When I suddenly developed shoulder and back pain and a numb left wrist diagnosed as the consequence of a bone spur pressing on a spinal nerve, our family doctor (reluctantly) referred me to the the Manhattan Center for Pain Management: http://www.wehealny.org/services/pain/services.html

I was assigned to an anesthesiologist who prescribed a heavy pain medication that left me is a daze with which I tried to cope with pots of coffee.

Pain was not new to me. I had suffered it as a 4-year-old with a diagnosis of rheumatic fever which made one’s legs ache. This being prior to anti-biotics (I am 77), I was totally restricted in activity and carried each warm day out to cot where my English nurse variously taught me to count (beyond 100) and to read.

My later visits to the pain center were depressing with an army of elders kept waiting for hours past appointment times — I caught my doctor one day slipping away and we had a 15 second appointment. I was called in periodically for appointments which I began to assume were to collect my medical insurance. Finally I quit them and turned pain management over to my excellent family doctor who recommended cutting way back on the pain medication. I am now trying to cut it out entirely. It among other things seems to cause stomach pain.

The bottom line here is that I have decided that I would rather live with some bearable pain than walking around in a daze. As I type now the pain in my left wrist (in a splint to prevent excessive bending where arthritis has attacked a high school wrist injury) is bearable.

As we age probably few of us will escape some sorts of pain. I am extremely careful to avoid falls.

Would be curious to know how others are coping? I should mention that a nightly sleeping pill seems to quell the pain to allow me to sleep.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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