Thursday, December 4, 2008

Better living through chemistry

Recently I've complained that I've been unable to sleep. Well, I can fall asleep just fine, but then a few hours later I wake up and can't get back to sleep. Taking more clonazapam helps me sleep through the night, but leaves me feeling sedated and hungover the next morning. Obviously, this is not ideal. It's already difficult enough to get out of bed and function without the drug fuzzies clinging to me.

So today I discussed this issue with my doctor, who after considering my sleep difficulties and the neuropathic-type "pain," prescribed Neurontin (generic name: gabapentin). Hopefully the change in medication will help me sleep as well as treat the weird hot/cold/pain sensations.

I know that "hot/cold/pain" isn't a great description. But pain is one of those funny things that is nearly impossible to describe unless the person you're speaking to has experienced a similar type of pain. We can categorize pain as stabbing, throbbing, sharp, dull, etc., but only because we generally agree on what those words mean. We've all had dull pain, sharp pain, etc. However, the hot/cold/pain isn't something that I think most people have experienced.

I was talking today with my mom who has neuropathic pain (amongst other conditions), and she knew exactly what I was talking about when I was describing the pain. How it's like it's inside your bones, that the very marrow is affected.

Anyway, I found the discussion very interesting. How do you describe a particular kind of pain to someone who hasn't felt it? For example, assume I've never had a throbbing pain--and then explain to me what it feels like. Difficult, no? It's like trying to explain to someone who has never itched, what itching feels like.

However, I don't think that you, dear reader, need to precisely understand the quality of sensation. I'm just rambling about language and's just interesting to me. And we shall see what the Neurontin does for me.

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