A Day in the Life – Being Pain Free, Just For A Moment – written in 2008

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Basic Info, History, Pain, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I found this writing the other evening. I wrote it for a newsletter for a company that supposed to be developing a chronic pain website. I don’t know if they ever posted it.

God bless my wonderful husband, Kurt. He is a-maz-ing.

I called it, “Being pain free, just for a moment.”
My husband wakes me up with a kiss on my forehead to say ‘goodbye’ before he leaves for work. He is smiling and asks me how I am feeling. This is the hardest question for me to answer.
My lower back is stiff and painful. My legs refuse to respond to my subconscious directions to move. My feet ache and my lower legs are swollen just enough to make them ache. The back of my neck and upper thoracic areas are on fire. I smile anyway. My mind goes back to something my husband said in the car a few weekends ago. “You know what would make me happy?” he said. “To hear you say that you feel great – not to hear you list off all of your problems and pain – not to hear you dwell on your problems all the time.” But, I can’t lie, and darn it all, I don’t dwell on my medical problems. The cells in my body do that for me. Thus, I am forced to be consciously aware of my pain all of the time, even with diversion. I briefly think about a worst-case scenario: What if something happens to me later on – he would not be able to advocate for me – “Well, she said she felt fine earlier,” he would tell the doctor/ambulance crew. So, do I lie to make my husband happy before he goes off to work, so he can have a good start to his day, or do I honor my body, and tell the truth?
I decide to change the subject – I roll over as carefully as possible, peel myself out of the bed and go to the bathroom, telling him that I’ll be right back. By the time I return, he forgot that he asked that question, and the conversation moves on to dinner, and what we need at the grocery store. So he leaves, thinking I am fine since I didn’t complain, and proceeds through his day with now idea how I struggle.
My husband comes through the door, always grumbling about the stupid drivers he must dodge in order to safely navigate the twenty-six miles from his workplace. I empathize. I used to commute by car too, before I became a medical train wreck. The question is asked again, “how do you feel?” This time subterfuge is easy. I tell him all the things I did; factoids form the silly TV shows I watched, gossip about friends and neighbors. No mention is made about the searing back and leg pain, the stabbing pain still in my neck, alerting me a migraine is just around the corner, or a series of uncontrollable muscle spasms that rendered me unable to drive. I did enough things around the house to make it look like I was busy and actually accomplished something housewife-y – more than watching TV while laying on heating pads, doing stretches to try and loosen my tight muscles that squeeze the nerves that most likely cause my back and leg pain. Or, that I napped for three hours. Of course, the medications that I took to try and maintain some quality-of-life are not mentioned either. Hubby curls up on the couch with his laptop and cruises the net, completely immersed in reading his techno-geek websites. My condition is no longer a concern, or so I think. Then around 8:00p.m. he announces that he has made me a nice warm bath, to help relax my back and legs. Perhaps I will sleep better, he says. Without my verbalizing about the magnitude of my issues, he knows, at least to some degree, how I really feel. I underestimate his ability to perceive my aches and pains. After my bath, I tell him what he wants to hear. “I feel great! Thanks for thinking of me.” It is still a bit of a white lie, but I do feel great – and loved. For a few moments I am pain free, and I smile, for real this time.

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Comments
  1. cravencreativity says:

    Wow, I am laying here on MY heating pad reading your post with tears in my eyes… I feel as if I am reading my own thoughts or that this is a script taken from my own life… I am so sorry to read how similar our lives sound. After my back and SI joints were permanently damaged in a car accident over 7 years ago, I have suffered in constant in chronic pain as well. Everything you wrote about I can totally relate to, including and thankfully the sweet husband… I just very recently started a blog of my own, about suffering from chronic pain and how I have finally reached a point where I am determined to find ways to create through the pain… I’m not sure of your entire story, how long you’ve been suffering,etc. But if you get a chance, check out my blog. My hope is to be able to inspire other chronic pain sufferers to use creativity( in whatever way their body will allow) to help take their mind of the pain, if for only moments at a time. I use to be a big time painter, but that is really hard on my body and subsequently the pain its always in, so I’ve been really getting into crocheting(which I can do laying in bed on my heating pad) to help fill the creative void. It helps me to focus, at least for moments at a time, on something positive, something other than my pain… I just felt inspired to leave you this comment after reading your post, I hope that you don’t mind. I am learning very quickly that blogging about your pain can be very cathartic in and of itself.
    Take care,
    karen

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