Pain. Everyone endures it. We all feel it. At times, more than other times. But this post is about chronic pain. Daily pain. And the way life is different when that's your experience.
I've had daily pain since age 2. So, for about 50 years, I've felt physical pain every day. Most days, the pain is significant throughout the day. I'm not going to guess how many times I feel physical pain in the course of a normal day, because the number would shock you, and me. Let's just say that 5 minutes probably doesn't go by without feeling pain somewhere in my body.
It has often been said about me that I probably have a higher tolerance for pain than most people. That's probably true. Additionally, I have learned to block most of it from conscious recognition. I have, simply put, learned how to live with it.
When you grow up with, and continue to experience, something so constant, it becomes an intimate part of who you are. The line between pain and pain-free blurs. It is always there, hitchhiking a ride to every fun social event, every chore, every work day. You learn to ignore it's pleas for attention, but in the background, the continual nagging takes a toll.
In the last several years, I have become more frustrated by the pain. I think the pain is increasing, in location, in intensity, and intervals. But more than that, I think I'm growing very tired of it.
For some reason, after relaxing on the couch in the evening, when I stand up to go to bed, I have intense pain in my left foot. Between the ankle and the toes. Somewhere in the middle, directly above the arch of my foot. It's so painful and so intense that I can't put any weight on it. I have to stand there for a few minutes and try to figure out how to make it subside. Eventually, I do. But it's frustrating. Oh yeah, and it hurts like hell.
Many years ago, I received a pair of special crutches. Instead of placing weight on my wrists and armpits, there is a support that runs underneath my forearms. They are a great solution for someone who's wrists cannot support their body weight. I store them under my bed, just in case I wake up in the morning and can't walk. Fortunately, I've almost never had to utilize them, but it's something that most people wouldn't even think about.
Recently, I had an epiphany. I've become frustrated that I don't have energy to maintain my household like before. Am I getting lazy? Not getting enough rest? The epiphany was that it takes energy to function through pain. Working 40 hours per week, through pain, zaps almost all of my energy. As a result, my apartment stays messy. Just preparing healthy food and washing dishes as needed is about all I can manage.
There's no energy available for vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the floors and bathroom, for laundry, organizing, Fortunately, I have a girlfriend who is happy to help. But she lives 45 minutes away and has her own life/schedule. When she does come over, she is often a huge help.
I wish I understood better the mechanism whereby pushing through pain uses up energy. It seems like those are two unrelated things, pain and energy, but lately I've realized a very real connection. In reflecting on this, I think that means that my pain levels have increased over the last several years.
Like most things, a gradual change in my pain level goes unnoticed. I don't think I was aware of the increase, but now in retrospect, I'm sure that must be the reason that my energy levels are depleted and my frustration has increased.
OK. This is about all I have on the topic at this moment. No doubt that pain will appear in future posts as it's always there. Lurking. Nagging. Vying for attention.