A Night of Chronic Pain

It's close to midnight and I'm declining to go to bed with the abundance of feeling similar to a little kid's refusal. I'm just going to ignore the looks and suggestions the Hubbs throws at me, even if I know I'll be in more pain tomorrow if I don't get enough sleep.

You see when you are in chronic pain, sometimes the place you dread the most is your bed.  We have a nice bed, it's a Leesa. We bought it before my back surgeries once we had gotten home from a cruise and realized how bad our bed was after being away for a week.  Now that same bed is a source of frustration and pain.

I get in and arrange my four different pillows into the first configuration.  Tonight I'm going to try to sleep on my left side, even though my left hip is now bothering me, probably because I compensate on it all the freaking time.  Body pillow running the length of the bed.  Check.  Serta "never fall flat" pillow on top of the body pillow and offset so my left leg can run under and my right on top.  Check. Standard sleeping pillow hugged to my torso to keep my lower back from twisting.  Check. Cervical neck pillow to keep my spine in alignment. Check.  Get the Hubbs to grab the sheets and cover me up so I don't disrupt my alignment.  Check. Ok.  Now let me see if I can sleep.

5 minutes later.

Now my right leg is throbbing and it's all I can think about until my brain shuts down from the pain.  Get up.  Get my IFC/TENS unit.  Get the Hubbs to help me put it on.  Get back in bed and go through the pillow procedure again. Check and double check.  Now hopefully, and usually, I am able to fall asleep.  Sometimes though, lying on my left side just isn't going to cut it so I have to switch to my back.  These times my brain is screaming "PAIN...PAIN....PAIN...PAIN...PAIN" so much so, that my usual sleep technique of making up stories in my head until I just drift off doesn't work.

I rearrange all my pillows (hoping at this point that I don't wake up the Hubbs) and flip onto my back.  Lay there for 15 minutes or an hour or two, which I know because my IFC/TENS cycles off in a hour, and then finally I will eventually drift off.  Then, if I am lucky, I don’t wake up until the Hubbs alarm goes off at 6:30AM.  On bad days I just happen to wake up at 3:00AM, 4:30AM. or 5:20AM.  This happens a lot which is why I know the exact times.

Then I have to get up.  Why?  Because if I try to go back to sleep, I end up tossing and turning. Then the pain starts up again and I end up further aggravating whatever the hell is wrong with my body that's causing the chronic pain. I limp out of bed, brush my teeth, and make a pot of coffee.  I’m ready to start my new normal day.  Good times.

Feel free to add your experience with chronic pain in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jaymantri

Back at the desk...just wish it was a standing desk

Back Surgery...when you can't bend over for 3+ months.
2017...well here I am 3 years later and oh so much wiser.

In the past 3 years, I have switched school districts, then left teaching to pursue in-vetro fertilization (IVF), then found out I herniated my L4/L5 and did surgery, not once but twice, and now I'm left with unexplained chronic buttock and hip pain (which is way worse than the actual herniation was).

In fact, since May 2016 my life has become what I like to call "the new normal." I've been in survival mode with the good days slightly outweighing the bad. Slightly. I think. Friends and family have told me they marvel at my strength, my will to not give up, the amazing fact that I'm not depressed, and that I should write a book. Well. Maybe. First, I thought I would get back in the blog habit, then if I can really get into my writing again...and there seems to be a place for my advice and thoughts about dealing with the shit storms of life, then yes, I will write that book.

I want to make it clear that I don't have all the answers and what worked for me may not work for you or your crazy aunt that had her hip replaced. I am also by no means done with my journey of getting rid of my chronic pain but I'm still hopeful (ask me again in 2019, I told The Hubbs that I'm fully allowed to be 100% despondent then).