Posted by: Kate | June 2, 2010



Quite a weekend, that.

I’m on a regular medication, called Opana, for pain. It’s fairly strong, and very unusual; while I was in the hospital they just substituted things like Fentanyl and Dilaudid, and even if my prescribing doctor didn’t insist that I use only one pharmacy (funny, pain clinics don’t like it when people pharmacy-shop; can’t imagine why), I would have to stay put, because it takes several days for the medication to be ordered and stocked anywhere else. It’s just not on the regular formulary, anywhere that I know of.

And I know of quite a few places, now, because after completing my last course of medication and attending my doctor’s appointment for a refill, I drove to my pharmacy (which I had called, earlier in the week, and listened to the outgoing message listing their summer hours) only to learn that those summer hours applied to the rest of the summer, but it had been closed all week. Now it was after noon on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I had my sisters en route for a visit, and I was out of medication. Not a good scene. I called several large-chain pharmacies, no luck; finally went back to the pain clinic and got an alternative script for the weekend. I hadn’t intended “alternative” to mean “inadequate,” but apparently that’s what happened.

So Saturday was bad. Very bad. Not just because of the pain I was in, but because of the frustration at not being able to beat it through sheer will, the guilt and shame at my own behavior once I broke and stayed broken, the fear that I wouldn’t be able to get back on track whenever the pharmacy was open and stocked, and so on and so forth. I barely got out of bed all day, left a house full of kids and guests for Willem to manage, and generally checked out.

I turned 33 on Sunday. I suppose birthdays are just one more thing that will be different, post-apocalyptic life-altering medical nightmare. In a lot of ways it wasn’t all that strange: I spent time with some of my favorite people and heard from many more, I took a walk on the beach, I was served an amazing meal. It was a truly good day, partly because everyone around me tried so hard to make me smile, and partly because I worked hard to keep that smile firmly in place.

But there were moments when the smile wobbled, and times when it melted away altogether, and I would leave the room and let the misery wash over me for a bit. Then I would push it back down and rejoin the group, repeat as necessary.

I used to believe, firmly, that a birthday was the one day a year when crying was just not right. That it was your job, and even moreso the job of those around you, to find happiness and fun, not necessarily on a grand scale but enough to make the day special. I wasn’t able to avoid a crying jag or four on the day, this year, and I decided to give myself a pass on that rather than add it in as one more perceived failure.

So I did cry on my birthday. But I also smiled enough to make my cheeks ache. And that was enough to let me hope that things might just be better – and stay that way – someday.

In years past, I’ve hosted a knitting giveaway on my birthday. I’m still deciding whether I’ll do so this year. Part of me wants to, and a bigger part of me is afraid I’m just setting myself up to let myself down in yet another way. I’ll keep you posted…



  1. May Sunday be the one you look back on as the worst, and may all future birthdays be what they *should* be.

    And may you always have your Opana in hand!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday! I’m sorry it wasn’t a more pain-free one for you.

  3. Happy late Birthday Kate. Keep your head up. You are doing the best you can. And remember, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want was a great song.

  4. I wish there was a love button, because if there was then I could click it.

    Or maybe I just spend too much time on Ravelry.

    Happy Birthday!

  5. Happy birthday, Kate. I hope this coming year is happy, healthy, and drama-free.

  6. (((((((((HUGS))))))))))

    love you.

  7. […] I had a few days of relative calm, symptoms-wise. Then Saturday reared its ugly head, and I was wallowing in pain and self-pity and guilt and so on. I finally […]

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