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  • Writer's pictureLilith Starr

A Return to the Pain

Over the next few days, as I get off the pain pills they gave me after gallbladder surgery, I will slowly lose my life again to the pain. The pills have temporarily given me back my life again, but they don’t work long-term. Soon I will lose my ability to concentrate, sit at the computer or through a meeting, my ability to enjoy anything or do even the bare minimum of survival tasks easily. I will sink back into the sea of pain that drowns out all else, and this short flicker of awareness and capability will fade away into that unending agony and virtual brain damage that passes for my life.

If something worked as well long-term as these narcotics work short-term, I could have my life back. I could work a good job again, contribute to the economy, enjoy myself on occasion, finish the next book I want to write, and make an even bigger difference with the Satanic Temple. But medical science has nothing for me. There is no treatment that works. The standard treatment plan the medical profession is instructed to present me with is simply “learn to accept it.” Seriously, that is what doctors are told to do: tell me to just suck it up; there’s no fix for chronic pain like this. No advances have been made in this area, and it doesn’t seem like it’s a priority.

I try not to be angry about that. If I lost my legs or became paralyzed, I’d have to accept that too (though there is progress being made in medical science in those areas). It’s just the way things are. At some point, though, I find myself asking, “why is this worth it?” Is a trickle of life worth the suffering? Capitalism tells me I’m worthless because I can’t fully support myself. My quality of life with the pain is pretty terrible. I’m resisting the return to this half-life, the descent again into hell. No choice, though; nothing will help or stop it, and I know better than to think narcotics hold any kind of long-term relief.

To be or not to be. The question becomes much harder when “to be” equals pain upon pain. I cling to the things that make it somewhat worth it: love, friendship, meaning and purpose to the life I live and what I give to the community. I suppose this half life will be better than no life at all, if not for myself, then perhaps for the others I care about.

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