A PAIN IN THE BACKSIDE……

Here I am, two days late at doing my Blog due to a severe pain in my coccyx !  And where is that you may ask ?  Well, its down at the base of my spine and liberally sprinkled with arthritis of some form or other.  On the whole it remains quiet and dormant, but about a week ago it decided to say “hello, I’m still here” – just in case I had forgotten it and slip a disc just a teensy bit to one side.
There is nothing quite like the pain of a slipped disc – it puts all your aches and pains into the shade and what’s worse is knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
The moment I felt it, off I went to my GP and got some super new medicine for sudden severe pain which I was to take twice a day for 10 days and it seemed to work.  ‘Seemed’ being the operative word, because the moment I completed the course, back it came again shouting “Here I am, Fooled You” !! And, of course, my GP is now lying on a beach in the Canaries till 6th March.
I’m OK apart from sitting down and standing up when It feels like someone puts a knife in my back and then wires it to the mains supply and you don’t know whether to go on getting up or collapsing from whence you came.
So I retired to bed with my hot pack in place and decided to stay absolutely still.  This worked fine until I needed to go to the loo which involved getting up off the bed, sitting down, standing up and then going back to bed again – moves which were accompanied by loud shouts of pain as I find that sometimes giving vent to the pain actually helps me ! (A bit like yelling when you have a baby !)  Not my husband however, who came running each time I shouted to see what fresh disaster had happened and then when I actually needed help having knocked my glass of water all over myself, failed to show up as I had cried wolf just that once too often !!
That was two nights ago and I ended up repeatedly throwing up all over Pat who held a bowl in front of me as I couldn’t bend down to be sick in the loo !  That guy deserves a very large and shiny medal.  I know we said ‘in sickness and in health’ all those years ago, but he really is my rock and takes all my RA in his stride.
So last night I actually slept almost through and today the really sharp pain is gone.
My coccyx is still muttering and grumbling, but I am up and walking around again – very carefully so as not to wake the sleeping monster and with any luck I’ll be back to my Sunday Blog as usual.images-1.jpeg

COPING WITH PAIN AND STRESS

Having been blogging now for a few months and reading all of your blogs out there, I am surprised at how many tell their own particular journey through Chronic Pain. Very few of them offer a way to cope. After all, if you have chronic pain like I do with my RA, then you have it and it isn’t going to go away. You are stuck with it ! So I thought I would devote this blog to what I have learned over the 16 years of my RA and pass my ideas over to you.

The first thing I would offer is LAUGHTER. A good giggle with a girlfriend, an amusing film, a funny thought that brings a smile. You will find that taking your mind off the pain eases it – even if it’s only for a short time.

The second thing is to GET UP and do something positive. Be it a swim (our nearest pool is over 40km away, so no good for me) or a walk outside, preferably in the countryside. Breathe in deeply {- I do this often as I am constantly out of breath !) and look around you at all of Nature’s beauties whilst trying not to trip up ! I put on neoprene mittens and use these to grip a walking pole in each hand. These have the advantage of keeping your stance upright and allowing you to look around instead of looking at your feet ! Whilst my two feet were being operated on and I couldn’t walk for over 2 years, I had the use of a Quingo (see a previous blog of mine) which allowed me to go outside and walk or even run the dogs. What a fantastic feeling that was after being shut inside the house for so long ! Even a rainy day looked marvellous and made me forget my aches and pains!

Knowing that I faced immobility with my impending foot operations, I searched around for some hobby I could do and came up with PAINTING. I had painted 55 years ago at school, but not since then. I made enquiries and found out that a brilliant artist lived just about a mile from me and I asked her if she would teach me from scratch – and what fun we had (and still have) ! A whole morning experimenting with all kinds of mediums and before much time had passed we became, and still are, best friends. I just love the time spent painting – it takes me to whole other place in my mind, away from chronic pain – so much so that I forget all about it for a whole morning at a time. Here is one of my efforts…..

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On my May morning walk….. 2017

I spend most evenings WATCHING TELEVISION. Sitting in my chair with my feet up and enjoying whatever takes my fancy. My long suffering husband waits till I go to bed, which is usually quite early, and then puts on all his men-telly programmes !! Freeing your mind up from constantly thinking about the pain you are in, sets you free. If the pain is greater than the programme on telly, then I take to the shower or bath. I have a Bath Knight which lowers and lifts me up and down into the water in our upstairs bathroom as I think it would take the Fire Brigade to get me out of our other triangular Jacuzzi bath downstairs, though I still look at it longingly ! Last time I actually tried it, I couldn’t get out and poor Pat had to strip off and get in with me to lift me out ! We had a good laugh over that…..!

I try to stay UNSTRESSED over as much as I can. With me Stress brings on an immediate sort of mini Flare Up of my RA. I start to feel immense fatigue and full-on pain. For this I GO AND LIE DOWN, put the radio on to Radio 4 and try counting backwards from 100 – or 200 !! This is really hard to do and makes me concentrate on other things and I actually can get the mini flare-up to subside, just by counting backwards ! There are times when I have to take pain-killers, but I try to do without them as we can all do without the constipation that they bring along for the ride !

To sum up, over the years I have learned to control some of my chronic pain with my mind and finding other things to dwell on and it really works. We are stuck with the pain, so let’s make the best of it and certainly love life and all the marvellous things it offers. Experiment with new horizons and keep moving forward in whatever manner you can !