By: Dr Alexa James
We experience hundreds, thousands and hundreds of tiny movements every day in our everyday lives. We probably don’t even think about most of that. We have natural instincts and reflexes. We have tasks and tasks every day. We’re working, we’re playing, we’re training. We are breathing in, we are exhaling. Even before we get out of bed we wake up in the morning and spend another day facing. In the night (or in the middle of the day, because we sleep wonderfully). We’re dreaming, we are rummaging, we are drooling. As a human being we tend to be very self-evident.
Some people face a much bigger challenge in these small, tiny tasks. People who have chronic pain face daily problems that can be seen as natural and second nature by other people. A simple act like sleeping can be torturous for someone with chronic pain. Sleeplessness, not able to be somewhat comfortable. Furiousness and frustration. The exhaustion of the physics, mind and emotion. It can be life or death for someone suffering from chronic pain the morning that some people find happy and refreshing. Whether it provides temporary relief or throws muscles into a bigger spasm is unknown.
Simple, necessary tasks are becoming stressful and complicated. For example, you have to shower and wash your hair. This is usually relatively fast and easy. However, due to slow, meticulous movements for other people it can take two or three times as long to try to minimize pain. Slowly shampooing, before taking a break. For women, shaving your legs (or men, this is the year 2019, I don’t judge) can feel like you are an eight-leg shaving pulser instead of 2. Blow drying and hair styling is another daunting job after showering. Sometimes (all right, most of the time) you sit in a towel for one hour on your bed, trying to get the power and the mind to continue. It might just be easier to shave your head some days, honestly.
We live in a world of shopping online, but there are still grocery stores and orders. Some people love (or love) food shopping (like me). Walk around the shop, check out sales, decide what to eat for the week and, above all, people who watch make Sunday morning fun. Finding unforeseen treatments and surprises. The surprises here are the rapid appearance of pain and the feeling of having a nap on the center of the cereal aisle. You have to take the groceries to your house once shopping is done and you finally make it home.
Yikes. As if it wasn’t enough to drag you to the checkout? Some of us were one tripper (and always tried to be). Load your arms like a pack mule and refuse to return to the car for a second time. Well, the smartest idea is not when chronic pain is mediocre at best. One trip, turns into two trips, turns into three trips, turns into “What I want, I’ll just take one after the other out the cans of Seltzer.” (I’m not known for my clever thoughts…).
Cleaning. Oof. We all need a clean house and enjoy it, right? Clean clothes and clean? I’m living alone myself, so every job and care for my overall well-being is over me. I always enjoy standing up on a Saturday morning, coffeeing a French press, sprinkling music and cleaning my apartment and washing laundry. This is not very pleasant with chronic pain. I have “good” days (a good day is a day when my pain is at 6-8 instead of a constant 10). Many people with chronic pain are not so fortunate, and none of these days are acknowledged to me. Rather than clean it all in a single day, I do my best to keep my friends or family away. One room, and one object at a time, I do it.
The bathroom, for instance. Take a break, I’m going to clean the toilet. Take a break, purify the sink. Take a break, clean the shower. Take a nap, Sweep and Swiffer. This goes from one room to another. I barely make it across a room for many days. My poor cat. A simple litter box scoop can destroy my arms and back completely. Poor thing has been dealing with a full box for many days, but bless her little heart never got stuffed on the floor (all of them knocking in the wood now, please. Thank you!).
It is a PROCESS; my washing room is in the basement. Fill my basket, carry it, bend down to the laundry, return to my apartment. Go back to the cellar and bend down to a dryer and go upstairs. And finally, one last trip back to my apartment to load the basket up and return. Really, all that happens is a load of washing one day. And if you think it will be folded and packed in 10-14 working days you will joke. Other simple stuff that I, and others with chronic pain, fight with cans, and bottles (the day I fought to crack open a cold beer after a long day was a sad, sad day.) Day after day, tying shoes, putting your hair in the middle, I’ll admit it was mid-March and all my festivals, including the artificial tree, are still up. Dinner for cooking is a trip. From planning, preparation, execution to food. It is exhausting to stand, to stir and to pivot. Dishes, if you have no washing machine? Ha. Hey. That same day won’t happen. It’s awkward because it’s frustrating.
Probably now you can see the trend. Do not be patient or understanding if you don’t suffer from chronic pain. Don’t give up if you have chronic pain. Don’t get on yourself. Don’t get on yourself. You are not alone.
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