Here’s the Good News: Since I’m still at my Mom’s townhouse taking care of her, and she has a nice deep bathtub upstairs in the master bathroom, in a few minutes I’m heading up there to soak for a while in some deliciously hot water. With bubbles!
The Not-So-Good News: I wanted, so much, to be able to write here: “The prednisone taper worked. The pain is gone.” But it’s not, so I can’t.
It sure tried, though. Three times during the six-day taper, for stretches of five or six hours each time, the bursitis pain vanished. And not only that: The ugly, low-level rheuma pain in my hands, pain that’s been my unwanted, day-into-night-into-day companion for more than a year now disappeared too.
Believe me, I relished the freedom it gave me. It feltfabulous to walk smoothly and without saying “ow, ow, ow” under my breath because of the bursitis pain. It was lovely to be able to chop up raw vegetables for a salad without wincing, and I loved being able to sweep the leaves off Mom’s patio and deck, then pick up the big piles and put them in the yard waste can without even a little bit of pain. That hour or so of light exercise lifted my mood and made me feel both useful and youthful. That’s worth a lot.
Of course, nothing else changed in any big way. The days went on just as they always do, with the same routines, the same chores, the same small joys and disappointments. The first three nights I slept very poorly in spite of taking the new prescription of nortriptylene; I’m guessing that the prednisone’s insomnia-side effect was stronger than the stuff could overcome. But the fourth and fifth nights? In spite of some moderate hip pain I snoozed like the proverbial baby. I cannot tell you how good it felt to wake in the morning without a play-by-play memory of the silent, desolate hours between 1 and 5 a.m. I’m hoping for the same restful sleep tonight.
On another bright note, I was pleased to find that the prednisone (at least in this quick taper and limited milligramage) didn’t affect my appetite, so I was able to stick to my diet easily. And I didn’t “grow teeth,” my words for becoming snappish and irritable.
But as I write this on Saturday night, the pain is back. All of it.
I took the last, single 4 mg. tablet early this morning. Until around 2 p.m., the bursitis pain was there, but barely. Then it started ramping up, first in the left hip, then the right. This evening, my hands have joined the malevalent chorus with a sort of sniggering glee. But I’m not terribly upset. Really. That this prednisone taper worked at all means that the bursitis is treatable and might even be curable. It means that maybe this particular taper just wasn’t long enough or strong enough, that it simply needed more time and more muscle to whack the inflammation hard enough to keep it whacked for good.
I see my rheumatologist again the first Saturday in May. In the meantime, I still have a few more physical therapy appointments, and I’m continuing with the stretching exercises, the TENS treatments, the icing and the heat. I’m counting my blessings: While being without a job isn’t so wonderful, the fact that I’ve enough free time to take real care of myself is. I’m very lucky that have an empathetic doctor who really wants to help me feel better. Ditto my sweet physical terrorist Joe. And I’ve got you, my friends, offering me your encouragement, your hope and advice, and your genuine care and concern. If that’s not blessed, I don’t know what is.
Here’s wishing all of you a soft and friendly Sunday, free from pain and filled with calm and comfort. And a bubble bath, if one suits your fancy.