Several years ago I was 'fortunate' enough to experience life with chronic pain. For 8 months I had unexplained muscle pain in my legs that would be so bad I could hardly manage stairs. It interfered with my sleep. I was irritable and cranky much of the day. I remember lying in bed and wondering if I could look to a future of this type of pain for the rest of my life. I was 30 years old at the time I had a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept. I wasn't suicidal but looking forward was totally incomprehensible.
We have a chronic pain study now at our office and will have 4 more by the end of October this year. This is not our first experience working with patients that deal with pain EVERY minute of their lives. But we never lose our compassion for them nor our complete admiration that they still continue to function and do what they are able to do. Some of them have mastered the poker face and put on a smile despite the fact that walking to the door is agony to them.
Chronic pain beats one down, physically, mentally and emotionally. It takes your 'mojo'! After time a person chooses to 'ignore' as much as possible or they would be consumed by the pain. This is why it is hard to assess chronic pain patients to get an objective measurement of their pain (you know, the scale of 1-10...1 being very little and 10 being the worst pain you ever have felt). Really? If chronic pain patients rated it as they had felt it in the beginning they would all be walking around in remorse at a 10. They can't remember what it is like to NOT be in pain.
What do people with chronic pain need? From what I can remember I wanted less stimulation: noise, light and touch. I wanted to be reassured that this pain would not be written off for me to deal with all my own. Most of all I needed to be validated. I was in pain. It hurts. Don't feel sorry for me but don't patronize me or worse tell me it is in my head....that is another blog!
I would like to hear some thoughts from those that deal with chronic, debiliating pain. Let us hear your words so we can appreciate what you do every day.