The Witchy Itch

I’m still struggling with back, hip, and knee pain from our car accident. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like such a wimp over this. I feel like the accident was three weeks ago, so I should be feeling better already. Especially because I’ve been hitting the PT in a fast and furious sort of way. Not by choice, but because I only have a limited amount of time before I have to leave town for a month. I’m trying to fit in as much as I can before I go. I didn’t have any broken bones. According to the orthopedist, I had a lot of bruising and soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries sound … well, soft, right? Yeah. Wrong. I’m beginning to wonder if a broken bone would have been easier to heal. At least I could put a broken bone into a cast or splint or something. Not that I want to have broken bones. I’m really happy and feel very lucky that I walked away without breaking anything. It’s just that the injuries I have are starting to wear on me a bit, mentally and physically.

My physical therapist and trainer both tell me I need to be more patient. They both like to remind me that the accident wasn’t really that long ago — not even a month yet. And that I haven’t been in PT for that long. And I have made progress. There is a part of me that understands what they are saying and that knows they are telling me the truth. But then, there’s this irrational, annoyed part of my brain that’s like, “NO! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! I want things back to normal, and I want them that way NOW!!” I like to think of this part of my brain as my inner three-year-old. And she is tossing off some major tantrums. I’m tired of feeling worn-out and exhausted. I’m tired of dragging around my aching hip and of feeling that dull ache and burn in my back at the end of the day or after performing tasks that used to be easy for me. I’m tired of feeling like I’m going to be sick and/or pass out when anything accidentally bumps up against my sore knee. I’m sick of not being able to work out. I just feel … annoyed and petulant and pissed off.

I’m not mad at my physical therapist. My husband was driving our car, and I know he feels bad about the accident. But I’m not mad at him. How could I be, when none of this is his fault? I’m not even mad at the guy who T-boned us. It was an accident, after all. I’m sure the accident ruined that guy’s day, too. I’m mad at myself. Because I just feel like, “Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I feel better already? Why can’t things just be fixed?” I know I’m being spoiled, irrational, and unreasonable, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The thoughts are still there.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping since the accident happened. I generally have trouble falling asleep at night. (Thanks for that, middle age hormones.) Now, though,  I can’t manage to stay asleep once I finally drift off. I’m too uncomfortable. Everything hurts, so I end up tossing and turning for most of the night. After struggling through this for about a week or week and a half, I finally decided to take my husband’s advice and call my doctor. I was reluctant to do this because I’m stubborn and because I have this irrational idea that things should just be “back to normal” by now. Also, I was pretty sure my doctor would be suspicious as heck and think I was a potential drug addict in training if I asked for pain medication.


My doctor was pretty cool about the whole thing. She only mildly treated me like a budding drug addict. And she prescribed Tylenol 3 for me. For the first few nights, it was bliss. The Tylenol 3 doesn’t necessarily help me fall asleep, but it did a heck of a job at knocking out my pain so that I could manage to stay asleep all night once I did drop off. I felt ever-so-much-better for having a few nights of decent sleep under my belt. It was great to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed, as opposed to feeling like something a cat dragged in, barfed up on the rug, ate, then barfed up again . Yeah. Not a good feeling.  Finally, I thought, I’m making some progress. Finally, I am going to start feeling like a normal person again. I was all kinds of happy.

It didn’t last. For the past four nights or so, I haven’t been able to sleep because I’ve been too itchy. Just itchy all over: face, head, arms, legs, torso … Basically, if there’s a place where I can itch, I’m itching. I can’t manage to fall asleep because I’m too busy scratching and tossing-turning to get comfortable or to find a sleeping position that won’t make me itch.

I never made the connection between the itching and my Tylenol 3 because I had taken it for a few days with no issues. Last night, though, I broke out in hives. That was a new and not-so-fun experience. Few things are as annoying as hives at 2AM. As I’m standing in front of the bathroom mirror, watching the hives spread across my left shoulder and chest, I started thinking about anything I’ve eaten or done or taken that’s different or unusual. And it hit me like a ton of something really heavy: the Tylenol 3. I looked up possible reactions and, sure enough, there it was: itching and hives.

I don’t know if I’m allergic to this medication. I don’t know if it’s the Tylenol or the codeine causing the itching and hives. I do know I am going to have to make another call to my doctor’s office this afternoon. And the perpetual three-year-old that lives inside my brain is not happy about it. At all. She keeps reminding me that the doctor will FOR SURE think I’m a drug addict this time. What’s even worse is that the rational, adult side of my brain has, apparently, decided to let three-year-old me take control. And so, I’m left with this overriding sense of … Do. Not. Like.

Ugh. Just … Ugh.



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