Monday, January 16, 2012

An End to Pain

Nine more days. The countdown has begun. After six months of testing and diagnostics and, off and on, 10 years of treatment, it is very likely the pain will go away, at least for a time, in nine more days.

Living in chronic pain is no easy task. I should know--a fall down a staircase when I was 10 inducted me into this special club. After 21 years of living with chronic low back pain (and developing quite the tolerance for the stuff), the prospect of living a back-pain-free life makes me almost delirious.

In deference to my pain, I have had to make lifestyle choices that some have called "unhealthy." I have lived a very sedentary lifestyle in order to avoid more pain than is absolutely necessary. But I don't enjoy my life as it is right now.

I want to be able to roughhouse with my 5-year-old and not pay for it for the rest of the day. I want to dance with him to his cartoons' goofy credits songs. I want to be able to do things with my family. I want to be able to go on road trips and camp and hike and garden in the back yard without pain. In this culture of childhood obesity, and my family history of diabetes, I desperately don't want my son to pick up my sedentary lifestyle. I want to have a body that will let me exercise every day so I can lose weight and feel even better. I want to be able to clean the entire house in one day, rather than in stages over weeks. I don't want to have to ask my husband, when he gets home from a long day of work, if he could do the dishes for me because I wasn't able to get to it. I want to be able to go all day long without having to rest my back for a few hours. I don't want to get upset when my son crawls into bed with us at night because it causes even more pain the next day. I don't want to live on pain killers and muscle relaxers that simply knock me out. My son deserves a better mom and my husband deserves a better wife than that.

The writers of the show House have my utmost respect. They have done their research and recognize that those of us who live in chronic pain simply think differently. Hugh Laurie--who I have loved since he was "The Prince Regent" in Black Adder--does a superb job of capturing the desperation those of us who live with chronic pain feel.... we will do nearly anything in our power to just make the pain go away.

Fortunately, my pain should end--I have been told for anywhere from eight months to five years--without a Vicodin addiction and pushing away everyone around me.

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