How Do You Talk To Your Loved Ones About Chronic Pain?

Since my previous story titled "Seeking Insight," I've been thinking about the nature of the pain experience after my surgery. When pain comes, it engulfs everything.  The nuance of pain takes on a life of its own.  When pain subsides, it enters the past tense, although it can and will come again.

I wonder if my mother's approach to her chronic pain came from an understanding of life as a series of disconnected moments, each moment being a perpetual "now."  When she was in pain, that pain was her world.  Each moment of pain was its own eternity.  When she was feeling better, she did not want to remember the agony.  In that hour or afternoon, she lived in a world where she was mobile and comfortable, an eternity of health.  

She could not plan ahead for how to deal with life when the pain would come again.  When she was in her perpetual agony, she could not remember that the pain could ebb. 

A popular philosophy encourages us to live in the present.  I don't think this kind of thinking was any help at all to my mother.
theremustbeawayout theremustbeawayout
1 Response Jan 9, 2013

<p>Yours is a very emotional story for me as in my family I am the single disabled dad raising 4 boys alone. I bet your are female or there was a caring sister in your family. I had neuropathy from birth and lived with it suffering silently however one year after mom left my foot was crushed in a car accident. My boys had some regard - I think - but their lives were full of activities and the demands of kids to play paint ball, go to parties, get rides to movies and I tried to make it all normal for them. </p><p>But you are observant about the episodic nature. Pain is like someone screaming in your ear and it takes away from everything. The meds unfortunately do the same thing.</p>

I think the fact that you could temper the lives of your kids with normality gave them a huge advantage. My mom would have liked to think we were the t.v. Crosby family, but the reality is that we were just neglected. Either that or the screaming. I sat around the house and had no reason to be alive other than tend to her needs. It was a veey cloistered existance. What you gave your boys sounds very, very different. You understood that kids have to grow and have their own lives. As a young kid i would go on my paper route then wake my mom up with her tea often choose her clothes and then get myself off to school. Really, who was the parent here?