Sunday, April 23, 2006

4.23.06, Slouching off to Zion & The Pain Scale

This morning I'm heading back to Salt Lake City for the next week, for some time with family, some "vacation," and hopefully to gain a few of the pounds lost in my evacuation last week. It's rather like the second coming, but I have been there a few times. (If readers have not realized at this point, the reverence level on these posts varies, usually from rather indifferent to rather inappropriate; I hope you don't mind.)

Yesterday on the Franky Scale was a 7. A great deal of the Daily Numbers Game, as I learn day by day when I purchase my tickets, is has to do with pain management. Despite the irony of my looking fine and generally not feeling "sick" too often during this experience, there is pain which is essentially constant if it goes unchecked, or rather "unmanaged." Their terminology concerning management is quite apt: one does need to keep it in check, prevent it, or maintain it at its very lowest level or else the management become crisis management and every minute until it is checked once again become a minute lost. Among the stupid truisms--like "life is complex"--there is one I keep realizing every day now that "pain is really annoying" or "pain is a pain in the ass" if you will. Even at the lower levels on the pain scale, from 2 to 5 or 6 let's say, there is a certain taxing tedium to simply having it *not go away.* So that sitting, attempting to read, trying to lie down, contemplating eating, etc. etc. all become incrementally or even exponentially more difficult. The next level is what "They" call breakthrough pain, when the constant droning pain suddenly exceeds some unspoken bounds and moves beyond your control.

The point of it all is not to complain but rather to explain where the daily number comes from and the fact that there is much more wisdom in all the Little Pamphlets they offer at the local hospital or cancer center: "Pain Control: A Guide for People with Cancer and Their Families" (National Cancer Institute), "Understanding Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and Families" (American Cancer Society), or "When Someone in Your Family Has Cancer" (National Cancer Institute). The "Pain Control" booklet has been invaluable, something to use everyday--but for those of us who expect more flash production and presentation these booklets seem like they would disappoint.

In the end, though the advice comes in unlikely packages and though I tend to make like of the daily numbers game, the extent to which my life now revolves around that abstraction--a "7"--a "3"--or a "5"--seems to be the extent to which my life revolves each day.


Slarry said...

Or just get the hell out of M. Jone's life forever.
Because he is 'LEAVING ON A JET PLANE'-- actually
has already left and is up in the air.
I, we, adore him, can't wait to see him and throw my arms around him.
So Happy Zion and Jesus day to us. Hope everyone has a good day today. A day without pain.

Love, Sheri, Steph, Nade, Matt, Sydney, Max, Pheobe
and all the the other monkey-ites.

Frarella said...

Mr. Jones -

If I were Bill Clinton I'd say "I feel your pain" but i am not. I can't imagine your pain. The numbers help me at least know day to day were you are. I'm just a caveman!!...but this caveman loves you and know this my old friend - there is a little cave girl who has been asking about you and the view of the sea from your cave. She misses you as do I.

we love you