Sunday, December 18, 2011

BEYOND A SIMPLE OUCH!

After reading about Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide in 2005, I started wondering how many people who suffer from chronic pain eventually decide to end their life. I have to admit my views on that subject matter scare me, but nonetheless I revisit them quite often. For some people, acknowledging pain is a sign of weakness and talking about pain may be perceived by some as participating in pity party or as a grand stand ploy to elicit sympathy from people. In reality, talking about it helps the chronic pain sufferer stay connected to other people and the world around them, but sometimes there is a very fine line between staying connected and dwelling on the pain which amplifies it tenfold. I tend to think this is why so many chronic pain sufferers gravitate towards becoming hermits.

Anyone suffering from chronic physical pain goes through arduous periods of adjustment as their pain becomes more intense at times. We each have our own ways of coping and at times, those coping mechanisms may be pushed past their limits. What many people fail to understand is that pain and the ailments/conditions that cause the pain have a very debilitating effect on both the mind and body. The chronic pain sufferer is forced into accepting unwanted limitations and what's often thought of as restrictions brought on by the normal aging process are actually things expedited and amplified by chronic pain.

10 important things I've learned about chronic pain in the past 10 years:

1. Chronic pain is unlike acute pain which comes on suddenly as a warning signal that something has gone wrong inside the body and goes away when the cause is treated.
2. Chronic pain is caused by long-term conditions like arthritis or progressive illnesses like cancer.
3. Chronic pain can last for months or it may last an entire lifetime.
4. Chronic pain takes a psychological as well as a physical toll on a person. It can lead to anxiety, anger and insomnia.
5. Chronic pain sufferers may find it difficult or impossible to work and hard to do the things they once enjoyed.
6. Chronic pain can change a person’s relationships with family and friends and alter their own self-image and diminish their self-worth.
7. A person experiencing chronic pain becomes easily depressed, withdrawn, and exhausted.
8. No diagnostic tests can convey to your doctor what you are feeling. Even when pain is intense, many people struggle to the find words to accurately describe it.
9. Chronic pain is treatable, but it never completely goes away.
10.Chronic pain changes every aspect of a person's life.

11 comments:

  1. In reality, talking about it helps the chronic pain sufferer stay connected to other people and the world around them, but sometimes there is a very fine line between staying connected....

    Every person also has differing "pain tolerance levels", be it chronic or non-chronic pain, which are often overlooked when planning/giving treatment. This often leads to "the ultimate self medication"; plainly said - suicide.

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  2. Dan: I honestly don't remember what being absent from pain feels like. I feel like I exist in an well insulated cave away from everything most of the time. I shut out the exterior noise and dwell strictly within. Somedays dealing with anything is just too much so I simply don't deal with anything when I feel that way. I never looked at suicide as being "the ultimate self medication", but I guess it is. Hopefully, I never reach that point because I know how much pain it would cause the people who love me, but I can say I truly understand why some people take that route.

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  3. I'll let you borrow my gun just because I think the world would be a better place without you in it.

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  4. That freaking coward is back and doesn't have the balls to show his face(not that we want to see the ugly f**k). How DARE he say such a horrible thing.....pay him no mind Mildred...my world, as well as many others, is a much better place with you in it! Love you girl!!

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  5. I continually study pain, and pain management. Of all the different aspects of illness, it is pain that is the most mistreated, worse approached, and in most need of a paradigm shift. Not only from Medicine, but with people and their expectations of pain. What a mess it all is.
    It is made worse that getting proper pain care is thwarted by those who have abused the system, making true sufferers look like crocks, unable to the the help they need.

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  6. I sent you an email yesterday wishing you well. Chronic pain can take the joy out of life. My mom suffers from arthritis and when she is having a flare she often speaks about dying and being ready for death. I never think of the person speaking about their chronic pain as having a pity party, but it certainly does make me feel helpless.

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  7. MILDRED NEEDS SOME SELF MEDICATION. COME ON, MILDRED DON'T BE A COWARD. SWING FROM THE RAFTERS. SUCK A TAILPIPE. SPLATTER YOURSELF ACROSS THE NEAREST WALL.

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  8. Who's the anon. asshole? I've got a lovely 7.62mm messenger which can convey my feelings if the pr*ck will have the guts to come out into the open.

    I'm sorry Mildred for your pain.
    My beloved goes through each day with constant pain (3 collapsed discs) so I can sypathasise, but not completely understand your anguish. Pain is so internal that it's difficult to really empathise.

    Mind you, any pain I've had, I instantly reach for the strong medication+whisky. Don't be afraid of using analgesics, that's what they're there for.

    The Grim Reaper is so bloody caring it makes me feel sick.

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  9. Anonymous: Only if you come with me!

    Linda: When have you ever known me to listen to anything? Anonymous needs to step up his/her game. I'm pretty bored with being called a coward, yet they don't have the balls to leave their own name. How juvenile is that?

    Ur-spo: I couldn't agree with you more. Unlike a typical disease that will manifest itself the same in everyone, pain is so individulaized that it makes it difficult to treat effectively.

    Nathan: I got your email and will respond today. I never gave much thought to pain in my younger years and never understood what my mother went through with her neck and back until I was there myself. Somehow we've swapped places and I'm okay with the fact, she no longer hurts.

    GRIM REAPER: HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! I HAVE NO RAFTERS, MY GARAGE IS NOT AIRTIGHT AND SPLATTERING ONESELF ANYWHERE IS A RUDE WAY TO GO BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS TO CLEAN UP THE MESS. I TRUST YOU'LL COME UP WITH PLAN B WHICH MIGHT BE MORE TO MY LIKING! P.S. WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THE CAPS? ARE YOU AFRAID PEOPLE WON'T READ WHAT YOU WRITE?

    TSB: I'm sorry to hear about your wife and you're a good man for standing by her through this. I've tried pain meds in the past and I have such a high tolerance to them that their effectiveness is minimal. I couldn't see continuing to take something that wasn't getting the job done, so almost 3 years ago I stopped taking them. I figured 6 years of Percocet10's and Oxycontin was enough insanity for me.

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  10. What is it with the stalking? This person reminds me of a character Jock and I "knew" on MSN Spaces. I can remember his name that's how important he was much like this character, both a waste of space.

    Mildred I am sorry you are in so much pain. My mother has lived in constant pain since she was 35 and that has been some 30 years ago. I myself can't deal well with pain, it turns me into a very whiny hateful bitch. You on the other hand always seem to keep that beautiful personality glowing.

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  11. Vital: Yes, Jock and I had the same discussion about the stalker. PP definitely was a trip on MSN Spaces...I often wondered what satisfaction he got out of being such a cruel person.

    Thank you so much for your kind words...I don't feel very glowing lately, but I certainly do try to remain hopeful.

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