September, I hear, is pain awareness month. Normally, I don’t like to detail my pain. I try not to dwell because I want to enjoy my now. Often I dread the husband asking how I am feeling today because I feel sure he has to be tired of hearing it. Usually I just give him the highlights and try to move on. I may share with people who also live with chronic pain.. who knows what we can learn from each other in managing it. With most other people though, I try not to.. I don’t want “the look”.
You know that look.. rolled eyes, that just suck it up sitting heavy on the tip of their tongue. I dislike it intensely and so I do my best to avoid it. I know loads of folks have it worse. I get it. However, this is every day for me with no end in sight and my feelings matter too. So, in interest of pain awareness month, I am not going to go through everything but here was one day in the life..
I get up after my third alarm.. having woken up several times in the night, I am exhausted. I have already cut off the other two and am running late but I still don’t want to get up. It’s an effort. Moving hurts. Laying on my side hurts my shoulders.. the sockets feel like there is a sharp ice pick being continually jabbed in them.. it is what wakes me the most often.
Lying on my stomach is the most comfortable but is the worst position in the long haul. It makes my neck creak and the muscles sore and stiff. Lying on my back makes my arms go numb. I get chills in my legs and my feet cramp. The first thing that normally gets me going is grabbing the blanket to move because that sends a jolt of searing pain through my right hand.. and I have to keep repeating it because my hand is swollen and stiff and doesn’t always grasp the blanket. I often cry quietly because it is just so painful. I sit up and try to start working out some of the joint stiffness so I can get dressed.
I trudge slowly into the bathroom because I am never sure if my knees are going to give out or if I might still be woozy if I get off my cymbalta schedule.. or probably on top of these I stayed up too late because I want to spend time with my husband in the evenings. Sometimes I push through my skincare, etc because I am trying to feel normal and take care of myself. I feed the fish and head downstairs.
The younger fat cat will be on the step so I automatically death grip the banister in case she gets frisky. Stairs are incredibly hard and painful for me. Every step is like nails being driven into my knees and my ankles. I am not sure if my knees plan to betray me and I try to go slow. I feed the fat cats and crouching, try to hold my body steady to give them the kitty loving they deserve. I start the coffee and food prep portion of my morning. The smoothie machine is tough because my hands scream at the twisting motion needed.. however I also have to make the magic potion. So far so good.
I gather all the things I need to take with me to work. It is an hour drive and my joints ache after awhile but the car ride is doable on most days. Sometimes my hands lose grip on the steering wheel or the pain of sitting in one position gets to me but it is what it is. I will be stiff by the time I arrive so I am thankful to get out of the car.. except this week. This week my hips have been very painful and even the skin of my lower torso.. so when I sit they get stiff and my clothes feel like fire. When I walk, it feels like the bones are scraping in their sockets and my clothes still feel like fire. Too bad they frown upon coming to work naked. I make it through the day though and manage to avoid having to go into the warehouse.. the concrete floor hates me.
The drive home is pretty much the same in reverse. If I am lucky I don’t have to brave the anxiety of the grocery store and can go straight home. I try to avoid the glass of wine calling my name and the siren song of relaxation it promises. I talk myself into a warm decaf instead. I do any chores I can manage and by then the husband is home and we usually have dinner and watch some tv. I try to remember to take my meds on time. I know I will have weird muscle twitches and who knows what else if I don’t.. plus I still have to climb the stairs and don’t want the odds stacked against me. I am often exhausted and just want to sleep but I know I need movement.
Sometimes we go for a walk. I try to get to bed early and on schedule knowing I have a repeat performance the next day early but I like to sit with my husband. The winning party varies. No matter what, I am still thankful I am able to do this much and enjoy life. Hug your person who is in this same arena, tell them you love them because we need it most days.