My Constant Companion, Or The Boyfriend I Could Love To Leave Behind

I live with chronic pain, as far too many people do.  This is not a plea for sympathy, or (please, no) for advice.  Just a statement of fact.    So before you say it, yes, I am seeing a doctor.  Yes, I go to physical therapy.  And yes, I have the best acupuncturist in the world.

Living with chronic pain changes the way you do a lot of things – in my case, one major impact is how I travel.  I always have to check, as  pulling a suitcase around the airport and lifting it into the overhead is not a possibility, unless I want my flight to be even more painful than flying already is today.  I add time on the end of each trip, if possible, to just recover from the airport experience.  I make use of porters at hotels and sky caps at airports… you get the idea.

And then today, I woke up with my back in full-on spasm.  I couldn’t even get out of bed until I remembered the trick my PT taught me about rolling to my side, swinging my legs over the side of the bed, and pushing myself up with my arms.  Ugh.  And oh, I had a sore throat (which has since disappeared, thank God).

So, no Bikram this morning.  No dinner with my dear friend and teacher K. tonight.  Instead, I struggled my way through one essential load of laundry, went to the store, and have spent the day on the couch with my new heating pad and my old cats.

My new favorite possesion and soon to be travel companion

The cats, of course, are thrilled.  Me, not so much.  I leave tomorrow for my first business trip of 2012, a week in Los Angeles, and I don’t have time for this.   But I still have to pack and go, hoping the pain will recede to its usual level in time for tomorrow’s flight.  And there’s a statement I hope none of you ever have to make – that you hope your pain is at its “usual” level soon.

I’ve forgotten what it is like to live without pain; to make no accommodations to pain; to not consider pain my constant companion.  It’s like a leech that can’t be pulled off, constantly draining me.   So every decision has to consider my constant companion and how he (yes, my pain is male) will be affected.   By now I’m used to it, and I do it automatically.  Still, it’s frustrating.  I have a whole string of excuses that I use so that I don’t have to tell people the truth about why I am doing (or, more likely, not doing) certain things.  That’s also frustrating – and I don’t like excuses because I can’t usually remember who heard which excuse, and I get tripped up.

So, I’m going to own my pain.  No excuses.  He and I live together after all, and my friends and colleagues will grow to understand him as I have, and learn not to give him too much attention so that he doesn’t get vain and seek even more attention.  I just hope they won’t get into the habit of asking after him and checking in on how he’s doing – he gets enough of that from me.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bonnie
    Jan 07, 2012 @ 19:53:11

    I don’t want to “like” this post, but I guess I “appreciate” it. I think you speak for a lot of people who have something- in your case pain, in mine anxiety, for other people other ‘invisible’ issues they carry with them everywhere. I like your idea of owning it, even personifying it as a constant companion. It helps to know we all (or many of us) travelling with these unseen entourages.


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