Saturday, 18 April 2015
The Importance of Understanding
This morning started well enough. Only very mild discomfort at first, and the occasional spike of pain - I can live with that!
I got up, showered, dressed - in actual clothes I could go out in rather than my "comfy clothes" that I have lived in for the last month - and prepared myself for a trip to a small supermarket.
Now none of this sounds like a big deal unless you know pain. I have not been out of the house for much more than to walk the dog for a month now. Going somewhere like a supermarket is a big deal for me simply because I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to explain why I look so awful, suddenly stopping and needing to be held up by my husband in the vegetable aisle is not something I want to repeat. All in all, going to the supermarket is a big deal for me.
Unfortunately, my hubby had made his own plans for the day and when he explained them, I immediately panicked - it felt like he was expecting even more from me than the challenge I had already set myself. So I said no. And then I had to explain why. And then I got upset.
The impact of chronic pain is very hard to explain to people who have never experienced it. The level of isolation and hopelessness that the sufferer feels is immeasurable. You lose the ability to function on a day to day basis because your illness is invisible. I am still smarting from the news that an ex-colleague of mine saw me a few weeks ago in the supermarket and told people that I looked miserable. What she didn't see was the fact that moments before, I had been stooped over, clinging to my husband, in the most excruciating agony I have ever felt.
You can't stand on a counter and yell out "I am in pain - not miserable - in pain!!!" - you just have to put one foot in front of the other, keep your head down and hope that you don't see anyone you know.
We aren't doing the things that my husband wants to do. He has apologised for putting me in a difficult position, and now I feel rubbish because the things he wanted aren't unreasonable they just feel so impossible for me to do when in pain.
It makes me feel very frustrated that I have to keep explaining how I feel - especially to him - but then I feel equal amounts of guilt because his life is on hold just as much as mine is until I can get this problem sorted.
I will go to the supermarket, maybe put on a little bit of makeup to cheer my face up slightly. Maybe even risk a pair of heels.
I look at pictures of myself taken a few years ago, and I wish so much that I was still the person I was then. Life wasn't a bowl of cherries but at least it wasn't all about pain. An invisible problem. An impossible situation. An uncertain future.