13. Neuropathic Pain in My Lower Body: Barbed Wires

1024px-Ex-Iron_Curtain_barbed_wire

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My whole lower body is tightly wrapped
with criss-crossing barbed wires
that coil underneath buttocks,
twine around lower calves,
strangle ankles,
curl underneath heels,
and
tighten big toes.

Thousands of barbs pierce deep into flesh
and hypersensitive nerves,
cutting deep into fine bones.
Intermittently charged,
the barbs send fiery sparks up and down:
an electric network of sensitive nerves, pulsating.
They blaze with invisible and inaudible sparks.
A heat wave surges up and down
from toes to buttocks.

Movements of the body
drive millions of sharp nails further in.
Painkillers, magnesium or turmeric
only seems to pause the electrical charge
but just cannot switch off the burning barbed wires.

© 2015 K-KLokePhD

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KZ-Buchenwald_Stacheldraht

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Barbed Wire. Photo by High Contrast. CCA 3.0 German License, via –
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ex-Iron_Curtain_barbed_wire.JPG#/media/File:Ex-Iron_Curtain_barbed_wire.JPG

Bared Wires. Reste der Lagerumzäunung im KZ Buchenwald.
Photo by Mathias Bigge. CC AS-A 2.5 Generic License, via-
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Barbed_wire_fences#mediaviewer/File:KZ-Buchenwald_Stacheldraht.jpg
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12. Neuropathic Pain and Spasm in My Legs: Electric Shock

My wheelchair has become an electric chair.640px-Lightning_hits_tree, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lightning_hits_tree.jpg
Wires crisscross my body,
charged with a low current,
slowly extend and expand,
like surging waves,
from the feet upwards
to the calves, the thighs,
and finally the buttocks.

Suddenly,
my toes are hit
with a short, sharp electric shock.
My legs jerk violently outward,
then tap on the footplates
at regular executions.
.

© 2015 K-KLokePhD


Lightning Hits Tree. Photo by Johnny Autery. Image in Public Domain, 
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lightning_hits_tree.jpg


11. Who will wheel me there?

.
.
Twenty two degrees C
On this sunny winter day
With gentle breeze
What’s it like beside the sea?
Who will wheel me there?

(Published in Eucalypt, A Tanka Journal, No. 9, November 2010 ; later in Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume Three (2010), Anthology, edited by M. Kei, et. al., published by the MET press; and also in 100 Tanka by 100 Poets of Australia & New Zealand, edited by Amelia Fieldon, Beverley George & Patricia Prime, published by Ginniderra Press, 2013, p.34 )
.

800px-main_beach_-_gold_coast_qld.jpg December 20, 2014.



Main Beach, Gold coast, Australia. Photo by Alpha from Melbourne, Australia.
CC AS-A 2.0 Generic License, via –
 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Main_Beach_-_Gold_Coast,_QLD.jpg



10. My Wheelchair

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Now an indispensable object besides my bed,
an inseparable part of my life:

We call it The Vehicle.
I am the driver, indoors, capable of
narrow hallway manoeuvres and
razor-sharp turns
in a house not built for a wheelchair user.

My originally spotless, well-maintained home
now bears scars of frequent accidents.
All doors and plasterboard walls
are defenceless against the metal parts of
     the back canes, the armrests, the footplates.
Two big holes on the walls from front-on collisions.
Two parallel rows of dents and scratches look like
     underground rail tracks with stations.
Even the hardwood sideboard top has deep scars.
The legs of the wooden dining table and chairs
now wear permanent straps.
Every square pillar has chiselled-off corners.
All un-repairable.

It has become my legs, giving me
freedom of movement and mobility
in an otherwise restrictive life.
Oh! Since when have I got used to using a wheelchair,
permanently?
.

© 2015 K-KLokePhD

Lightweightwheelchair

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A Lightweight Manual Wheelchair. Photo by en:User:Kesafloyd. Work in Public Domain.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lightweightwheelchair.jpg


09. Paraplegia: My Once Good Right Leg

Eric_Caulier, Photo by Georgette METHENS-RENARD

Before the biopsy surgery,
I could stand on my right leg
like the ‘golden rooster’ in Taiji,
perform the three foot, heel and toe kicks.
I could pose as Yoga’s ‘eagle’ and ‘tree’.

.

On the floor,
I could stretch like a cat,
aerobics-18884_640perform a ‘shoulder stand’,
or cycle upside down in the air.
On my stomach,
I could raise my legs
and pose as a ‘locust’ and a ‘bow’.

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800px-Stretching_black_cat_on_a_railing_and_cherry_blossom_trees-Hisashi-01

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.

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.

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Lying on my back now,
when I hold my right leg up vertically;
it bends at the knee without resistance
like a pair of two-band BBQ tongs with a broken spring.
Its toes curl inward and point downward, limply,
like the legs of a cooked shrimp. shrimp-489648_640

.

It became lifeless so suddenly;
some nerves could have been severed during surgery —
it couldn’t be due
to the disturbed and swollen tumour alone.

.

© 2015 K-KLokePhD
——————————————————————————————————————–

Taiji posture of Eric Caulier. Photo by Georgette METHENS-RENARD. CC AS-A 3.0 Unported License, via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eric_Caulier.jpg

Shoulder Stand. Author unknown. CC0 Public Domain, via – http://pixabay.com/en/aerobics-balance-exercise-female-18884/

Black Cat Stretching. Photo by Hisashi from Japan. CC AS-A 2.0 Generic License, via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stretching_black_cat_on_a_railing_and_cherry_blossom_trees-Hisashi-01.jpg

A Cooked Shrimp. Photo by Jinho Kim from Daejeon of Korea. CC0 Public Domain. via-  http://pixabay.com/en/shrimp-cooking-food-seafood-489648/



08. Neuropathic Pain From Feet to Back: Warm Coarse Sand and Stones

 

 

600px-Sand_from_Gobi_Desert

During the day,
My feet step through warm coarse sand
with constant warm vibrations from the feet up.
But they are icy to touch.
.

My legs and thighs are wrapped up
by thorny fabric constantly pricking at my nerves.
But they are numb to touch.
.

I sit on a tray of warm stones
that persistently thrust against my buttocks.
No escape.
.

My back leans on a backrest studded with stones
that pierce deep into my spinal cord.
Invisible blood, realistic pain.
.

At night,
I lie down on a magician’s bed
full of long pointed nails.
Illusory sleep.
.

© 2015 K-KLokePhD

800px-Nagelbrett_ganz (1)

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Sand from Gobi Desert. Photo by Siim Sepp. CC AS-A 3.0 Unported License, via – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sand_from_Gobi_Desert.jpg

Beach Stones. Photo by David Bleasdale from England. CCA 2.0 Generic License, via – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beach_Stones_2.jpg A nail bed. Photo by Logitech. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. via – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nagelbrett_ganz.jpg.

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© 2015 K-KLokePhD

07. Neuropathic Pain Inside my Legs: Fire Crackers

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firecrackers

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Inside my legs,
from toes to buttocks,
long strings of fire crackers
burst and burn.

Constant, soundless crackling
Hot, invisible sparks

Is there construction
in this chaos: damaged nerves
straining to reconnect,
myelin healing, spinal cord
regenerating?

 .

800px-Fire_Crackers_Display_(DSC01945)

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Firecrackers in action in Chinese New Year celebration.
Photo by Dr. LEE Sao Bing, who is the Medical Director and Principal Surgeon of Shinagawa LASIK & Eye Centre, Singapore. Photo taken from his personal blog at:
https://drleesb.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/firecrackers-new-year/

Firecrackers Displays. Photo by Nitin K Parekh. CC AS-A 3.0 Unported License.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fire_Crackers_Display_(DSC01945).JPG

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© 2015 KKLokePhD

06. Spasm: The Invisible Puppeteer; 05. A Marionette

06. Invisible Puppeteer

duvet vibrates
bed rattles against bed board
oh! here he is again
pulling and jerking my legs
The Invisible Puppeteer
.

(Published in Eucalypt, A Tanka JournalNo. 10, May 2011, p. 21)
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05. Marionette

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(a)

A marionette
I have become, overnight
Strings attached to
Head, shoulders, hands, knees and toes
For the invisible hands

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nepal-400_1280, http://pixabay.com/en/nepal-dolls-figures-colorful-400/

(b)

a marionette
strings tied from head to toes for
invisible hands

.

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Nepalese Puppets. Photo by Simon Steinberger from Ulm. Deutschland.
CC0 License Public Domain.
Photo from: http://pixabay.com/en/nepal-dolls-figures-colorful-400/



04. Sudden Onset of Spasm

 

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File:2003-06-14_Scanned_kitten.jpg

Three days since the biopsy surgery,
when my left leg jerks
suddenly,
up and down on the mattress.

.
The right leg still lies
limply
like a dead log
rotting into the forest floor.

 .

Decaying beech log in Marselisborg Forests, Denmark.

 

 

 

 

 

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Scanned Kitten
– Sleeping with one leg up. Image from Art-top (Artem Topchily).
CC AS-A 3.0 Unported License
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2003-06-14_Scanned_kitten.jpg

Decaying Log. Decaying beech log in Marselisborg Forests, Denmark.
Photo by RhinoMind. CC AS-A 3.0 Unported License..
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Decaying_log.jpg.

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03. Sudden Onset of Chronic Neuropathic Pain

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Many long hours after the biopsy surgery,
I wake from anaesthetic—
my entire body wrapped in strange new pain:

a tight broad metal band
corsets my lower chest wall—
I can hardly breathe;

my lower body crackles, crunches and bursts
with sensation—
if only I could stop them.

My two legs have stopped being identical twins:
right leg is hypersensitive to the gentlest touch;
the left is completely numb.

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Bonfire4,  English Wikipedia, original upload 8 September 2004 by Fir0002

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© 2015 K-KLokePhD


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Bonfire. Photo from English Wikipedia, 8 September 2004 by Fir0002.
CC AS-A 3.0Unported License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bonfire4.jpg



02. Walked in, Wheeled Out: Sudden Onset of Disability

.

I walked into a hospital
in a hot summer afternoon in February, 2004,
for a biopsy operation on a spinal cord tumour.

The Neurosurgeon said,
‘This is going to be a simple operation for you
because you are healthy and well.
You will be able to get out of bed tomorrow,
                       but I couldn’t
leave the hospital three days later,
                       I didn’t and couldn’t
and return to work a month from now.’
                       I never did

Three months later,
I wheeled myself out of
the rehabilitation ward of another hospital.
.

©  2015 K-KLokePhD              1024px-006351_-_Zahara_de_los_Atunes_(7426899582)

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Zahara de los Atunes, Provincia de Cádiz, Andalucía, España.
Photo by M Peinado, Spain. CCA 2.0 Generic License, via – 
 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:006351_-_Zahara_de_los_Atunes_%287426899582%29.jpg



01. The Tumour

Blue-ringed Octopus at night. Taken at Blairgowrie Marina, Victoria, AU. Photo by Saspotato.

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More than three or even four decades ago,
a tiny, docile blue-ringed octopus
mysteriously
made its lair in my spinal cord.

It had been thriving,
slowly and steadily,
undetected,
until eleven years ago.

It extends its eight long, flexible arms
in all directions,
to siphon off nerve tissues and cells
as it pleases.

It liquidises its prey
to make minute cysts
that slowly combine
to become larger cysts.

It wrecks widespread nerve damage:
cuts off nerve communication with a burst of ink
and paralyses with a shock of venom.

Destruction from neck down to lumbar.
Progressively,
new types of pain,
new pain patterns,
new pain locations,
greater disability.

© 2015 K-KLokePhD




Blue-Ringed Octopus. Photo by Saspotato, in public domain, via -
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hapalochlaena_maculosa.jpg