I’ve been in a pretty shitty mood for the last few days. It’s a variety of things really, but the real underlying thing is that I’ve been in more pain than I usually am. And it’s when that happens that I realize how much harder my life is because of the chronic pain issues. Allow me to walk you through a day.
I wake up, usually pretty late. I don’t have to be up early most days and I get pretty exhausted during the day, so I let myself sleep as much as I want to. I figure it’s better for my body to try to heal that way. I don’t always get a good night of sleep, so I really let myself go on sleeping those days.
I can tell when I wake up and try to roll out of bed what kind of day I’m going to have. If my back hurts a lot, instead of just a little, it’s probably not going to be a great day. Very rarely do I have no pain when I wake up.
I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and get up. As I stand up and put weight on my right leg the other pain provider for the day kicks in. Imagine that with every three steps out of four you have pain in your foot. Some days it feels like there’s a broken bone, sometimes it just feels like pressure because the foot feels swollen, and some days its’ just a pain that I can’t place.
I also have to be careful because I still can’t pick up my right foot. I’ve gotten pretty good at walking, but I have to pick up my leg higher than I used to or I swing my foot out to the side to help my toes clear the ground. Even when I’m trying to pay attention I don’t always have success. This means getting my big toe caught on a rug or the ground. I either fall or save myself from falling, but I tweak my back in the process.
When it comes to household chores, everything hurts. I can wash dishes for a few minutes without pain, but if I’m in front of the sink too long my back and foot start to hurt. No matter how I get laundry out of the washer, it hurts my back. No mop that currently exists is designed for tall people and that motion causes some of the worst back pain I have. The same goes for my favorite household chore – vacuuming.
You’d think something like sitting would be okay, but it’s not. If I want to stay comfortable to work on my computer for any length of time, I have to recline. Sitting in a normal chair, on a futon, or on a couch isn’t pain-free. Every now and then I can get an hour or more without pain. Some days it’s as little as 30-45 minutes. Getting up to walk around doesn’t necessarily alleviate the pain either.
I like to try to get some exercise so I go walking. Walking always causes my right foot to hurt, often my ankle, and sometimes my hip and back. I’ve tried different shoes, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Some shoes cause more pain than others, but they call cause pain. I have to be able to stop and rest or I feel like I physically cannot go on.
At the end of the day I’m pretty damn worn out and exhausted. Getting into bed to sleep doesn’t really bring relief though. I’m naturally a right-side sleeper. However, putting pressure on my hip like that causes numbness and pain in my right leg. Being on my left side causes a different kind of pain in my right foot, more shocking. If I want to stay on my back, I have to elevate my legs or there is an incredible amount of pain in my back. Even when my legs are up the pain lingers.
Think about the last time you had irritating pain. Now, think about how that would feel to have all day, every day. My tolerance level and patience level with obnoxiousness, idiocy, inanity, laziness, passive-aggressiveness, and anything other irritating thing is significantly reduced when the ongoing pain level is anything above a 4 out of 10. I don’t think anyone would really accuse me of having a high level of patience for that shit anyway, but it’s compounded when the pain is getting to me. I’m willing to be that most people wouldn’t be so patient with that shit either.
But, that’s my life. I’m planning on a surgery to see if I can start walking like I used to. It has a pretty high level of success, but my neurosurgeon felt pretty good about the lumbar fusion before he did it too, so who knows. I’m hoping it’ll deal with the pain too, but since my nerves appear to be jacked up, who knows if it will.
Anyway, I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m short on patience. Be nice (or avoid me if you think you can’t be nice). The other thing I’d ask you to think about is the fact that while I’m open about this, not everyone who suffers from chronic pain is able to be so open. Be nice to everyone, all the time, since you never know who we are.