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Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware #2: Pain pain pain

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 03-06-2013 03:08 AM 1242 reads 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Mortises at 11PM Part 2 of Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware series Part 3: Money and happiness »

First, the caveat:

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about woodworking, trying to make sense of what it is that has always drawn me to it. I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.

My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late. (If you’re reading this Monte – you caught me)

If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.

10:39 pm
Pain is a relative thing. I have relatives who have caused me pain, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’ve been asked by numerous doctors and nurses to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. My scale has changed significantly in the past 2 years. My 10 used to be a needle through an infected big toe. That pain lifted me right up off the table. My 10 is now the indescribable pain of a ‘spinal headache’ after a spinal tap.
That was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced or ever want to experience ever again. It was the only time I ever wanted to die. The pain was that bad that I just wanted it to stop, whatever it took. So that’s my new 10.
But what about living at a 6 day in and day out? It wears on a soul and affects everything. I’m apparently a bit difficult to live with when I’m in pain. Really? What a surprise.
I don’t live a 6 day in and day out, but I have many days at a 6 or 7 and then I have a few fantastic days when I’m at a 2 or 3. I’m so close to zero that I’m giddy. I try not to overdo it, or overthink and just enjoy it, but it’s almost bittersweet because it comes to an end.
10:46 Now that was dark and depressing. Maybe this is where I tell you that pain is a blessing, yadda yadda, has shown me how wonderful the world is, and that my friends would be complete and utter BS. Pain stinks. It rots, and it slowly erodes your soul.
10:48 9 minutes in and I can’t think of what to say. I did do 8 weeks of pain management and I must say it was somewhat helpful. We discussed neuro-plasiticity and how the brain processes pain, and what we can do to manage it etc etc. We breathed and stretched and ‘mindfully’ walked around the room. Don’t laugh, it was actually beneficial. The biggest thing I took away from that is the difference between pain and suffering.
Pain is the physical sensation. Suffering is the story we tell ourselves about it. Kind of rings true.
10:52
Don’t get me wrong, I have good days, good moments and lots of laughs. But being in pain is an isolating experience. It boils everything down quickly to ‘what am I able to do’ and within that ‘what do I want to do’.
Tonight I just wanted to get out to my shop. The nerve pain in my elbows has been bothersome but I pushed myself to get groceries today and take care of some household matters. My tank was almost empty by the time I made it out to the shop and just holding the chisel was sending the pain up my arm. I got through two mortises. I looked at them awhile, quite pleased and then reluctantly headed back into the house.

We all have a dark side. It’s not politically correct to talk about it most of the time. We’re supposed to ‘deal with it’ and ‘oh isn’t she brave’ and ‘oh I don’t know how you do it.” and my favourite “at least it’s not cancer”. When I’m on the dark side, I just want the world to leave me alone. I want to go out into my shop and measure something, mark it with a pencil and cut it. I want to rearrange my workdesk and sort through my sandpaper. Unfortunately sometimes that’s a luxury. I have a family who depends on me to keep the household running.

I know that there are people worse off than I am. That means diddly squat when I’m having a bad day.
Guess what kind of day today has been???
Bah humbug

11:06 – three more minutes of this will be painful for anyone reading it, so what to write for three minutes?
-fluffy puppies
-free chocolate
-free shipping at Lee Valley
-winning the Home Depot survey contest
-getting the sander I want for my birthday
-vodka
-a good laugh on Lumberjocks.

There. Almost a smile. One minute left. If I follow my rules I can’t delete this. Unfortunate.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.



31 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15529 posts in 1092 days


#1 posted 03-06-2013 03:18 AM

You are obviously going through an awful time by most people’s standards. The fact that you’re able to try to laugh at it tells us you’re not done fighting. Most of us would help you with that fight physically if we could. But all we can offer is our mental support. OK, we’ll send money for vodka if that helps. :-)

My prayers will be with you.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 829 days


#2 posted 03-06-2013 03:23 AM

Ah Monte, always a kind word. Thank you.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5388 posts in 1597 days


#3 posted 03-06-2013 03:27 AM

Two mortises is better than my none. I teach pain management and have some of my own, but not like yours .My wife gets migrane headaches so I can empathise but not sympathize.

Having worked with Fibromyalgia clients, which is not your issue I understand. Try to redirect if you can? Think of the wood, smell the wood, feel the wood!

Hope you feel like chiseling some wood.

Been pl;owing snow, had to bust my plow out of two inches of ice frozen to the ground forgot to protect my elbow.

Its done I’m done for awhile.

Will spend two days with psych then back to the shop.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 829 days


#4 posted 03-06-2013 03:29 AM

Thanks Doc – it’s amazing how many people deal with chronic pain. It’s like buying an oldsmobile. You never knew there were so many on the road until you had one yourself.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5388 posts in 1597 days


#5 posted 03-06-2013 03:32 AM

LOL!

Humor is helpful too. Think wood!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112942 posts in 2331 days


#6 posted 03-06-2013 03:38 AM

Sandra
I feel you pain through your writing and of course not your real pain. I truly wish their was a way I could help, but all I can do is listen and hope in a small way knowing someone really cares helps you. We all need to hear your plight and understand how good we have it. I hope and pray that your life can be better. At least know I really care and many many more do too.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 829 days


#7 posted 03-06-2013 03:41 AM

Thanks Jim. Truly
After writing something like that, I get instant remorse wondering why I would dump all that on a page, and asking myself if I’m just looking for sympathy. I guess this place is like a good bar. You can tell the bartender just about anything, and he’s still happy to see you the next time you stop by.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15529 posts in 1092 days


#8 posted 03-06-2013 03:44 AM

I have pain daily. It’s called old age. Nothing really significant though. Just something always hurts. My only minorly comparable experience is when I was a referee. Being bull headed I would never give up games (high school soccer and basketball). I would have blisters on my feet, especially the toes. But I knew once I got going they would kind of numb out. Does yours ever numb out? Of course I paid for it dearly later, but I got the job done. Woodworking is a much better hobby! Nobody yells really bad things at me!

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 829 days


#9 posted 03-06-2013 03:49 AM

Yes, I suppose mine does numb out. The pain in my feet isn’t as bad when I’m moving, so I try to be as active as I can.
Most days, there’s no rhyme or reason as to what aggravates it. One day something will hurt, next day it doesn’t. Bad wiring is unpredictable.
Love the woodworking. The wood doesn’t ask me a thousand questions or roll its eyes at me.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View BigAl98's profile

BigAl98

112 posts in 1793 days


#10 posted 03-06-2013 03:51 AM

Thanks for sharing. I,m just getting old. ...sorry for pain…I will keep you in my thoughts too. Fight the good fight..

-- Al,New Jersey -To thine own self be true

View boxcarmarty's profile

boxcarmarty

9851 posts in 1114 days


#11 posted 03-06-2013 03:53 AM

I’m sorry Sandra, Did you say something???

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 829 days


#12 posted 03-06-2013 03:54 AM

OMG Marty. You just got a belly laugh out of me. You’re hired!

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View William's profile

William

9287 posts in 1596 days


#13 posted 03-06-2013 04:10 AM

Keep you head up.
Laugh when you can.
Enjoy what you can.
Piss someone off just because.
It all runs the gammot.
I have tried it all and in the end,
The pain is still there,
But if you get down to the bare tacks of it,
It’s better than pushing up daisies.
Well at least we realize that after the pain subsides.
You just have to bear with it till then.

I think you already have picked up on it. I live in a constant state of pain. My “good” days just means the pain is down to a level that I don’t cry or bite someone’s head off if they get in my way. My “bad” day, I have to roll my fat butt as close to the bathroom as I can in my wheelchair before holding on to something in order to waddle over to the toilet.
I’ve been told you get used to it. That is the biggest lie that’s ever been told. One never truly gets used to bing in pain all the time.
I’ve been told there is medicine that will help. That’s a crock too. Your body gets too accustomed to the meds and if you’re not careful, you’ll get addicted to them.
I’ve been told a lot of crap, but when it gets back to it, the pain is still there and I’m still here. So where does that leave me (and you, and others like us).
I have contemplated suicide just to end the pain.
Actually, I admit I still contemplate it from time to time. Sometimes it seems that death would be better than the pain.
How do you fight back those feelings?
We all have to find our own way.

Here’s my story.
The closest I got was once when I sat at a desk, loaded a .45 and put it in my mouth. I couldn’t take anymore. As I lifted my head though, the tears cleared away for a moment as I realized that the time for crying was over and I wouldn’t hurt anymore. As they did though, something else swept over me. With my finger on the trigger, and the site of my kid’s pictures on the wall, I didn’t think anymore about the pain. I thought of my kids not having a Daddy.
That day, I checked myself into an institution for help. It was the second time I’d been there. The first time though I played the game and told them what they wanted to hear so I could go home. This time, after I’d sunk lower than I’d ever been before, I honestly tried to get help. They talked to me. They gave me medicine. I was released. I felt better, until the pain started getting to me again.
To shorten this story, lets just skip on to the end.
I found a therapy that worked for me. I accidentally found wood working. It was the best thing that had happened to me since I broke my back in the first place. Now, wood working keeps my mind going even when I can’t get to the shop. For example, I’ve spent the better part of the last week, because of a bad spell I’ve been going through, watching wood turning videos.
Now here’s the secret.
I know you seen the cube in a cube things I made today.
When I feel down and depressed, that’s the sort of things I make. I show them to my kids, and their eyes light up. They love that stuff.
My kids also have other projects we’ve worked on together, like the trebuchet, the rubber band gatling gun, unnecessary stuff. It’s necessary for me. My kids see me fighting and doing something. I see my kids grow up.

So, I’ll make it.
And by the time all the kids are gone, there will be grand kids.

Thanks you for an interesting post and what seemed like a good opportunity to ramble off some of my own feelings.
I hope you get to feeling better.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14687 posts in 1429 days


#14 posted 03-06-2013 04:15 AM

I think it is great that you let us into your world. By writing your blog you are allowing us to get to REALLY know you, as opposed to letting us know who you want us to know. It is a brave thing to bare one’s soul. I can honestly say, I ain’t got the guts!!!

I’m sure that many an LJ are experiencing a similar situation as yours, and although they may or may not post, feel less alone and/or isolated because of their pain after reading your post. I would say this is a great place for you to vent or unload. I know I have unloaded here a few times. It was easier than actually trying to talk with anyone. Just spilled my guts and got it out and moved on. It was very cathartic and less expensive than an “hour on the couch”!!!

Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, want to tell a joke or commiserate, post a project or not…..
You’ve got people here that care and will listen and/or laugh.
What we listen to is up to you….;^)

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 829 days


#15 posted 03-06-2013 04:17 AM

Thanks William.
Yes, we get fed lots of info from people who have studied pain, but not lived it. Woodworking has likely saved my sanity.
And I’m glad you’re still here. (.45s leave a nasty mess….)

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

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