Archives for posts with tag: pain and pain management

I can’t even string together enough swear words to adequately describe the pain I am in this morning. It’s just physical pain. It’s even mostly the “healthy pain” of spending a day working in the garden, stooping, bending, lifting, digging, kneeling, standing, reaching… all good stuff. Fuck I hurt though. That pain on top of my arthritis, on top of my [whatever the fuck is wrong with this bullshit] neck/headache pain – it’s a lot. I’m sipping a very good cup of coffee this morning, working on shrugging off the pain, to get started on the Sunday routine – housekeeping, chores, upkeep. The details of having good quality of life do not take care of themselves. (Note: if you think that the details of having good quality of life “just sort of happen”, then I suggest you look around for that person who is clearly caring for your clueless ass and say “thank you” once in a fucking while, and oh yeah – how about helping out?)

It was a lovely day in the garden, yesterday. There’s more to get done (I didn’t quite finish, even with my Traveling Partner’s help): there are yet a handful of dahlia tubers to plant, some final tidying up of beds (for this go ’round), and tools to put away. I enjoyed the work, and the effort. I am pleased with the results. I focus on those things, and turn my attention away from the pain I am in. That, and good self-care now, are the best I can do. Some yoga and pain management first thing when I woke, and hopefully once this coffee is done, I’ll be in fair shape for the chores ahead.

If you’re reading this as a healthy fit twenty-something, feeling immune to the aches and pains, and possibly just the tiniest bit dismissive or smug about your fitness, I have only this to say; your turn will come. 🙂 I don’t mean in a harsh way, I’m just saying that I understand that you “don’t get it” – we don’t know what we don’t know. I didn’t get it in my twenties, either. I couldn’t. It was outside my ability to truly understand. Enjoy ease and comfort and freedom of movement while they last you, my healthy fit friends of all ages. We’re all at risk of losing that fitness – whether through age or adversity – and once it is gone, it can be damnably difficult to get it back. (I keep working at that. Slow progress is still progress.)

Be kind to people. It’s unlikely that we know what someone else is really going through – even if they do try to tell us. Our own pain is typically the worst pain we know – and if it “isn’t that bad” we may not have a real reference with which to understand what someone else is going through. That’s as true for me as for anyone else. My partner tells me when he is in pain. I tell him. We hear each other. We earnestly seek to support each other with real care and consideration. We still can’t really know the pain the other one is experiencing. How bad is it, really? Well… I suspect it is always 100% “bad enough” that we do well to be kind to each other. I mean… that’s a small thing, isn’t it? So huge for the person we are being kind to, though. Oh, and when we’re in pain? When we’re suffering with it? Still, be kind. Sure, it’s an excuse one can offer for being a jerk to someone to say we are in pain. It’s even pretty real, right? Be kind, anyway. Pain hurts, for sure, and it can be a huge fucking challenge to muster one last shred of resilience to make that effort… but when we treat people poorly because we hurt, that person doesn’t feel our pain – only their own. From being hurt by being treated poorly. By us. Are you seeing how cyclical that can be? I’m just saying… it may be worth the effort all around, for all of us, every day, to be kind.

“I’m just being real.” I’m suggesting be kind instead. (Or, you know, in addition to being “real”… how about that?)

“I’m just giving helpful feedback.” I’m suggesting that if you must, that you do it in a kind way. Legitimately kind. If you can’t? Maybe don’t bother – especially if you weren’t asked for feedback.

“I’ve got my own shit to deal with.” Don’t we all? I’m just suggesting it may be less of a burden if you are also being kind to people you interact with.

“I’m all about ‘tough love’ and I’m only kind to people who deserve it.” It’s possible you’re missing the point of both “tough love” and kindness and I’m not sure what to say about that, at all. “Tough love” is about love. (It’s also about setting reasonable boundaries to avoid letting someone abuse your affection… seems like it would be possible to do so with kindness, too. I don’t know. I’m not walking your mile.)

Kindness may not save the world, but have you seen what the lack of it does to the world? It’s in the news a lot. Hate crimes. Road rage killings. Family violence. Kindness is a lot less news-worthy, generally… but the outcomes are far better.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a rant. 🙂 It’s just the pain I am in coloring my experience. That’s why I’m on about it; I expect to needs these words, myself, as soon as I interact with my partner, neighbors, or the community beyond. This is a blog post I’ll re-read a number of times, today, as pain wears me down and I fight back for one more shred of resolve to get one more task completed. 🙂

Take care of yourself today. Take care of those dear to you. Be kind. We all need more kindness, day-to-day. If we’re not willing to provide it, how will those around us understand to proceed, themselves? “Please be kind to me, I’m having a tough time today” are not easy words to say… maybe we would do well to practice, that, too? Anyway… practices need fewer words, and more practicing, and here it is, already time to begin again. 😉

Raindrops on a rose bud.

Sipping coffee and counting down the days to Giftmas. 🙂 I remind myself that the holiday season, and this life with my Traveling Partner, are by far more significant, more meaningful, and more valued than this physical pain I am in. My partner called me on it before I was half finished with my coffee. First thing on a Saturday morning, and I am so visibly obviously uncomfortable that I am uncomfortable to be around. Well, shit. I take my coffee with me on my way to my studio, consider my pain management choices on the way, and get to work on managing what I can manage, and letting go of what I can’t. My results may vary; I know to expect that, too.

…Good cup of coffee, though, and a pleasant Saturday morning on which to enjoy it. 🙂

I think about the upcoming holidays, and smile to myself. Winter Solstice, then Giftmas, then New Year’s Eve and day… then, it’s a whole new year unfolding ahead, and back to the grind. 🙂 No idea what the new year may hold. I didn’t expect this one, just now ending, held a pandemic – or a home purchase. Life is filled with surprises, unexpected turns, and assorted fortune (good and less so). Some eventualities will be very directly tied to my own choices and actions, others less obviously so. Sitting and waiting around for change is one possible choice… still a choice, and potentially less effective than grabbing life with both hands and making of it what we can. I suppose there is also some “personal style” involved in all that, as well. 🙂

…Mmm…Yeah. Great cup of coffee this morning, well-suited to reflecting on life. lol

I did scroll through the news earlier – fairly pointless on the average Saturday, unless there is some sort of major event some where in the world. All of the news seems to repeat yesterday’s talking points, retread and regurgitated, linked and quoted, by various other news services that perhaps now wish they’d thought of it first. Uninteresting. I’ve been making a practice of willfully rejecting headlines that seem crafted to stoke an emotional reaction prior to reading the article; it’s a clickbait practice, and I just don’t appreciate having my time wasted, or my emotions manipulated. I definitely read fewer news articles as a result. lol My time is better spent reflecting on my own life and choices. 🙂

I think over the day ahead. I’ve got one errand to run, a bit later, maybe I’ll also stop by the grocery store? I’ll tackle aquarium maintenance a little later, too. Tomorrow? Housekeeping. I know, it’s all very routine, simple, ordinary stuff. That’s what most lives are crafted of; ordinary moments, commonplace tasks, simple everyday acts and efforts. It took me too long to understand how very few individual lives are truly, spectacularly, exceptional or extraordinary in such a notable way that one would expect to read about it in the news. Most of us live very unexceptional lives – and that’s entirely okay. More important that we also live well, show kindness, consider others, care for the world and our community – and take care of ourselves and each other. Isn’t that enough? 🙂 Are any of us really so good at even that, that we ought be discontent and seeking more? I suspect I’m not alone in my awareness I could do more/better, often, even in these ordinary circumstances, within this ordinary life. It’s about the verbs. Our choices.

I sip my coffee, hearing the video my Traveling Partner is watching, in the background. The sound of it, the sound of his presence, brings me a sense of comfort… and joy…

And now I am hearing holiday carols in my head, too… LOL

What is “enough”? Do you have that? Have you defined it so that you can more easily make your way to that goal? Have you been so fortunate as to overshoot that mark, and find yourself living in some comfort? From where you are, right now, what can you do to help heal the world? What about your community? Are there simple things you can easily do, without undermining your own necessary resources, to lift someone else up? To ease suffering in the world? To give something back? ‘Tis the season… what will you do about that?

I finish my first coffee. I think about a second cup. I smile for a moment, feeling pretty okay generally. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I sip my coffee, lukewarm, no longer “fresh”. I find myself in a “work with what you’ve got” sort of place this morning. What I’ve got is a sink full of dirty dishes, and aquarium with an overgrowth of green hair algae, and a massive fucking headache. I mean, just being real; I ate the food that those dishes had supported. The aquarium with the algae? Mine, and I chose the placement in the room when we moved in, which has too much light for the aquarium, and as a result I have a common nuisance that is algal blooms. The headache? Okay, so, sure… it’s “mine”, and obviously I did not choose or created it by intent, but making a big deal out of it when I have had this same fucking headache (worsening somewhat over time, but yeah, same headache) since… 2014, seems pointless.

…Giving credit where it’s due though, this headache has done a first rate job of sticking around, and slowly developing a more precise location and greater likelihood of moment-to-moment continuation without relief… 2014? Fucking hell. 6 years with this fucking headache. Now that’s a fucking headache. I do find myself just a bit impressed by that, in an irritated, resigned way. I mean… if headaches had a culture of their own, surely this headache would be receiving accolades from peers, and doing the talk show circuit about its success? lol

Most moments are just moments. We create the context and significance.

Still. Here is where I am. Now is the moment I’ve got to work with. So. Moving past “it is what it is” (and it is), and reaching for one new beginning after another (and appropriate pain relief steps, however futile seeming)… I’ve either got to yield to this shitty experience, or let it go and do something else… or find a different alternative. Verbs. Choices. My results vary.

I sip my coffee. Now cold. The darkness of the room is mocked by the appearance of the morning sun, through the window shade. The whir and hum of the computer is dimmed by headphones I’m wearing, although I’m not listening to anything that requires them. I mean, besides the whir and hum of the computer, itself. I sigh out loud. One moment of many, and there is an entire day still ahead and things that want to get done. Those dishes for starters. The aquarium maintenance. Ordinary tasks, life to live – headache or not. I’ll work off some of my irritation with some exercise (Beat Saber? A walk?), and by getting some chores done. I’ll have another cup of coffee, and exchange pleasant words with my Traveling Partner.

I find myself wondering, for a moment, how more primitive humans dealt with things like massive chronic headaches? Did they feel cursed? Possessed? Did they lash out at others? What did primitive human beings know about “self-care”? Was that something they were at all concerned with? “Survival” and “good self-care” seem pretty far apart on the spectrum of things people are concerned with…

I smile when I nudge myself to consider recent lovely moments. My Traveling Partner’s birthday was lovely. I’m grateful for the joy we share. I think of a recent busy work day, and a wee dish of unexpected ice cream delivered during a meeting. I reflect on conversations shared with my partner. Goals. Expectations. Thoughts about future projects and quality of life improvements. The routine matters of living and loving. The delight of an unexpected nap, together, side by side on the recliner sofa.

…Fuck this headache! It is too small a part of my experience to get to call the shots on this day.

I finish my cold coffee, and begin again. 🙂

…To the one(s) I love (right now)… 🙂

It’s my Traveling Partner’s birthday, today. It’s been my great good fortune, now, to share his birthday with him for 10 of them. Wow. Quite a bit of time together. It’s gone by rather quickly. 😀

I find it sometimes a bit challenging to find gifts that will suit his taste, and his current activities and interests. Sometimes costs put a neat idea quite out of reach. This year, the real challenge is that we both have what we need, and we’re together; everything else feels “extra”. I did find a couple gift-worthy items that I hope he likes, and I definitely “went for it” with the cake and ice cream. lol My time, my presence – that, too. I’m taking half a day off to enjoy with him. 😀

I slept like crap last night. I mean… I woke an hour or so after I went to bed, and couldn’t fall back to sleep until sometime well after midnight. The sleep I got was fine. I’m tired and in pain, though. I’d like to feel young and fit and thoroughly joyful today, for sure. Gotta make do with this mortal form and all the challenges that go with that – and avoid taking any of it at all personally. Aging? Yeah – totally impersonal. lol

So… looks like today will balance genuine joy and celebration, and the precious gift of our limited mortal time together – balanced with the unfortunate truths of aches, pains, and mortality itself. lol Still – this human traveling sharing life’s journey with me? Now that’s a life worth celebrating. 😀 Certainly my life would be very different today if I were without his companionship and love.

…Don’t forget to tell those special human beings in your life how special they are.

I don’t mean the icy mornings of autumn in my titular reference to “chill” – I mean that fully relaxed state of being in which self-awareness leads observation to a well-spring of contentment in non-attachment to specific outcomes. 🙂 The chill chill. Calm. Still. At ease.

…My coffee is long gone. My most recent break was little more than an excuse to take an Rx pain reliever. Headache. Arthritis. Tennis elbow? (Well, or something unreasonably similar.) The afternoon sunshine sneaks into the studio on an angle, illuminating a tissue box on my desk, beneath and behind my monitor(s), giving it seeming significance of some kind. It has none. It’s a trick of the light. Like this blog post; it has no import, no real gravitas, no significance, just… words. A moment. A break from routine. A few swallows of water, and a mental “reset button” pressed, moving on to another task. I am here, now. I am okay. Nothing to see here. Nothing much to share. Still…

…And I do mean “still”… I think about a friend’s recent observation that she is struggling to “get a minute of peace”. I think about other similar remarks from friends (and readers – I see you!). Me, too. Sometimes busy is far too busy, chaos is too chaotic, and breaks are a challenge to take properly. Have you tried this…? It’s a good starting point on finding that quiet moment, when quiet moments are hard to come by.

…It helps to have a good pair of headphones, too… 🙂

I pause and take my own advice for two minutes. I end up feeling more refreshed than I expect to…but also already looking forward to the end of the actual day, hours from now, when I can flop down onto my bed and just give in to fatigue quite completely. Taking more breaks, more skillfully, would probably really help with the enduring fatigue that has chased me down since daylight savings time ended. Damn I wish we’d get smarter and stop doing that.

…Work interrupts me interrupting work to grab a break. Yeah… this is more complicated than it looks, sometimes. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I push my mind firmly off the work topic, and back to writing for a couple minutes. I know taking proper breaks results in more efficient (and faster, and more skillful) work… so I also find myself, often, wondering where the hell I got the reluctance to do it…? Strange, isn’t it? It’s such an important self-care detail, too. I wonder, also, if this bit of weirdness is cultural (unique to American workers?) or regional, or universal, or… and then I find that I’ve descended into yet another work “rabbit hole” – my field of endeavor being to do with how people work, and how much time things take, and how many people a task or job will require to do well… LOL Fuuuuuuck. This is hard. Clearly I need more practice…

…Only now it’s already time to begin (work) again. 😉