Not so pumped

Horseshoe Crab shell

So, I had this baclofen pump thing (I still haven’t named it yet) installed, or implanted, or inserted, or shoved rudely in or whatever, on December first, and I’m still working on getting it to do what it is supposed to do. I’ve had it adjusted twice, and both times it feels like the spasticity and charley horse cramping at night has only gotten worse. It’s got me wondering if the cramping, which seems to be almost entirely in my left foot (tho last night both of my legs took turns jarring me awake) is not spasticity but something else.

The other night I had a stabbing pain in my left ankle, like a big wasp was stinging me repeatedly in the same spot, every minute or so. It went on all evening. I had to stop and do my best to keep from shouting naughty words, and if I happened to be standing, I almost wasn’t. It seemed there was a tiny red mark where the stab came from, a very specific point, and if I pressed on it, it hurt. Which made me wonder if there wasn’t something actually sticking in my ankle. I’ve felt those weird little pinprick things, and the bug-crawling thing, but nothing like this. This really hurt. And like these thing do, it eventually went away, some sticky synapse in my diseased brain snapping shut.

The  pump (and actually I have named it, but I can’t repeat the name in polite company) is supposed to replace oral baclofen, which at the doses I have been taking gets into my brain and makes me foggy and groggy and leaves a drug hangover in the morning. So far, I am still taking the same amount of oral baclofen – quite a bit more than the prescribed dose – still getting shocked awake several times every night with hard cramps, and still facing the day feeling drugged. I fear any further adjustment of the pump will take away what little mobility I still have. At this point, I think I am willing to give up walking in exchange for sleeping.


Author: Stephen

Stephen Harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in Maine.

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