Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pain - the Physical Kind

Kelly said something the other day about how I never really talk about it. I am a chronic pain sufferer. On September 25, 1995, my brother and I were driving to school one morning in a tiny car. A large truck slammed into us from behind - he didn't see us and hit us full force. I wasn't wearing my seat belt. The car was totaled and I spent a few hours in the hospital. The result (I didn't know the full impact for years) was disc and nerve damage. Sometimes the pain is severe (yesterday I wanted to scream), sometimes it sends tingling fire shooting up and down my back and both arms, sometimes I can't sleep because laying down is too painful, but mostly it feels like I smacked my funny bone (unless you touch it, that brings on the fire). It hurts from the side of my face along my jaw, down my back and right arm, around my right shoulder blade, all the way to my pinky. Sometimes I get a little tingly spot on my inner thigh, too. It hurts every minute of every day. But it happened so long ago that it's mostly just something I deal with and don't talk about. This picture is from Friday:

Friday I thought I was going to puke, the pain was so bad. No, I don't see doctors. I don't have health care. No, I don't take anything for it. Prescriptions require health care. No, I don't talk about it - unless you try to touch me (people rarely do, I don't leave my house much). It causes problems when: I try to open things with lids (water bottles, peanut butter, things like that), when people pretend they're going to hold open a door but they let go when you get close to it, when the weather is hot, when I'm driving. I always turn the vibrate off on my video game controllers, I always carry everything in my left hand or on my left arm, I can reach three keys farther with my left hand on the piano.

I rarely wear the brace (I'm supposed to always wear it), because I don't like to answer questions about it and most people blurt out things like "You look like you're going bowling!" instead of something like "Does that hurt?" or "Are you OK?" or "Hey, tell me about that." That belittles my injury and my pain. Then they might ask what happened - as if I want to talk about it then.

So. That's my chronic pain story.

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