18.02.2012

Hey Guys…Just thought I’d share my own experience of chronic pain…I hope this is helpful.

Soon after my accident, the only thing I can recall is the immense pain I was in – absolutely horrible. People at the time used to tell me that feeling pain was a good thing…as it meant that with time the body would heal. A good thing? Wow it was a high price to pay in order to get better… unfortunately this never materialised fully.

When I was in intensive care I remember having to take morphine frequently in order to numb the pain. After a while they then began reducing the dosage of morphine they were administering me, as they advised me that my heart could not handle the high doses. This was really difficult to adjust to. They began by reducing the dose to every 4 in 4 hours – I would spend 2 hours sleeping and the other 2 screaming in agony. However the worst was yet to come – when they reduced the dose to every 6 in 6 hours. By then, I would stay up most of the time as my body was beginning to adjust but on the down side it left me with a lot of pain. I guess the problem was, not knowing whether you were going to get better or whether this was something you would have to deal with for the rest of your life.

During the first year not only did I have immense pain in my left leg but I my leg was extremely sensitive –  I couldn’t even bare the weight of a bed sheet on my leg. The pain felt in my right leg was constant – I had tried various medications but nothing seemed to be helping. I used stress balls to help me alleviate some of the pain. After about a year in one of Brazil’s most sophisticated rehabilitation centres, the doctors informed me of a new drug which could possibly help. I went along to the trials and was happy to find that the medicine worked really well. The pain didn’t go away completely but it was controlled to a manageable level. I could now try to have a normal life.

People often think that being in a wheelchair brings with it a bucket load of problems! Ha, they couldn’t be more wrong! The wheelchair has been my salvation! It helps us get around – its effectively our legs, it gives me freedom (although not completely) seeing as many places still do not have the right accessibility for us. Living with a wheelchair is definitely not a problem; the problem is living with the pain.

I always laugh when they say that pain is like a ghost, present but we never see it! Well I am a living testimony – pain is very much present!

Any changes to medication need to be done in a controlled environment and needs to be done gradually – reduced/increased in appropriate dosages. Sometimes new medications don’t work as well as we had hoped! There was an incident where I took a new medication, which left me in a deep sleep for 3 days! Remember, each medication works differently on different people. For some it might make them sleepy and for others may keep them awake. I speak for myself, but I guess when you’re having what I call a ‘crisis’ of pain – nothing helps, you somehow have to fight it off and maintain strong. As you begin getting used to your own pain, your body acts as your own personal alarm to alert you of any irregularities.

Medication helps to alleviate pain, but we still do not have a definitive solution. Tiredness is something that affects daily life, than perhaps living with pain. A nights sleep is never the same or for some non-existent. After a week of constant fatigue, you become irritable, your body is stressed.  Sometimes I cry for the silliest of things and become touchy. Having to take some medicine first thing in the morning is something that leaves me extremely exhausted. You wake up with a buzz and then you’re brought back down to almost a stand still. Coffee is something that I use as a coping mechanism. I don’t drink it in high quantities; I’d like to think that I drink it in just about the right quantity! One thing is for sure; It definitely helps me stay alert.

Different people deal with pain differently – that is to be expected we are not all the same. I have friends who have a morphine inhaler in their body – everyone tries to deal with pain, in the best way they know how. I’ve found the best way to deal with pain, is to keep busy. Exercise has also helped me a lot! Of course it doesn’t eradicate pain 100% but trying to forget about it helps you to live a better quality of life – well that is what we are all striving for!!!

Hugs and Kisses 🙂

Sam x

Chronic pain – my experience

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One thought on “Chronic pain – my experience

  • February 19, 2012 at 11:14 am
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    Sam, I can´t imagine how difficult this kind of pain must be for you. Although I can sympathize with some of your feelings and just wish you the best, and that you keep finding your ways to minimize your pain the most. Cheers.

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