Now, this is not an appointment to estimate how much of a pain I am to management, nor is it to quantify how much I bug Mr RR. No, this is to discuss how I’m getting on, whether I’m using the strategies they recommended, how I’m pacing myself and if I need any further help. This appointment was also to get a letter in support of an extended phased return from the Pain Management team to submit to HR and to Management.
It was very nearly a success, I was doing so well in being together, with it, self assured, a veritable ice queen, you get the gist until they mentioned writing to remind the powers that be that the pain is longterm and chronic, and that these difficulties such as standing, walking, sitting, bending, lifting, breathing, …with the latter I jest, will need flexible, long term solutions. I cried. Like a baby. Although this time I didn’t smudge my mascara, which is a lifetime first.
In all seriousness, they’re very pleased indeed with my progress, delighted even. I’ve taken the strategies that they suggested and turned them into a virtual toolbox of skills to see me through most situations – struggling with the pain while shopping – diaphramatic breathing, wanting to run over an unsuspecting passerby who has walked practically under the wheels of the mobility scooter, causing an emergency stop – muttered curses followed by a brief spell of meditation, throttling Mr RR because he hasn’t put the toilet seat down..well the latter is inexcusable, punishable only by death ;). They reminded me of my first appointment, when I spent the whole time in floods of tears, sobbing how the pain was unbearable and just didn’t stop. Of how, when they did the assessments, I was unable to stand for longer than a minute, frequently having to change position. Today I only had to shift position twice.
I was once more reminded that I’d come a very long way in a relatively short space of time. I started to implement their strategies mid-November and now, a mere 4 months later, they’re yielding significant returns. I have a tendency, which I exhibited today, of brushing praise aside and to remind people that a change in medication has largely helped, which is true but I was reminded today that it was hard work which had gotten me to this point, that many people who undertake a Pain Management course, expect a magic wand to be waved, their pain lifted so that they can toddle off back to their “normal” life. Apparently it’s common for those to attend the course and do little about it, a case in point being a fellow Pain Management attendee who I saw a couple of weeks ago. She was still in the same position that she had been at the beginning of the course, not having reread the materials after completing it, nor having practised the strategies taught. I looked at her, still on the hunt for a cure, a tablet which would magic away her symptoms and leave her free to carry on as before. Unfortunately for many pain sufferers, there is no quick cure. There is no tablet which can take away all of the pain without bringing significant side effects.As a recent consultant said to me “I can take away all of your pain, I can anaesthetise you for the rest of your life and you won’t feel any more pain, although you won’t have a life either.” He’s right, there has to be a balance.
In addition, the Pain Management team commented on my plans to return to work full time, reminding me that there has to be a work-life balance and that if I struggle to get through the week, only to collapse in agony at the weekend, then that’s not much of a life either. That it’s not just a work-life balance for me any more, it’s a work-life-pain balance and that considering part time working wouldn’t make me a failure. Wise words and a timely reminder not to push myself too hard, that I’m still in a rehabilitation process and that I must be aware of my limitations and act accordingly.
This has also been the day for my psychologist appointment. Double whammy in this house today 🙂 This was a complete success, I didn’t cry once! As I told Mr RR a number of months ago, when I get through a psychologist session without weeping, then it’s a sign that the Depression is easing. And it is, easing I mean. Life feels worthwhile again, like I have a function and a purpose, like I’m not just destined to watch repeat episodes of Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women /shudder ad infinitum. The fog has begun to lift and of that I am extremely grateful.