At the hospital they ask you how your pain in on a scale from 1-10, ten being the worst. Approaching midnight Saturday night I arrived and my pain was a 7. The nurse gave me Vicodin, which did nothing. Since I had to go to the Los Angeles County Hospital, there was a lot of waiting time. At about 3:30am, the doctor came in. I was surrounded by nurses when he came in the room. I heard him talking, but didn’t see him at first because I was wincing, crying (more like screaming) and shaking in pain with my hands over my eyes. My pain was a 9. It was bad, but I’ve felt worse. I begged him for something for the pain. He obliged and proceeded to tell the nurse to give me Morphine. The only other time I had Morphine was when I broke my jaw 6 years ago. The feeling of it is a wave of dizziness that somehow just makes you forget your shit’s all fucked up. It didn’t give me the instant relief I was looking for, but I eventually fell asleep awkwardly upon the tiny hospital table. When the nurse woke me up for my CAT scan, she asked me what my pain was. To my surprise it was only about a 1. I was so relieved, I thought “thank god for painkillers”. Little did I know that the sitting still was the pain killer.
I arose from the table and inched myself out of the room. With every step to the CAT Scan (which was only about 20 feet down the hall) my pain grew exponentially. By the time I got 5 feet from the door, my pain was a 10. My whole being was crying. The CAT Scan technician was gentle and empathetic. He did his best to coax me through the process. I was shaking from tears, pain, drugs, and the freezing temp of the ER. I finally made it to the platform and laid down. He asked me to sit still for just 2 minutes so they could get a clear scan. I held my breath. It was the only way. Hold breath, Turn off.
They wheel chaired me back to my little hospital bed where I pleaded for more painkillers. I don’t know what she gave me, but it wasn’t morphine and it didn’t work. The pain merely subsided one notch simply because I was able to lay still, breathe and transcend my mind. Then a few nurses and doctors came in and poked and prodded at me. My pain was back to a 10. I screamed. I cried. They were planning on cutting me open. They tried to give me local anesthesia, but just the needle of that sent my pain through the roof. They asked me if I wanted to be put under for the surgery and I said, “absolutely”.
At 5:30am, my pain hadn’t gone down. I pleaded. I begged. She gave me Morphine. “Wow, that other stuff didn’t work, I guess the morphine works well for you”. It still only brought my pain down to a 7.
Around 7:30, they admitted me into a room. 7th floor west. I had a roommate and a view. I propped up my mechanical bed and asked the nurse for more pain killers. Tracy was her name and she was awesome. It was about 8:00 at this time and she told me she can’t give me any morphine because I’m only allowed every 4 hours. She’d offer me a pill, but I wasn’t allow to eat or drink ANYTHING before surgery. Not even a sip of water.
I was out of my mind really. Out of touch with my body. The pain was too much. Then I was reminded of my daily practice: Meditation. I wish I had thought of it earlier. Right as I was about to close my eyes, probably about 9am, Tracy came in to see how I was doing and if I needed my next dose [early]. I told her, “I’m gonna meditate first and see how I feel after.”
I closed my eyes and after 20 minutes I came to with no pain. I lowered my fancy transformer bed to the horizontal position and took a well deserved nap. Meditation for the pain. Turns out it’s even better than morphine.
To learn more about meditation visit TheResoluteMind.com
The sad news is I broke my consecutive ocean swim days with an unfortunate bike accident that landed me in the hospital for 3 days. The good news is I didn’t break any bones. Thank god I’m still alive (not that I was at risk of dying, but its always nice to be alive). Thank god I didn’t have to have surgery (tho they deprived me of food and water for 18 hours because they were planning on putting me under and cutting me open, but I did have a saline drip and a few doses of morphine that alleviated some of the pain).
My momentary lapse of presence seems to land me in a position of terrible pain. On that note: I intend to be even more present at every moment of my life in the interest of keeping this body of mine safe as I travel through this reality. Every moment is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.