Kate, my friend in England, made some remark to me about how the fibromyalgia must be debilitating and I wrote back to tell her I’d been feeling much better lately. I have been, but I never should have said so. That was this morning. This evening, my fibromyalgia is the worse it’s been in months. It is terrible. Everything hurts, and I mean everything. Every ligament in my body and pulled tight. My head hurts, my stomach hurts, my hips, knees ankles hurt. Everything. I feel as if I’ve been run over by a proverbial truck.
When Keith comes home, I tell him I hurt and that he may have to make dinner. He is patient and willing. I ask if he will lie down with me and hold me for a few minutes. His touch usually makes me feel better. I take two Ibuprophens, something I only do in an emergency and we lie down together. He holds me gently, offers to rub my neck and my back. Mostly, I just want him to hold me. I snuggle very close. I am in so much pain I think about dying. If I was in this much pain all the time, I would not want to live. I would not be as stoic as my father was when he was dying, refusing morphine in order to stay lucid and alive. I would die first, I think. I certainly was wishing to die this evening. And I know pain can get much worse, I’ve been worse.
I lay there in Keith’s arms, flipping back and forth between appreciating his loving embrace and wallowing in my pain. I felt truly sick. Deeply sick, something that ravaged my entire being and made me feel less than human. I was also itchy. I often am when I have fibromyalgia “attacks.” So I had to keep rolling painfully away to scratch myself. At one point, despite my pain, which was perhaps letting up just a little due to the Ibuprophen, I poked absentmindedly at Keith’s crotch and commented that there was nothing there. A eunuch. He poked at my breasts, saying he wished they were more accessible. Then, he commented, there’d be something there in his pants to discover. The next thing I knew, he had gotten up to close the bedroom door in case the eleven-year-old came home from his friend’s house. I laughed, thinking of Jo(e)’s recent post on sex on the beach, about attempting to hide adult sex from kids. About my on-going discussion on play with Pam.
Soon, we were busily engaged in wonderful love-making, beautiful slow sensitive love-making. I recalled sex during colds and fevers and flues and other times of illness and accident. I noticed that during the entire slow wonderful process, I was experiencing almost no pain.
Afterwards, Keith said it was survival of the species, species survival being more important than individual survival. I thought wryly that my individual survival was briefly in question, at least in my mind. When the pain returned again, it was not as strong as it had been. I wondered if the difference was the sex or the Ibuprophen, or both. Endorphins are wonderful pain relievers, related to morphine, and made me want to survive for another stolen cuddle. To more than survive, to thrive.