Yeah. . . I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I have things to say (ed note: if you have things to say, you belong here), so here I am.
First of all, I am not the one in pain, so if you are reading this and you are and you want to tell me to shut my big fat mouth, because I don’t know what the hell I am talking about, feel free. However, the two people most dear to me suffer from chronic pain, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.
Sure, I can provide comfort and try to make life a little easier, be sensitive, kind and gentle, remind my loved ones to take their medication (even though my husband’s on so much dope, it’s turned him into someone I don’t even know and I hate that). But beyond that, I feel helpless.
My husband was diagnosed with RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) in late 2004-2005 – 6 months after a “mundane” farm accident and three mother f-ing months too late for him to get the aggressive treatment he needed. He had a spinal cord stimulator put in that was supposed to “mask” the pain. Ha. The pain affects his right foot. He says it feels like someone poured gasoline on it and lit a match. Chronic depression has ensued; he was suicidal for awhile. AND THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO TO FIX IT!
Meanwhile, in 2008, our daughter began to have chronic headaches. Not just ordinary ones, but the kind with tons of pressure in the back of her had. She began to have dizziness, trouble with balance, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision. I thought it was PMS. (She’s thirteen now).
Really, PMS, dufus?
Yeah, well, turns out she has something called a Chiari Malformation with syrinx, which required surgery. . .on our baby. . . near her brain (duh, that’s why they call it neurosurgery). AND THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO ABOUT IT! Risks, yes. Would her headaches go away? Probably not, but she might be able to continue to have the correct use of her extremities and bladder if successful – a plus for an adolescent.
Now, in 2010, my husband is still in pain every day. He can’t walk. Our daughter wakes up with a headache every single day. I hate to see them in pain.
But, they are still with me. Our daughter has a relatively normal active life. Thankfully, the syrinx has significantly diminished – which is awesome and huge. We have each other. I know that I have so many things.
We live on a farm, so I’ve learned about taking care of livestock and how to charge a car battery and do a little work on a four-wheeler. I can cut wood to heat our home if necessary. I can shoot a gun. A country girl CAN survive, after all. I’ve learned I can be stronger physically and mentally than I’d ever thought. I’ve learned how to talk to doctors and ask questions, even if the answer might rip my spleen out. My heart has been broken so many times that I wonder if I even one left.
Most days I am thankful for the blessings we have.
Some days, like today, I’m angry as hell.
Oh hon, as a caretaker to a wonderful man who is in pain every minute of every day, IT SUCKS! You cannot fix it and you know it’s there and… there are days when you are overwhelmed with it all. Please know that you are not alone. Feel free to drop me a message anytime if you want to chat one on one about being the caretaker. We need support too! (Okay, so I have a lot of my own pain, but that’s another whole story.)
I cannot imagine the frustration of seeing the one you love suffer every single day. My husband takes care of me lovingly, willingly, with a smile on his face. He helps me through the pain and never, ever makes me feel a burden, or too much work, or lets me see the frustration that must be there – that he can’t make it just go away. I thank God every day for my husband, his patience, his love. I am sure your husband is just as grateful for you.
I really wish I could say that “I don’t understand this,” but that would be a lie – I live in chronic pain and so does my husband. It’s often a struggle to figure out who can actually take care of what each day.
Sighs. I’m sending you all of my love.