Pain as a new normal
It doesn’t take long for pain to become your new normal. It doesn’t really get less, you just get used to it being there. I only have a temporary condition. For those of you unfamiliar with my previous post, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst about the size of a walnut (or the size of the ovary itself), and it could be growing. First off, this is far from a life threatening condition. I will eventually heal, whether it be on my own (it will dissolve or rupture) or with surgery. With that being said, it still hurts, bad. And it doesn’t just radiate from that area. My hips, back, shoulders and even right arm and hand (random) have joined the bandwagon. Why not? And then there are the headaches caused by the clenching teeth and increased hormones-part of the treatment.
So here’s the thing. When someone ask how I am, I want to respond fine. I managed to do dishes once last week and I have kept the tiny human alive. That speaks volumes to my physical aptitude.
Then there is the fact that I am going out in the first place. Well, why should I go out if I am in immense pain? I probably shouldn’t. Except that I am going insane and my kid is less of a fiery ball with roughly the same kinetic energy as the sun if I get out of the house. Our house makes that energy build until my son is literally bouncing off the walls. I thought that was meant to be hyperbole. I thought wrong.
But how am I doing? I still write. Granted, it is on a phone from the comfort of the couch or bed, but my faculties shouldn’t be intact if I was in true pain. Well, short of unconsciousness, I need a distraction and sleep isn’t going to be one. Discomfort equals less sleep. Yes, I am resting and restless. I am sure I am not the only one.
No, this is nothing in the scheme of things. It doesn’t make my achey, throbbing pain any less real, but it somehow downgrades its power.
For all of those that deal with this new normal, whether it be chronic fibromyalgia, cystic fibrosis, cancer or any other lasting painful condition. I salute you.
When I eventually put this temporary new normal in the rear view, I will not forget that not everyone has that opportunity.
God, I hear you.
I have compiled a list of how you (and I) can help people who are going through chronic pain.
- Food. There is a reason they call it comfort food. Not having to worry about each meal takes a burden off of the whole family.
- Prayers, well wishes, phone calls. Good vibes go a long way. Knowing that people care about you really helps.
- Interaction. Actually showing up. Talking is a powerful tool. It provides distraction and companionship that makes the aches seem more bearable.
- Housework. This one is tricky. It is hard to know how to go into someone’s house and just get started, and it is hard to accept help. With that being said, dishes and laundry are not a priority when life is difficult. However, it does really make the house feel more peaceful when things are tidy. Another case where it is one less thing to worry about.
- Drop off your favorite book or movie, or send a Netflix/Kindle credit. Things are so easy now. But a good recommendation for something to do while sedentary can really be helpful to bed and couch-bound individuals.
- Offer your driving services. People in painkillers or that cannot leave the house easily may still need to get out. Offer a ride or to run an errand. Something like picking up curbside groceries and putting them away can be a lifesaver. Not being stuck inside 24-7 can be too.
- Here are a few resources for small ways you can help with some of these chronic illnesses. I have linked to the get involved section from each page. Whether you use your time or energy, there are many ideas on these sites for how you can contribute.
Also, please include any painful chronic condition you are passionate about helping with in the comments. I will try to provide a link for any provided.
So, there are many ways you can help those dealing with a difficult situation. I am not suggesting you do all of these things at once, but a little goes a long way. What are some other ways you help those dealing with pain or illness?