I’ve been busy, again, hence no posts. Insanely busy, in fact, and I let something get away from me: Pain Management. I know, I’ve said plenty of times here and on my other blog that PM is a lifestyle, a way of living to allow you to live. But I had a whole host of mini-handbooks to write, some mini-supplements to write and edit, a players pack to finish, and some playtesting, an inquest and its rather stressy fallout…
You get the picture. Basically I forgot two of the major tenets of PM: pacing and distraction. And probably exercise, too, if I’m honest, but that’s not been too bad. As a result, extreme pain, opioids, sleepless nights, breakthrough pain, the bust scenario – if you’re into PM, you’ll know it.
So I bought a book to remind me of it, to place on my desk in front of my eyes: The Pocket Book of Pacing by Hannah Ensor.
I know, it’s been a long time since the last post. That’s because of a whole range of real life issues, one of which was cutting open my hand due to this annoying nerve problem. It is an example of one of the hiccups that have to be factored into Pain Management: prioritisation. ‘I-want-to-write-a-post’ becomes ‘I-really-need-to’ and doesn’t quite make it into the ‘I-must’ category as it is pushed out by stories, essays and commentaries I am actually writing whilst in added pain.
Breakthrough pain or unknown recurrence of serious pain is a problem sometimes. Recently, I’ve been having a lot of it and nothing I (thought I) did was managing the pain back down. Though things were complicated by a painful, but totally unrelated infection, I was back onto regular opioids, with all the problems they bring.
The Problem: Discovery
It was only a chance conversation with a neighbour that reminded me of what I’d been doing wrong. She is a Mindfulness teacher/practitioner and had just been on a Chronic Pain Mindfulness day (Mindfulness, meditation and similar structured relaxation/thinking techniques have been shown to really help in Pain Management: I use them all the time). Some of what she was talking about was standard Pain Management, effectively ‘slanted’ to Mindfulness, but a key comment was a discussion of how the trainer managed to write the books she had. Apparently the trainer used a timer set to 20 minutes, took a break/did something else (e.g. relax/distract), then came back and continued.
It was through pacing. Plain old, simple pacing.
I had a quick break last week: a few days in Wales, the Black Mountains. I was camping, alone, and in a very not-glamping style. The purpose was for a recharge before I was pinned back into one place by travel or other commitments.
From a Pain Management perspective, being alone was risky and useful. Useful, as it meant I could take as long as I wanted to get up there; risky, in that pain may overtake the situation. However, on the way up I took frequent breaks, one even being a sight-seeing break and wander around Raglan Castle. Further, since I was alone, I could just crawl into the tent at the end and resst my arm up for a while.
Such a trip, though, was a recharge in several directions: creatively, walking and looking at natural and ancient, man-made sites and allowing the imagination to roam; and physically, going to a place I loved and in which I could have some time for retrospective thinking (meditation, some might call it) and release.
I’ve been moving things round on this blog. The reason is because I am finally putting up a separate site/blog containing the extended chapters from My Little Book of Pain: A Practitioners Experience of Pain Management. Whenever more is to be done, it will be added there rather than here.
General comments and observations on Pain Management will still be placed here, of course, but any lessons from them will be carried forward into the relevant chapter in My Little Book of Pain. Some external links on pain still remain here, as does the general page on Pain Management as a lifestyle. Alternatively, an interested person can always search the ‘Pain Management’ category for relevant blog posts.
I hope those supporting or suffering from Chronic Pain will find it useful.
Comments and news stories on disabled bullying are frequent in the press – just search and see (here’s one from yesterday). From 2003 it has even been a hate crime, the CPS guidance acknowledging how such bullying can be disregarded. This, though, is just the tip of an iceberg that ranges from the extreme, horrifying accounts in Katharine Quarmby‘s Scapegoat to a constant, everyday grind of low-level contempt.
The problem is that whilst, like many in a similar position, I do not like to be termed ‘vulnerable’, the fact is I am. I constantly have to adapt to my pain; I have to be continually very conscious of when my arm could uncontrollably jerk, knock or spill something or tap someone. I often have to have it in a sling to take the pressure off my neck and shoulder – which is awkward in itself. Because I am in pain and because I am concerned about the lack of limb control (never mind about coping with the occasional bout of depression) any non-friendly social encounter becomes something to fear.
Yep, fear. Any inch of threatening behaviour gets me twitchy, wanting to run. Loom over me, and you make me scared; you walk into my house without being asked and I am terrified; step into my personal space and you might as well have hit me given the surge of pain that I experience from tensing up with concern.