As an Occupational Therapist, I deal with other people’s pain daily. As soon as the introductions are over, I ask about pain levels. “Do you hurt anywhere? On a scale of one-to-ten, how much pain are you in? Describe your pain.” Most people I encounter are in some kind of pain, so much so that I sometimes become numb to pain.
When chronic pain hits someone you love, it is both heartbreaking and tiring. You hurt for them but can become numb to their complaints. After a few months of the same reports of pain, we can become like the rehab professional who deals with pain in numbers and adjectives. Pain becomes a qualitative descriptor.
For the individual with chronic pain, it is so much more than a number and an adjective. It can consume them. Their focus becomes relieving the pain, masking the pain, doing anything to distract from the pain. In the absence of a solution to heal, chronic pain brings on an irrevocable hopelessness.
I watched my dad spiral under the weight of chronic pain. Dad suffered from avascular necrosis of his hip. Over the course of a year, he became more immobile, more withdrawn, and less able to care for himself. He stopped attending weekly breakfast with his friends. He ordered his groceries online to avoid the long walk through the market. He started missing his grandkids’ birthday parties. At his lowest point, he decided life from his recliner was the best he could hope for.
Continue reading “The Powerful Connection between Pain and Hope” at Chronically Whole.
Photo credit: Jonas Erikkson via Unsplash.