Two Hours to Go ’til Home



Two Hours to Go ’til Home
Enroute from Bancroft to Ottawa, 2002

Eyes closing,
As I drive.

So very tired!
Impossible to stay awake.
A danger to myself.
A danger to others.

Parked now,
At the side
of an isolated northern highway,
Dozing in
and out,
Struggling towards wakefulness.

Zombie-like effects of medications:

Percocet –
Oxycontin –
The Fentanyl Patch –
Gaba Pentin –
Hydromorphone –
Vioxx –
Amitriptylene –
Lyrica –
Cymbalta –
Naproxen –
Tylenol with Codeine.

Whatever concoction,
Whatever mix,
I’m on now.
Who knows,
There were so many.

No cell reception,
Still struggling towards wakefulness,
Two hours to go ‘til home.

And the pain, of course.
Always the pain.

The story of my life now,
Medications that do little good,
Side effects that devastate.

A new young doctor.
He’s never been in pain.
Says he can help me.
All sorts of options.
“We’ll” experiment, he says.

The “we” meaning “me”.
15 minute visits at most,
A new prescription.
Or, more often,
More than one.

And off I go,
And the pain goes on,
The side effects too.

And here I am
At the side
of an isolated northern highway.
Struggling towards wakefulness,
Two hours to go ‘til home.

Pain is Only Pain, After All



Pain is Only Pain, After All
My First Yoga Class, Summer 1998

Desperately seeking:
From the pain.

A cure, a cure, a cure.
There must be a cure.

Been through:
Every medication,
Every modality,
Except one.

Drawn somehow
To figure out
This yoga thing,
To give it a try.

Didn’t know much about it really.
Thought of it as pretzel poses
That I could never do anyway.

But what if,
What if,
I could actually do it?
And what if,
What if
There was something there that could help?

What if?
What if?

So, here I am
In my first ever yoga class.

Keep in mind
It took a great deal of effort
Just to get here.

It is taking a great deal of effort
Just to stay here,
To sit in easy pose,
And wait for class to start.

Effort meaning working through pain
Just to get up,
To get ready,
To drive,
To arrive,
To be here.

But I’ve come here
With an Attitude!

I am going to do this
No matter what!

It might flare the pain.

No, not might.
It does
Flare the pain,

So much pain!

But so what!

I realize
Like a revelation,
Like a light going on
in my brain:

It cannot actually hurt me.
It cannot actually injure me.
This yoga.

I am doing gentle movements,
Some more strenuous,
Working through enormous amounts of pain.

Observing the pain.
Observing the movement.
Observing my body.

My body,
Doing things
It hasn’t done
Since all this pain began.

I feel somehow:

I feel:

My body is more than just the pain.

My body can still move.

My body can still bend.

My body can still twist.

My body can still stretch.

And, pain be damned,
There is still some tone.
There is still some muscle.
There is still potential
For my body
To do whatever I want it to do.


Regardless of pain!

That, my friends,
Is the day I learned

Pain is Only Pain, is Only Pain, is Only Pain,
After all.
After all is said and done,
Pain is Only Pain!!!

Even while coping with it,

Even while dealing with it,

after day,
after day,
after day,

Pain is Only Pain, after all!

And iWendy
Can do anything I want to do

A Cry in the Dark (1997)



A Cry in the Dark, Island Park Towers, 1997

Lying now, on my new carpet,
In my new apartment,
With pain the likes of which
I’ve never known before.

Two failed marriages behind me.
Ten years, at least –
A Workaholic.
Eighteen months of workplace harassment.
PTSD underlying it all.

A new, high stress job.
Great expectations of me.
That is the problem with winning major awards.
People then expect so much,
Too much.

Stressed out.
Reliving that first terrible divorce
And the violence and horror it entailed.
Going through the second divorce.

Something finally gives.
And I am in pain,
Pain like I’ve never known.
Lying here on my new carpet
In my new apartment,
Alone and in pain.

It was the divorce, I think, that finally did it.
The straw so to speak,
Compounded with everything else.

And now I am here,
Lying on the carpet,
Staring at the ceiling,
My back burning –
Lower back,
Mid Back,
Shoulder Blades,
Upper Back,
Like I’ve never known before.

Worried about my job.
A divorce to get through.
A new apartment to furnish.
Organizing all the many details
Of a new life.

And I can barely move,
Barely dress myself,
Barely do much really,
Other than lie here on the floor,
Stare at the ceiling,
And cry.
Cry in the dark.

I’ll give myself two weeks off work, I decide,
That should do it.
That has to do it.

But it doesn’t.
Twenty years later,
Nothing has done it.

I’m functional now,
Live what appears to be a normal life.
But still the pain goes on,
Sometimes like it was then.
Fortunately, often less.
But there every day,
Or parts of every day.
To a great extent
Ruling my life –
What I can do
And what I can’t.

I never would have imagined,
Back then,
In my life before pain,
That I would spend the rest of my life,
Or at least the last 20 years of it so far,
Dealing with pain,
Chronic pain,
Unrelenting pain,
Life-altering pain.

And yet here I am.
Typing this.
Preparing to share, finally,
Some bits and pieces
From those years.

Putting it out there.
My cry in the dark.
Just to see who is there,
Who is listening,
Who knows and understands,
From their own experience,
What it means to live with pain,
What it means to cry in the dark.