Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pride

I'm not sure where I'll end up at the end of this post.

My recovery was coming along nicely.  There were plateaus and progress was slow and bending over was often an issue, let alone getting up from the ground once I got down there, but I never went backwards.  I was continually getting better.

It became part of my persona, the getting better.  You might have seen me with a cane one afternoon, but that looked awesome because last month you saw me with a walker.  Your joy in my accomplishments helped me smile when I was down, and reinforced my belief that I was, in fact, getting better.  I chose to believe you and it felt great.  It was what I wanted to believe.  It was also true.


I have no ostomies, no paralysis, no aphasia.  There are no foreign objects lodged too close to my spine to be removed.  I am well aware of the fact that things could be worse.

My limitations are emotional and neurological, in the sense that my numb thigh is a mass of re-connecting nerve endings. Those little suckers announce their re-emergence with authority.  The edge of the dead zone is retreating, and each new shift of the border reveals even more wonderful areas of agony.

Yes, denizens, I'm back to admitting that I have pain.  I spent the last 6 months or so being so grateful to be pain-free that I treated the term with reverence; I would not take its name in vain.

That was a foolish maneuver.  I allowed the pain to take ever larger bites of what I could do, all the while adhering to my mantra since January 8th - my only job is to heal.  Moving hurt so I stopped moving.  Then thinking about moving got the pain going and soon I was just crying on the couch.

TBG, never one to allow wallowing when advice can so easily change my mindset, began kindly but ended sternly - I had, in large measure, brought this on myself.  I'd taken don't do anything that hurts and given myself permission to avoid anything that might potentially hurt.  And rehab is supposed to hurt, anyway.  Everyone says so.  I've been saying so.  I've managed to work through the pain before now.....

Or have I?  That's where I am stuck right now.  Like the tree falling alone in the forest, if a pain is created but there are no nerves to relay the message to the brain is there really a pain at all?  Has my recovery been based upon a faulty assumption?  Have I been hurting and oblivious?

Yes, I have an appointment with the surgeon for Monday.  Yes, I'll continue with Pilates and acupuncture and physical therapy.  Yes, I'll follow TBG's modified weight lifting plan and practice squats under his supervision.  Perhaps it is just weakness.  Perhaps I can strengthen the surrounding musculature so that things will stay in place and grind and pinch a little less each day.

Going backwards is hard.  In markets and in healing, the losses are always more potent than the gains.  I was able to bear the physical pain because my head and my heart knew that it was temporary.  I knew that this repaired hip would last for a long long long time, because I was not having surgery any time soon.  I was fit going into this and I would be fit coming out of it.  That was my plan and I was sticking to it.

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But now I hurt enough to label it pain.  I have no answers and I'm not sure that I ever will.  I can have the hip replaced and be walking, pain free, by the end of the year.... or so I'm told.  But I've invested time and energy into this and what if it's really mind over matter?

I don't have to decide right now.  I know that.  But not having a clear plan in front of me is .... well..... terrible horrible no good very bad  pretty much sums it up for Alexander and for me.

Oh, say..... Thanks a bunch for listening.  I feel better all ready.

6 comments:

  1. Please don't look at this as a step backwards. Maybe you were so focused on recovering that you were ignoring the pain? Go to the surgeon and see what they have to say.

    I have a low threshold for pain, so I'm not really a good person to give advice on it. I do know that after having three C-sections, there was pain and I tried to ignore it, but it does catch up with you when you try to put it out of your mind. Acknowledge it and do what you have to do to not be in pain or to lessen it. If that means you take painkillers, then take them. Yes, there should be pain with physical therapy, but it should not be debilitating.

    I know a virtual hug will not lessen the pain, but hopefully it will let you know that there are those of us that understand.

    Hang in there.


    Megan xxx

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  2. Thanks, Megan..... I can feel the love <3
    a/b

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  3. You don't have to decide today, or even soon after you see the surgeon. Collect information and advice and take your time to ponder it. You are NOT going backwards--this is the strange-looking forward path which you have been given. There is no deadline and no expiration date for your next step forward. xoxo

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  4. Wow, those are tough issues. I hope you find answers that make your life better whatever the answers might be. The one thing I do believe is we cannot do things to please others or meet their needs. It has to be what is best for you and admitting to pain is not bad. It's reality. Even without having been shot,I have pain a lot whenever I think about it-- like now writing this. Maybe it's part of life with or without catastrophic events which obviously multiply it.

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  5. Oh, gosh, Ash (may I call you that?), I'm sorry. My own experience--which is similar in terms of the areas of pain, the chronic v. acute, and the dilemma of push/don't push, but not, of course, in the cause or exact mechanics--has been to back away from the most pain-producing activity for a bit and switch to different kinds of physical work, but that isn't much help to you. Still, it's what I can offer.

    For me, this has been a good five years of pain that restricts activity. The punishing nature of pain messes with our heads so...those pain perception areas of the brain being snuggled right up against centers for self-perception and for mood. The clear result of these years of effort and study on the subject have been the understanding that I can push hard and hurt or back off and hurt less. I have never yet found the just-enough amount of push that will sustain a state of mobility or freedom from pain. And I have tried. Boy, have I tried.

    When someone brings up "quality of life" to me on it, they might mean mobility and they might mean freedom from the worst of pain. I define it differently from month to month.

    I only feel confident to say this: Don't get yourself too wrapped around the (equally punishing) notion that pain is a head-trip. Everybody likes to push that these days, but it isn't really helpful. You're doing lots of mental and emotional work, lots of internal placebo and "nocebo" work. You're probably doing all that anyone can reasonably do in that department. When someone implies that you're not, they are doing you a huge disservice; you just wind up doubting yourself and blaming yourself for not being able to control pain.

    For a long time, I thought that physical therapy would get me pain-free if I worked hard enough at it. Instead, I learned that it would keep me both strong and in pain. That may not be the case for you, but it has been my experience. After believing for so long that the hard muscle work would fix my problem and, if it hadn't yet, I probably was being a wuss, I finally got it.

    I do what I can. I work to keep ROM and as much mobility and pain is I can stand without resorting to opiates or despair. I do not let anyone else be an expert in my experience or determine for me whether I have enough bravery, enough gumption, or enough "pain tolerance." I did let them, but I'm over it.

    I am thinking of you every day.

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  6. You might be experiencing some nerves that are coming back - they are painful - like little needles or knives stabbing you. It can take about 8 months for them to come back fully. It's good progress! Don't think of it as going backwards - Think of this as a Good Thing!...debbie

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