Back to The Dirt

“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017

The Writhing has begun, again. Every night, every day, every waking moment I try to get away from the pain that traverses my physical body. When I say “every waking moment” it can be misleading, because there are no “sleeping moments”. There are brief moments of unconsciousness , in between taking my sleeping pills, muscle relaxers and mood stabilizers, when I drift away…then the pain pushes mercilessly against the wall I have built, the door I have barred shut…pushes its throbbing needles of anguish thru the cracks and into my stream of consciousness . The veil is torn away, the glimps of oblivion is now stained with the reality of butcher knives cutting into my muscles.

Years immemorial have passed with this entity sapping my sanity, draining my endurance, strangling my joy. After the street drugs and alcohol stopped deadening my senses, the culmination of years of self abuse, hard physical labor, domestic abuse, many falls, fights and accidents(ie:wrecking a sportster into a tree, riding in a little truck that slammed into a telephone pole, having a quarter horse drop and roll while I was riding it and having a riding lawn mower flip over on top of me as well as falling in a hole, breaking both ankles, being stabbed and my right lung partially collapse, being choked unconscious, having numerous head injuries, two nose breaks, 4levels of lumbar fusion and 4 levels of cervical fusion, a tear in my right hip labrum and 2 venomous snake bites(a pygmy rattlesnake on my right index finger and a copperhead bite on my left hand)and having my rotator cuff injured and having 3arthroscopic surgeries(right hip, shoulder and left knee)as well as an accute pulmonary embolism in my right lung and other major surgeries…) has left me now coping with this chronic pain condition.

I started taking prescription pain medication in 2002, three years clean and sober, to keep working even with my back injuries. I had developed degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. I was finally diagnosed correctly as to the Bipolar Disorder that had ravaged my mental state, and also diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the physical and sexual abuse I had suffered from the age of 8.

Did the medicine help? Yes, at first. And it was mild medicine, no opioids yet… I tried heating pads, Topical ointments, hot wax therapy, massage, Ben Gay, Biofreeeze, Tens Units, Steroid Injections, Physical Therapy, Diet changes, weight loss, exercise…

But slowly the pain crept up the number scale, a 5; pulsing, burning, a 6; throbbing, radiating, a 7, an 8…until all the treatments were not working and new medicines were necessary…I worried aloud at my 12 step meetings, “Am I using again?” No, was the general consensus, not if you are not getting high, not taking more than prescribed, and you have real pain.

I asked the doctor’s …”No, these medications are NOT addictive”, was the firm reply. The meds went from non-opioids to the now household names: Oxycodone, Morphine, Oxycontin. Now the relief was real. (To be continued…)

Author: ST Martin

I am an Artist, Poet and Author. A Survivor of Violent Sexual Abuse and Rape, I have lived thru Severe Domestic Violence, Twenty Three years of Addiction and Alcoholism, Family Dysfunction, Chronic Pain, Dependence on Opioids, and 2 Venomous Snake Bites...I have Been Stabbed, Shot at, Tied to a Tree and Choked Unconscious. A Quarter Horse Rolled on Me, as did a Lawn Tractor. I also Wrecked a Harley into a Tree! I also have PTSD and Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder, and spent my 18th birthday in a Locked Psychiatric Ward. I am so much more than this: I feel like a tiny seed that sprouted in a desert, and now has grown into a Passion Vine. My Art is my Voice, Screaming, Crying, Praying, Loving, Laughing, Healing- all in Riotous Color...