12 January 2016

Sometimes all I can concentrate on is pain....

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For quite some time I've been experiencing chronic pain. It is daily, with varying degrees of pain day by day (and within one day). Some days it's manageable, and I'm able to do what I need to do easily. Other days, I can barely sit at my desk because I hurt so much.

Lately there have been more high pain days than not.

Last week was hard. The kids were home, so we had the school/kids' schedule in addition to my regular work schedule. Usually that means late nights and early mornings since I do most of my work after the kids go to bed. And since I pick Puck up from school, I have to accommodate the lost time each day. Sometimes that adds to the stress, which makes me hurt more.

One of the hard parts is that people can't see when I'm hurting, and it's typically stress or lack of sleep or something like that causing the increase in pain. When I'm in pain, outwardly, I look the same as when I'm not in pain. And I worry that if I try to tell people I'm in pain, it will happen so often that they'll think I'm just complaining or they won't take me seriously or something like that.

People who don't have chronic pain don't understand chronic pain.

And they don't understand how taxing it is. Quite some time ago, someone referred me to the Spoon Theory. The idea is that, at the start of each day, someone with a chronic condition has a certain number of spoons. Each task that they complete, from getting out of bed to eating to driving to work, costs them spoons. Some days, pain or illness makes them use more spoons for simple activities, and they may run out of spoons sooner. Or, worse, borrow against tomorrow's spoons to get through the day.

If you don't have a chronic illness, you have an endless supply of spoons. And it can be hard for people to understand that, on a bad day, I can choose either eating supper or taking a shower. I can't do both. I can either pick my son up from school or deal with this difficult client.

And when I'm out of spoons, I'm done for the day. That's just how it is.

I'm in the process of getting more answers and an effective treatment plan. In the meantime, I take over-the-counter medications, use Icy Hot (when I think it will work), meditate, and do whatever I can to be kind to myself.

And I always try to keep a spoon on reserve to read a story to the munchkins before bed.

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