like nothing I’ve ever heard before or since. I wish I could have absorbed his pain, made it mine.
I’m no stranger to it, after all.
Before Pablo’s passing, I would some nights wake up to the body-writhing agony of a gall bladder gone rogue. Having never been shot or stabbed, I don’t know where gallstones rank on the pain scale, but they were enough to send me to the emergency room on three occasions.
I’ve never broken a bone. Or had a baby. I’ve had toothaches. And heartaches. And post-op aches.
But this past week has dealt me a double dose of pain, enough to keep me home from work for the first time since being diagnosed with MS.
It started at 2 a.m. with a small twinge in my abdomen. By 3 a.m. I was having full-on organ-wringing cramps that had me wishing for a belt strap to champ down on.
Men, this would be the point you would want to avert your eyes. Stop reading here and go watch Sports Center.
Because yes, I’m about to talk girly stuff.
Periods are the mother of all pain sometimes. I’m not talking about that sitcommy kind of PMS about how much chocolate I need or the bitch I become one (OK, two) weeks each month.
I’m talking about the most concentrated pain I’ve never felt before and hope to never again. The kind that makes you double over, curse Eve herself and want to vomit. The kind that won’t go away with Tylenol. Or Midol. Or Oxycodone.
There’s some sort of link between MS and hormones. So when it’s that time of the month, like clockwork, multiple sclerosis decides to kick it up a notch or two. Monday, fine. Tuesday, bedridden.
My right leg feels like it did in the beginning. Hot. Tingly. Shaky. Spastic. I feel like tearing it off.
And tearing out my entire reproductive system while I’m at it.
I can’t find much on the connection beyond anecdotal accounts, but I’ve found enough to know I’m not alone in this.
But at 2 a.m., when a small shriek is all I can muster, I feel all alone with the pain.