Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If it's not one thing, it's another- how getting sick can make you feel better

I got a nasty intestinal virus over the weekend- and by nasty, I mean rushed to the emergency room nasty, anti-nausea meds via IV nasty, projectile vomiting nasty and I think you've already heard way more than you want to know.

My body was wracked with pain from the soles of my feet to my eyelids, but particular my lower back and thighs. In the midst of this 2 days of horror, I realized that my lingual nerve injury didn't bother me one bit. I didn't feel pain in my teeth, my tongue didn't burn, I could lie on my left side for the first time in a year... what the heck?

So of course the next thing I wondered was Holy Mother of God, how can I bottle this feeling (uhhh, minus the stomach flu symptoms). Alas...the fever broke, and slowly but surely, the neuropathic pain returned with its former vengeance.

Has anyone else seen this happen- you get sick and the lingual nerve pain subsides - it's like your body can only deal with one horrific thing at a time so it kind of shuts down and just focuses on the worst one til it can rid itself...then back to regularly scheduled programming. Sigh.

I remember this happening when my mother died virtually on my due date with my 2nd child. My mother was dying, my son was being born...how could this happen at the same time? It was too much at once. And so, my body kind of just went into autopilot for the next few days, til I could lay my mother to rest. Then, the baby was born, a week late. The baby was huge and low, and supposed to be born early. But I somehow managed to hold off long enough to say goodbye to my mom, and not miss her funeral because I was delivering a child. Life is weird.

So, the rugburned/scraped along the sidewalk burn of the left side of the tongue is back, the deeeeeeep achiness in the upper left teeth is -hello!- stabbing me again all the way back to my jaw near the ear, and I'm even getting sharp pains in the temple again. Tragic that this is now what "normal" feels like.

1 comment:

  1. some doctors theorize that neuropathic pain, trigeminal specifically, is immune mediated. chemicals in your body are at play creating an inflammatory soup which, although well intended to eradicate the perceived threat to the immune system, in this case only perpetuates the pain. if you had a virus, it would seem logical the immune mediators would be called away from your injured nerve to attack the stronger threats circulating your body. this could explain why your pain abated while you were sick, and returned when you became well again. the virus was eradicated, but the injured nerve remains. the immune system is in a loop, mediating the inflammatory soup and the pain stays chronic. google steven graff-radford to learn more about this theory.