The name of my blog is a misnomer, it would seem these days (although the randomness still stands!) As I started the blog, medical advice was that it was “merely” a case of convincing my body that I wasn’t in as much pain as I was and I could return to “normal”. These days it’s been made clear to me that, unless a miracle type drug comes along, this is pretty much as good as it gets.
As I was reflecting on that earlier, it reminded me that this time last year, I was in the process of completing a Pain Management course, the consultant had told me it was definitely nerve damage and, had I not been a type A personality, I wouldn’t be in chronic pain. That appointment was on Christmas Eve, not one of my best Christmas presents, I must say.
I was so angry, so angry with the hand that life had dealt me, fuming with the unfairness of it all, that I, who had tried to do my best by people, could be subject to a chance accident which would leave scars for the rest of my life. It seemed so dreadfully unjust, while at the same time, I felt so very conflicted. I didn’t want to accept what was wrong with me, didn’t want to accept that I wouldn’t get “better” or return to normal, or whatever passed for normal in this house anyway! I constantly compared my life both pre and post accident, wondering whether I’d ever be able to live life the way I had before. I couldn’t physically cope with the pain and just couldn’t convince the professionals that I saw, that actually it was as bad as I was saying it was, and that I needed their help.
I felt that, just as life had started to improve for Mr RR and I, the rug had been pulled out from underneath our feet. I was off work, angry, frustrated, so conflicted by comments such as “you just need to push through it”, “it’s all in your head” and other gems. I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel and felt that my life had faded to grey, most days I felt that I didn’t want to go on, I couldn’t cope with another day filled with that much pain.
Then, I started the Pain Management course. I couldn’t believe that here were other people in exactly the same situation. Pain, it would seem, didn’t discriminate between different social standings, age or sex. I strongly feel that it was through this course that I started to see a way out.
So, I fast forward now to this year, as I approach my /wince 30th birthday. I am back at work, albeit with a huge amount of adjustments, my condition is being managed better by drugs, and although the pain is still excruciating, I feel now I can live with it, I ‘m no longer consumed by anger or by frustration. I’ve moved from denial to acceptance. I have accepted that I am now disabled, and it’s a word I can use now to describe myself without bursting into floods of tears of anger or sadness. The pain has also, oddly become a part of me, I no longer resent its presence and rail against it, I’ve learned to live with it and to manage it and these days it’s normal.
I can’t stress actually how much that word means to me, it’s normal. I think it’s only in the past 1-2 months that I have stopped comparing what I could do pre accident with what I can now do post accident. Instead of bemoaning the fact that I need to use a wheelchair whenever we go out, or that I might need a mobility scooter, I am just grateful as the wheelchair allows me to go out. Instead of getting upset that I need to be in bed for 7pm Monday-Friday and then sleep all weekend, I’ve started planning little treats into my weekend instead – lunch at a little cafe down the road on a Saturday if I’m well enough, the purchase of a good book to read while I’m housebound, allowing myself to take that afternoon nap instead of hating that I need one, relishing that if we buy pre cut and washed ingredients, that sometimes I can help Mr RR prepare a stew in the slow cooker.
It’s the smaller things which have become so important to me, before it was thinking of weekends away, and long holidays abroad, nowadays it’s looking forwards to a better day which will allow a trip to the cinema, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.All excursions have to be planned with military decision but now I know which cinemas will accomodate my wheelchair, which Shopmobility centres need scooters booking a year in advance, where we can go for a mooch during holidays without me running someone over.
As I approach my 30th birthday (in 9 days – eek!) I feel that a new chapter of my life is beginning and actually, I’m quite looking forward to it.