The Problem of (My) Pain

The Problem of (My) Pain October 24, 2019


Still in a bit of a crisis with my gimpy leg, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write tonight or in the near future. Sitting isn’t helpful. Standing is excruciating after sitting. And I can’t seem to manage walking and typing simultaneously. In my defense, walking and chewing gum are still doable, even with the pain and gimp.

Since I’m in so much pain and it’s difficult to think about anything else, let’s discuss that. I’ve never read C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, but probably should. Perhaps then I could deal with it more effectively. I’ve had much pain throughout my lifespan, both emotional and physical. When I was in the second grade, my teacher invented an award for me called The Long-Suffering Award, just because I was so good at it (twisted, I know). I’ve always resented her for it, because it seemed to set a precedent for my entire life. I mean, maybe by giving me the award, she, in effect, suggested to The Potter that He use me for that which I seemed to be suited, and He took her up on it.

Clearly, I’ve had too much down time. And maybe Motrin.

I may be good at suffering. But what I’m not good at is being my own health advocate whilst intense suffering. I felt I was getting much better at it before this pain and gimpy-ness started, but now, I’m struggling to fight, to advocate, to even appear to be in pain. I have been since June. And I’ve asked for an x-ray twice, a CAT scan once, but all were denied.

Then today happened.

I got fed up and finally went to see a spine doctor, and within thirty seconds of questions and observation, I was told to drop my drawers, put on some poofy, flimsy shorts, and get to the x-ray room.

Well, okay then.

Why was that so hard? 

I have my theories, and a deep part of me wants to curse Obama and his so called care. Nothing’s been the same since it was implemented, including my quality of care, and the amount of hard earned money I have to pay for care. In short, our insurance sucks and is outrageous in price. Add to that the fact that, in the last four months, I’ve mostly not been taken very serious about my pain.

I fully admit that yours truly could be part of the issue. I’ve been too fatigued, brain fogged, and (did I mention in pain?) to form very good sentences. I struggle to find the right words a lot. My blood pressure is up every time I go in, due to pain. The result is that I revert into myself. I block people out because I can’t deal with what’s going on inside and outside.

I was guilty of this during all three of my children’s births, too. While the moms down the hall were screaming at the top of their lungs, I was quietly rocking back and forth, closing my eyes, crying, breathing, and, in effect, shoving everyone away unless they had ice chips to offer.

They wouldn’t understand my pain, anyway … 

It took infinitely more energy to try and communicate during contractions. And besides, I was going to have that baby without meds, even if it killed me. Didn’t want drugs. Just wanted a baby! And to go deeper into an explanation that I know you’re just dying to hear … when in pain, I have to concentrate, or it only worsens. Beyond this, I was raised that there was to be no whining. Beyond that, I am naturally introverted, and have felt misunderstood most of my life.

I suppose all that adds up to not expressing myself too well in person. In writing, I can whine with the best, and yes I would like some cheese with that.

I talk to God a lot. Because He’s the one who, even if I don’t say one audible word, gets it. I don’t even have to form the words in order to cry out to Him, and He simply knows. He’s suffered it all before, and much, much worse. He has borne my grief, carried my sorrows, and knows my heart and mind better than I know it myself. So when I live in such a way, and all of a sudden, I’m in a doctor’s office facing a clinical someone I’ve never seen before and I’m required to pour out my grief? Well … it doesn’t typically go so well. I’m not very punchy. Just matter of fact. Calm. And eager to be done with the encounter so I can suffer in silence.

My husband alerted me to the fact that I hide pain so well that my own mother (who lives with us) can’t even tell when it’s at its worst. To which I wonder … what is one required to do? Be dramatic? It’s just not in me to do a bunch of wincing, crying, heavy breathing … whatever it is that more open people do when they’re in pain. I literally do not know how to communicate that what I’m experiencing requires immediate attention. The way I see it, is that if I say something hurts, believe me. If I say I can’t stand without excruciating pain on one side, believe me (I’m not in this Karate Kid  stance for no reason). Do you think I like to spend money at the docs office? Do you think I like radiation exposure, contrast dye risks, and time (so much time!) taken from other things I’d like to be doing … should be doing?

Maybe there are hypochondriacs or drug seekers and addicts out there, but I am not one of them. And to assume I am before you even get to know me is insulting, and frankly, causes me to revert deeper and deeper into my shell, because I do not have the oomph to DEAL.

Having said that, if I can improve on my end (no pun intended), I want to, as long as it doesn’t include drama. In what ways can I communicate that my butt feels like my son who is a baseball pitcher just threw a 90 mph strike right into it? In what ways can I communicate that my bones feel like they’re separating every time I stand, and pinching a nerve for added excitement? In what ways can I communicate that Motrin gives me intense heartburn and debilitating brain fog? That gabapentin, while helping me sleep and curbing nerve pain, give me worse heartburn and brain fog (for 2 days!) than Motrin? That nothing curbs violent muscle spasms in the night? Also, how can I communicate that if I could just have some IV meds to bypass my entire intestinal tract that is paralyzed and afflicted with an autoimmune disease, I would be ohhhh, so grateful? Does that make me a druggie? If so, then perhaps the definition of druggie needs reforming.

I don’t ask for IV drugs, mind you. For I know what the answer is in advance: No. You must take what ails you further. 

Anyway. My back and butt and leg are screaming for me to take up my chair and walk, even though it’s going to feel like the pitcher son just threw a strike (I know what that feels like, by the way, because I took on in the stomach once!), so I’m signing out. I’m sorry for being all over the place emotionally. For likely not making a lick of sense. For not talking about the John MacArthur and Beth Moore drama instead. Or the seven year old boy whose mother wants to chemically castrate him so she can have her girl. I’m self-absorbed tonight. Introverted from pain. Tired of illness. Weary of the battle. Eager for my new body promised to me in Heaven.

Also, grouchy.

The good news is that via the x-ray taken today, I think we’ve pinpointed the issue, but as I said, a CAT scan IS required for further information. Imagine that. An x-ray and a CAT scan needed …. just as the patient suggested.


Those of you who read this via Facebook, please offer your suggestions on how I can better communicate severe pain. I’m being honest when I say I simply grin and bear it, and I do not claim it’s an admirable trait. I know I need to quit it and loosen up. But I don’t know how. If you do, be a pal and a friend. Clue me in.


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