Archive for June, 2011

Humbled

My dear mother has been in town the past week taking care of me (i.e. making me food, bringing me water, cleaning my house) while I lay moaning on the couch. As I’ve been homebound for the last couple of weeks I have really missed seeing, well, anything other than my living room. With this in mind, Mom decided to take me with her to run some of my errands. Since we needed to go to Wal-Mart, we tried to figure out the logistics of what I would do since I can barely walk the distance from my couch to the bathroom. Would I wait in the car? No, too hot. Would I sit on the bench in the front of the store? Well, I really wanted to help pick out the things I needed. The solution? Mom would push me around in a wheelchair.

I never in my life imagined having to be in such a position. As a very independent I-can-do-it-myself-in-my-own-way kind of woman, having my mom here at all has been a test of my ability to depend on others. Now, my dependence was pushed even farther, in a very public way. It’s hard for me to put in to words how humbling the whole experience was. I gained a whole new perspective on what it is to be “handi-capable” and the challenges that disabled individuals face every single day. Something so small and trivial, like going to Wal-Mart, becomes a painful luxury. Traveling the store becomes a whole other challenge as it is a huge distance from one end to the other, and only half of the items are placed at a reachable distance from a wheelchair.

Despite the humbling nature of such a little outing, it was really quite nice to get out and see other things although I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of it. In fact, we went to Wal-Mart again today, wheelchair and all. 🙂

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Living with Chronic Pain or The View from My Sofa

There’s not much to see from here, but when I’m experiencing severe endometriosis pain, this is where my life takes place. I’ve been here the last couple days and I’m starting to get pretty familiar with my surroundings.

My world exists in concentric circles surrounding the sofa… In the first circle (the one closest to me) is everything I might need, immediately within reach: various pain meds and balms, tissues, my phone, water, pencil and paper (to chart how I feel and when I take medicine), a good book (collection of Sherlock Holmes stories at present), and the TV remote. The second circle contains items I can reach with minimal effort: the computer, the TV, and a book shelf full of books and movies. Everything in the third circle and beyond requires thought and a plan: the refrigerator/kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the laundry room. Do I really need to go to the bathroom yet? Can it wait? I really want a sandwich, but that means I have to get up to make it… Yep, I’m hungry enough.

This may all sound pretty dismal, but it’s really not that bad. Yes, it gets a little boring and I get tired of laying around, but it is what it is. I actually have a really nice view of my backyard and the sky from here. I love it when there’s bad weather going on because I like watching the clouds change and especially the rain. I can see the birds flitting around out there too which is pretty amusing. You get used to appreciating these little things.

When the pain subsides I jump up and go to the bathroom/kitchen/etc, or sometimes out to the garden to pull some weeds and see how my plants are growing. This is the highlight of my day.

I pet my cat and try to keep my area picked up.

It is what it is. Sometimes it’s frustrating (especially because I’m on a treatment that is supposed to be preventing pain). Mostly I’m OK though. There’s nothing I can do about it besides ride it out. So I spend a lot of time on facebook to feel like I’m connected to a social life. I read books. I order more books, some about dealing with chronic pain, some about far-off exciting places. I try to make myself look as pretty as I can, even in my stretchy pants and t-shirts.

I’m really thankful that I’m not in school or working right now and that I am so blessed to have a husband who can provide for us so I don’t have to. I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like to have to even think about working or studying in a state like this. I am so lucky.

I wonder if I’ll ever be able to fulfill my dream of being a nurse. Sometimes I feel pretty good and can be out and about, but a lot of times, I don’t. Will I be able to finish my degree? Help people like me to feel better? Maybe work in a mental health ward  or substance abuse center like I dream about? Can I physically do it? I sure hope so. But I know worrying about it doesn’t get me anywhere, so I’ll just keep dreaming.

I’ll keep lying here on the sofa, watching the clouds float by, and the flowers grow. I’ll keep trying to make the most out of these days and feel like I am still contributing to life and society. I will read, draw, study, and write. And I will pray.

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