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Monday, 12 January 2009

Pain Management.

This is not a moan. It is just a quick explanation of my personal health which goes someway to explaining why this blog is intermittent as I jump from mind state to mind state.

Since the quacks at the Pain Clinic I am attached to decided to change my medication I have never been at such a high level of constant pain as I am currently. Being winter as it is here right now does not help matters either.

The previous medication, while not perfect, in that it did not completely erase the pain, at least allowed me to control the pain I have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, since they changed it I am a wreck. Both mentally and physically. It is hard to express how tiring pain can be on both the body and the mind but suffice to say it is extremely tiring on both. But, outwardly, apart from the walking stick I need for stability, no-one would ever know as I try desperately sometimes to keep it within the family. My wife is very supportive as are our children which is something I am very very thankful for.

The pain I have stems from a fall I had when aged 4. I fell 40ft out of a tree on to a rockery garden. This led to me being in traction for 2 years after which I had to learn to walk again. Years past and I played many sports such as football and rugby league and many others, even though after every game I was in pain I continued to play until I could no longer suffer in silence. I traveled the world and had been around it twice by the time I was 21 years of age. Mainly because my father took me on long trips where we would get onto land for anywhere between a few hours to several days. I had done many other things such as  water skiing, sky diving and bungy jumping amongst  all the things I had done. Maybe at the back of my mind was that later in life I would not be able to do such things.

By that time I was 28 years of age. Shortly after giving up playing sports, which was a hard thing to do for me as I enjoyed playing so much, I went to the hospital to find out why I was in constant pain. They did an MRI scan from which they discovered I had several slipped discs along my spine. After fidning this out I had keyhole surgery  during which they dissolved the discs and welded my lower spine. This allowed some years  to be relatively pain free.

After about 8 years after having had the surgery the pain started again. Another MRI scan revealed that the area where they had operated some years earlier was starting to fracture. A piece of fractured bone had lodged itself into my spine higher up my back. Added to this was the fact that that same area had become arthritic. All in all this meant a return to the pain i had suffered in my youth.

Fast forward to today and the arthritis has quickly spread to every joint in my body. This is  bloody painful and the pain is constant. Over the  course of the last 4 or 5 years they have swapped and changed the medication I am forced to take many times as they try to work out what medication is best for my personal circumstances. So far they have never managed to decrease the pain 100% but have, from my own feelings, manged to alleviate it by some 50% or so. At least they got it to a level where at a personal level I could manage what was left. Of course, there have been good days and bad days and more recently more bad than good.

Then they go and change my medication again to something they said was stronger than anything they had advised me to take previously. Sadly, for me, while it may well be stronger it certainly does not work. My pain levels have shot through the roof. I am duee to talk with then again soon and will be telling them I cannot continue on the present medication and hope that they put me back on what I was taking previously. I somehow doubt they will though as they expressed caution that it was damaging my liver. So, i guess it is wait and see what else they can come up with.

On a personal level I am within myself happy even though walking is particularly painful. My hands constantly shake which makes typing fun but doable. My gait is bent double and my right leg is all but useless at times hence the walking stick mentioned earlier. I try not to moan and by large I succeed but it is getting harder especially since they changed the medication.

Pain management is not just about the medication though. It is also a mental state which I think I succeed at.

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