ARE YOU TRAPPED IN A LIFE OF CHRONIC PAIN?
Very often, I receive tragically sad blog and FB notes from individuals who are trapped in their lives and their families and friends don’t “get it.” This entrapment can be a lonely place. I know this from my personal experience with chronic pain. The list of “I can’t do that anymore” is a long one for millions of individuals, including me.
Today, many individuals are beginning to understand how we live, unfortunately, thanks to this awful Covid virus. There are many similarities between the way of life many of us have had for years and the way everyone is supposed to be behaving voluntarily today. Of course, we are limited without free will, trapped by pain and physically damaged or ill bodies. Wearing a good mask and keeping a safe distance has been thrust upon us as the two safest ways to stay safe in this world today. Just remember those of us with autoimmune diseases are at a high risk for this disease, so be especially careful if you have one of those. It will end eventually.
To others, those of us who live with chronic pain are an enigma. The range of emotions and reactions are great in us and toward us. It’s almost impossible for someone else to know how you feel. This can include beloved family members, friends and acquaintances as well as physicians. It is important for us not to judge others for not understanding. Sympathy and empathy can only go so far toward true understanding.
I’ve met more than one male doctor who has given me a bored look as I drone on about my pain and in my mind, I’m thinking, “Hey buddy, I’m a nurse. I know the male anatomy and I know how to hurt you with one good “accidental” jerk of my knee. That would teach you a bit about pain and maybe then you’d listen to me.”
No, I haven’t actually carried out that fantasy. That would be labeled assault and I’m much too refined for that; or am I? Do we often feel rage? Of course, we do. I think it must feel a little like house arrest with the ankle bracelet except we have pain in far more places on our bodies than just one ankle. What do you do when you feel that entrapment?
Here are the best three ideas I have for you if you are entrapped due to a life of chronic pain.
- Keeping in mind the importance of wearing a mask and retaining a safe distance from others, the following really do help. Go out of the house. If you can walk, roll, slide or shuffle, go out onto the porch. If it’s too hot, don’t stay very long. If it’s rainy and cold, don a jacket and a hat. Look around. Check out the neighbors, the traffic or your own or someone else’s flowers or shrubs. Look up at the trees, majestic in their constancy. Observe the birds and see what they’re up to as they display that freedom you long to have. Just take the few steps necessary to get out. Fresh air is revitalizing.
- After a few attempts at this you may feel like walking up the block if you can manage it. Masked, visit with a neighbor, the mailman or a passing dog. If you can drive, go to a mall, a grocery store or a department store but try to do it in the early hours when it is not crowded. Walk in, look around then walk out. If you can or want to buy something, that’s okay but it’s the presence of your fellow humans that you need. When you look around, you are reminded that perfection is rare and most likely a myth, in others as well as ourselves. We’re all grounded by some flaw, some misery or some emotional stress. Life is fluid and it can change drastically from day to day for everyone. You are not alone in this world. We need to often remind ourselves everyone has their challenges.
When you return home, it will undoubtedly look a big cluttered, stinky, maybe dusty and disordered because of the lousy level of energy you’ve been suffering. It’s probably a bit dark. Open a curtain or a blind and let some sunshine in. If you have any energy left, clean one area. You know, it only takes approximately 45 seconds to wash a dirty window and the clean glass will allow more of the outside to come in. One window is all you need to do today. Now you can rest and you will feel better about it. You’ve experienced the stimulation and probable exhaustion of doing something. Welcome back to life. Mother Nature can heal you so give her a chance by watching, savoring and loving all the beauty she has to offer you. The sky, the clouds, a tiny bug, your own pets or the glorious and varied colors of multiple flowers are all gifts for us and bolster what can be a grim lifestyle.
- Take a look at your medical care. If you don’t know much about medical issues you at least know whether or not you are making progress. If your current physician isn’t helping you or even listening to you, consider getting another opinion. It’s nice if you like him/her but it isn’t necessary. The important thing is you are paying for a service. It’s a very important service because your life is important. You matter…say it again, you matter. Your life is ticking away and you need to be getting as much from each day as you can muster. Is this doctor helping you to achieve that? If the answer is no, ask friends, call the local hospitals or go online and find a new doctor. A second or third opinion may surprise you and bring much needed answers. All doctors are not alike. They have differing views about everything, including you. Faint heart never won good health. Now I realize good may be a stretch but livable is possible. Never give up on finding the best quality of life possible whatever your condition may be. First of all, you have to believe in the possibility of recovery on some level. If you can’t see it in your mind, work on that. Status quo can get you into a lot of trouble. Your health doesn’t stand still. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. Which one do you want? You are a living creature and we living creatures need movement, nutrition and stimulation, both mental and physical. We also need love and friendship.
- Reach out to someone else. If your family doesn’t understand, try to explain. So often, our families are the last ones to understand because they are afraid for themselves. Is whatever you have going to affect them? Families don’t like change and think they know you when they don’t know you at all. Your malady may be an inconvenience. It may require them to do more work, live with less income or face change. Nobody likes change…well, that’s just the way life is and often trouble comes without an invitation. I am blessed with a loving spouse and my grown children do try to understand, but, how can they? They don’t live here and see the changes like my dear man does.
Try to find a support group at your local hospital or come online with one of our groups. You need others. You may not realize it right now, but you still have a great deal to give from the depths of that pit you’re in. Others need you. Call an old friend. If they don’t “get it”, or don’t seem to want to hear what you’re going through, move on to another friend or relative. Remember it is not just your life that has been shaken. All humans face hardship, disease or the fall-out from someone’s thoughtless actions. We all have a story to tell. Share yours and listen to theirs. I always felt that way but since writing articles and blogs over the last twenty years I realize this truth more than ever before. It does help to know you’re not alone in your suffering.
You deserve to get out of that trap. Gnaw, chew, fight and educate yourself out of it. Life is too good to be wasted and so are you. Remember you and I are the child of the King and loved by Him. We deserve and should expect a good life. I know it’s difficult not to feel anger and resentment at times. Health is a lotto of sorts as is DNA. I don’t know the why’s but I do know we were promised by our Lord that He would be with us always. Reach out, believe in the power of love and don’t let the destructive emotions of life take over. Reach out, believe and don’t let the lesser emotions of life win out. Take control as much as you can; which is probably more than most of realize when we are in that trap of chronic pain. Adapt but never give up.
I sure understand feeling trapped and isolated. I have lost my water class, my church time and seeing people out at restaurants. I however started by sitting on my porch every day it was warm (now cool) enough. I fortunately talk to a few friends routinely on the phone. Having gotten a puppy during this mess has kept me physically active because I go out with him every single time and get on the floor with him. We’ve had social distancing puppy play dates with litter mates. BTW Remi adores him (thank heavens). Having the puppy has also helped as I’ve had several friends pass away recently.
Laura, Since I follow you on FB I have seen that you have recently lost some individuals dear to you. FOr that I am so sorry. Surely your new pup brings joy and laughter into your life everyday. He is adorable and full of life. Bet Remi is getting a lot of exercise and fun now. I know you are more isolated than many of us in even normal times which this certainly is not. I will be glad for you when you can go out to lunch with your dear Dad once again. Love ya, Sue
Laura. a new puppy? I must look at your pictures! I know your days are very busy and fun too. Our tiny Abby will soon be three! Abby is tiny, but she is the feistiest Pom we have ever had, but she makes us laugh everyday and she is great with the kids, who are growing up far too fast! Our eldest grandchild turned eleven this week, and those of you who have been on the blog for over eleven years, remember her arrival! Enjoy your puppy, Laura, because they grow up far too quickly!
Poor pom Brody is unimpressed with the puppy who is significantly larger than he was 2 months ago when I brought him home. I can’t believe your grand is 11 already time flies regardless of having g fun.
Good to hear you are keeping afloat even without water class. Congrats on the pup. My daughter is here with her boxer pup and I am having puppy pains myself. My Ceasar is 13 now and suffering with the Dachie curse of arthritis.. But as long as I can keep him from having pain and a quality of life, he will be with me. And no other dogs, lol. He won’t allow it.
I just love “porch sittin “. Take care
How are you
Yes your blog aptly fits all the problems and how we all try to overcome them
The lockdown has Somehow made life simpler tho in a strange way…
All not too bad here but loads of rain ..
Chris, sounds like all is well which is good to hear. Stay safe. Love, Sue
Sue, dad and I have a weekly date out to my cousin’s restaurant and I feel safe there. Remi has gained a ton of muscle playing with the puppy. He makes a great sponge for her drool so it’s a match made in heaven lol. Having Twist has really made a difference in my activity levels as before he came home I spent most of my time reading. Living alone during a lockdown makes it difficult at best to stay in a positive mood but I did manage. My groceries are delivered, Church is by live feed, no gym option and my spine doesn’t allow for walking any distance. I did go for the occasional car ride during strict lockdown just for different scenery. Our governor has kept restrictions in place and in fact has done a executive order that everyone age 2 and up has to wear masks in public places. Glad I don’t have to get a toddler to wear a mask.
Laura, I didn’t realize it was your cousin’s restaurant and am so pleased you still get that time with your Dad. Sounds like you’ve got it all handled which makes it easier to handle the emotional side of this isolation crap. I can just imagine how many laughs you are getting from Twist and so great that Remi has a play pal.
No, I wouldn’t want to have to mask a toddler, either. Oh no. Jim has shopped for us lately with a mask and also going in the early hours of the day. He had to stand in line the other day at one to get my seltzer machine refills but said people were very respectful of the 6 foot apart rule. Often we just order groceries and pick up but were wanting a few harder to find items. I also find he picks out better fruit and fresh vegies better than some anonymous guy at the store does. They don’t watch experation dates that closely, either. Always good to catch you on here and on FB. Love the pics of your family of canines. Love ya, Sue
Sue, great blog once again!
Did you ever imagine that we might live through such an unusual time? The past eighteen months have been very difficult! It all started with surgery to remove pressure on my spinal cord followed by a neck fusion, and just as I was feeling stronger, I lost my balance and fell down our deck steps, shattering my femur, which was followed by four more hours of surgery and a month in the hospital. I have been really, really careful, but last month I caught my toe on the deck and fell, fracturing four ribs! I looked beautiful when the hematoma on my head drained down the left side of my face … but I kept telling myself that it wasn’t as bad as a fractured femur!!! Both my mother and father in law passed during this time, and my husband has also had some health issues. In January I said 2020 had to be better … what a joke that was!!!
Four of my grandchildren will be homeschooled this September, but my son, who is a teacher, must return to school, so his two children will be returning also. He has been taking the kids shopping with a mask to prepare for school, which will be a big change as they have only each seen their best friend since their school was closed in March. I am greatly concerned about my son returning to school as he also has an autoimmune disease, but he asked for, and was granted, a classroom with an exterior door and also a washroom, so he feels he can keep his smaller, special education class isolated from the rest of the school population. He has taught now, for several years, a class of elementary children, bussed to his school from different catchment areas around the city, with severe articulation problems, some being non-verbal. I am proud that he has taken on this challenge, as he has a special needs son.
Stay safe everyone … someday this too will pass!
Pommum 🐾 Brenda
Dear Brenda pommum,, Oh my so much. I did know about the neck surgery and hope that wasn’t undone by the two other falls. I believe there was also a message about your fx femur. Oh my, such a very long time to be hospitalized. I assume most of it was a post hospital type of care home since it was so very long. DId you have to be in treaction? And then the ribs and you must have had quite a hematom on you head to have such a drainage of blood down your face. There comes a point when you look at yourself and am just accepting that we are not who we used to be. I do that often with weird changes in my body. Reminding myself it’s what’s inside that counts.
Oh indeed, those grands of yours have been such a blessing and brought you so much joy and concern at times. I assume your son is glad he will be teaching under better circumstances in spite of the way things are this year. Hopefully this will be solved with a vaccine very soon. He certainly can bring some experience with challenged children having had a special needs child all these years.
My local granddaughter has had play dates with her girlfriends as well as sleepovers. My local grandson will be 17 in a couple of weeks. Driving, a girlfriend and all that adult stuff.
My other four grandkids who grew up in TX are all in their twenties now. They are spread all over the country now and all out of college except for my oldest GD who just moved to DC where she will live with her brother and his wife; he, that GS, works in Congress. She will be specializing in a child-life specialty at the children’s hospital there. It is a fairly new medical specialty where they are like a buddy to hospitalized children, being there for them to help them and their parents deal with being hospitalized. It will be perfect for her as she comes from our medical family, one of her brothers and her Dad are RNs and of course her Nana, me. She has counseled at a camp for teens during her college breaks. The last and eldest grandson is a counselor for drug kids but is growing weary of it and is applying to law school now.
Oh us Nana’s when we get started on our grandkids…Love ya much, all these years, Sue
Hey Sue and all
Sorry I have been so out of it lately. Been so wrapped up in trying to stay on top of things this summer. Never a dull moment here. Always something to do. So the lockdown hasn’t affected me all that much. Just being more careful when I do go out.
My daughter and her husband has a painting and small repair business in NC. They have come up here to paint and repair my sisters roof. Always a joy to get to see them. No grands as they are in school.
Battling things with my eyes still. Big floater in my left eye with a small bleed, so they are watching that closely. Started me on steroid drops (if I can ever get the RX to Walmart). Had 4 teeth filled on Wed along with an eye appointment where they dilated me, ughhh.
Judy has to go see a cardiac valve specialist. Her echo showed signs of stenosis in her good valve, and some in her replacement. It’s been over 20 years since she had hers done and the expiration date on them is about that. So prayers please. Probably another surgery ahead.
I pray you all have a Blessed day and weekend.
Tonie, so good to hear from you but sorry you and Judy are going through so much. Do get those eyedrops, okay? Only got two eyes as your Mom and mine would have said. I know your summers are a busy time with you weather and your garden. Know also how busy what you reap makes you. Hope the rains haven’t spoiled anything for you. DO hope Judy gets her heart looked into very soon but how wonderful of Nikki and her DH to take care of Judy’s old home and fixing it up so nicely. Great. Nikki’s new little boxer looks so sweet. I didn’t realize your pup was getting that old.
Boy, two bad appt. in one day is awful. Do know I’m often thinking of you and your life with great affection and concern. What do you hear from your DH in France?
I know you have much on your plate right now so be good to you, okay? Love ya much, Sue
Was the blood infront or behind the eye..I also had a bleed behind the eye about two years ago, it went when they looked at it again ,it took a year to go but it did go
Yes those floaters are a nuisance,I have a few and I could swear sometimes I’m seeing flies go by
Prayers for Judy and her surgery..but you too as well