Everything in life has a consequence, so the saying goes and it is often repeated to us from a very young age. If we eat to much of the so called ‘wrong’ food and do not exercise we become overweight. If we swallow watermelon seeds, we will grow watermelons out of our belly buttons. If we do not put fuel in our cars, the car will not operate,etc., etc., etc. Some so called statements of consequence make sense, others can be viewed as nonsense, and some, slightly neurotic. I’m sure that you can recall some of the funnier consequence action/reaction statements provided by parents, teachers and others thought to be sharing their wisdom with you.
But as anyone who lives in Chronic Pain or with an illness will tell you, there may be times when you are instructed by treating physicians, regarding consequences and their significance, that can be positive and negative all at the same time. As a patient you may be informed that if you take the prescribed medication then your condition will improve. While this is a positive action, unfortunately, there may also be not so pleasant reactions, with a different outcome or consequence that needs to be considered. Side effects or reactions to taking medications can include weight gain/loss, increased/decreased libido, skin conditions ie acne, itching,rashes, constipation/diarrhoea, fatigue, sweats, dizziness, blurred vision, loss of hair and the list goes on. obviously for pharmacists the quest continues to provide medications that assist with the illness, while posing minimal side effects. Not taking the prescribed medication may be considered even more dangerous to your well-being. When having a bad day, or for me a ‘bed’ day, I’m reminded by family that when I want to resist taking the necessary medication to control pain, that I wouldn’t consider not taking my meds if I was a diabetic and in the need of insulin, and so I do what I have to do, regardless of the negative reactions that co-exist with the positive reactions. Two very significant reactions or consequences for me with current meds are weight gain (20kgs to date) and quite significant memory loss, marshmallow brain or foggy brain, constipation, dizziness, skin irritations, bloating and more. While the weight gain is distressing and costly (with each increase in size, new clothes are needed) the memory issues can provide comic relief for those around me. But not taking the medications is not an option.
Taking the appropriate medications can improve the quality and existence during day-to-day living, so why the ‘bed’ day. Well it all comes again back to consequences of actions and reactions. Last week was a wonderful week. My mother came to stay for a ‘fun’ visit. For the past three and a half years her visits have involved hospital visits, providing aftercare following hospital visits or travelling 2 hours by train each way, in order to get me out of the apartment even if just for coffee and a bite to eat. We celebrated Australia Day last week and the plan was to attend my local community festivities and fireworks display that evening. In my excitement however, I went shopping the previous day (I normally do my groceries online) as I wanted fresh food and vegetables that were hand picked by me. I was working hard at not rushing and being gentle with my body and trying to acknowledge any warning signs of pain. As is the way with my condition, Pudendal Neuralgia, with little warning the pain suddenly started to escalate. I now had to consider taking the ‘pink tablet’ or in chemical terms, morphine sulphate. I detest this little pink tablet as it possesses both positive and negative consequences. Everyone reacts differently to various medications, for me and the pink tablet the consequences were varied. Yes it helped when combined with a combination of other daily medications in making the pain manageable. On the flip side, when taken, I found it difficult to sleep, but then I encountered fatigue the following day. So while I had stocked the fridge and pantry for my mother’s visit, by the time she arrived the following day I was unable to go to Australia Day festivities. Not only was I fatigued but I was also still trying to settle the pain after over-doing it. I also wanted to be healthy enough to attend a concert at the Opera House in Sydney the following night. I had bought my mother tickets as a Christmas present. A long story short, I attended the concert with my mother, having to take double the amount of pink tablets and was still in an incredible amount of pain. The concert was amazing and my mother was so excited, it was worth every minute of the pain. The ‘bed’ day has also been worth it and the consequence that will now follow means a day full of sunshine tomorrow, well that’s the plan anyway.