Monday, 17 September 2012

Managing Acute & Chronic Pain is a Real Pain

As the children have been back at school for a couple weeks now, we're all settling back into routines.  I love my time with the children during the holidays but it is also nice to get some more time to myself during the term time.  I find I can pace myself through the day better because I can plan my day's activities that bit more. 

I don't enjoy the active morning starts though. 

I have to take strong painkillers to be able to put any weight on my left leg since my accident.  I walk with a crutch / crutches / use a wheelchair / scooter depending how my condition is on each day.  It's unpredictable, which can be frustrating.

So, when my hubby gets up early for work (5:30am) I take my first batch of tablets (tramadol, paracetamol & oral morphine).  I take lots more throughout the day but this morning combination works great if I can then have a couple more hours in bed to let the painkillers work before I get up and put my weight on the leg...  However, during term time that's usually just not possible.  The morning routine, no matter how I've tried to jiggle it around, means that I am up and on my legs before I'm properly pain relieved.  Then, I struggle to get on top of my pain until around 2pm later that day, when I'm about to get ready to collect the children and extra movement will result in more pain.... 

Over the holidays, the way I manage my pain works well because we can have 'slower' mornings.  We may be up early, but the main movements are limited.  It's been a shock to my system again this term- the impact that having a good pain management regime has and how change affects it.  I can't take any more drugs (trust me) but struggle with pain versus the need to do things to be happy.  A tricky combination when the more activity you do the more it hurts...

If I do something that's important to me or the family (like R's party) and then have extreme pain (resulting in me spending Sunday mainly in the bedroom) then I've learnt to accept that because the trade off for me was worth it.  But doing something that is so 'normal' like school drop off (even though I park right outside) has become a huge obstacle in my daily life. 

I don't want to moan, because I've come to terms with what has happened to me and value all the other elements in my life which might not otherwise have been.  But I do struggle emotionally with not being physically able to do tasks that most people don't have to think about.  I may be able to do them at a push (trust me I'm quite a determined character) but there will always be a price to pay in terms of pain and mobility at a later time-whether that's the day after or during that night.  There's an emotional element too - the need to be fully 'with it' so I can function as a mother as opposed to the level of pain experienced, which again impacts on mood, reactions to situations - actually impacts on everything.

It's not an easy thing to overcome and I know what the problems are for me, which I guess is progress from previous years. I did participate in a Pain Management programme at Frenchay Hospital and found it very interesting.  I have applied so many of these techniques (being kind to myself, saying no, medicine use etc) but there is no cure for the pain / disability I now face.  Yet, I want to be the best mother I can be and not simply say "Not now dear, mummy's legs hurt" because that'll only be the big stick I beat myself up with later on.

Hmmmm.  Overcoming the school run is definitely a tricky one for me.  Activity when not fully pain relieved is excrutiating.  But the children need to go to school!!  I can't take my meds any earlier because I have to space them throughout the day to last a 24 hour period which is already being pushed.

This post has become a discussion of the issue straight from my head...  I don't have the answers but I know I'm not the only disabled mum that struggles with pain / disability and all that that brings.  Sometimes it just helps to know that someone else is experimenting too... trying to find a way that works for our family.  So there we are.  That's what I'm trying to overcome at the moment!

My accident didn't just mean my legs don't work well anymore.  It means I'm always in pain.  It's only the level of that pain that changes.  But I'll keep trying.  I'll keep smiling and looking for simple things or moments that bring happiness - of which there are so many. 

It would be a horrible world without that.... 

J9 x


  1. Wow...I can't imagine what you are going through, trying to care for children while in that much pain. I wish you better days ahead.

  2. Oh Bless You. Yes it is hard at times and I do struggle with balancing physical v pain since my accident but we're blessed in many ways. I have lucky to have my children to keep me going!! A reason to get up each day and see the positive is what helped me through. But thank you for your kind wishes!! J9 x

  3. Sounds like you are one tough lady! You are doing an amazing job, staying positive, and making sure that your children have the best childhood possible. Keep going because in years ahead you'll be proud to look back and say " I did the very best that I could". Not everyone can say that.

    Best wishes,