There are moments where I think that I would be better off with out either leg below my knees. So much pain in the calves and then each foot is totally numb. They have prosthetics that are almost better then the real thing. I know, I know...that's nuts but hey, a guy gets tired of hurting. Same goes for the lower back..oh yea and upper back, left hip bugs me too. Chronic pain is torture and it is enough, trust me to drive any person, no matter who into the realm of the insane...
I know, whine, whine, whine...people think "Oh shut up 'ya big cry baby, just deal with it, we all have pain!" I 've heard that a lot and I've learned there isn't any real point in arguing with people. But I'm more then certain that if most people were given my pain for a day, they would at some point think, even if it's for a moment that they would rather be DEAD then live this way all the time. You think I'm exaggerating? Hardly, it's really that bad...
And having chronic pain is always about dealing with suspicion...i don't care who you are or what you've done in your life if you deal with pain for a life time, people think your lazy, faking or lying. They see you walk a mile one day or swing a golf club and the assume that he can do that, why can't he do other stuff. Well even people with chronic pain want to have a life, to enjoy it as much as possible. My pain doesn't always prevent me from doing things...no but it ALWAYS prevents me from doing things CONSISTENTLY and over a period of time. I can do stuff, sure but there always is a price.
When I tried to manage a pizza shop, sure I'd work a full day on my feet...then couldn't walk, eat, sleep or think straight when I got home. I over-compensated for my back at that time as well and tore the cartridge in my right knee as a result. That is always the way it goes, cause and effect...do one thing positive yet something negative happens in return. There is no doubt in my mind today or my shrink's opinion at the time that chronic pain fed the fire of my addiction and contributed to my suicidal thoughts leading to my suicide attempt.
I don't want sympathy, I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me...I'm coping and have a good life. I've lived with severe pain for 30 years...yep, 30 f**king years. A little compassion, a bit of understanding though would be nice...People don't get it, they think, "well you have an injured back, can't you do a sit down job?" Ah..sure except that for me, sitting is often worse then standing...sometimes. Other times I can only be horizontal (laying down) and then there ARE times I'm most comfortable sitting...it varies and I never know from day to day what's going to work best. How can you plan to do a job under that kind of demand for flexibility. You can't, it won't happen , any employer would laugh in your face if you suggested it, I know from experience. I've work many extra hours when I'm able, worked from home, on call always and it's not good enough. I've never know a job where you have that much flexibility and the employer will accept that, they are too set in their ways and would rather find someone else then work with you. Hey, it's hard to blame 'em, they have a business to run...
My eagerness to please and work ethic often conspire to hurt me as well...I would have certain "work restrictions" such as maximum weight I could lift or required the ability to sit or stand as needed. That sounds great on paper...it just doesn't work in the real world at all. So I'd just end up working the way I regularly do and bingo- I'm hurt and unable to work at al..this happened time and time again...Guilt was not my friend either...it's embarrassing when you can't do your job the way people expect you to. I could never accept that and again....I would end up hurt.
So either way, there was no way to win...it was a lose-lose propisition, all the way! Honestly I have days where by appearances only, I look pretty normal physically. I have other days where I walk only with the assistance of my cane, pictured above. The only true constant for me is pain...I have sever chronic pain EVERY day of my life, 24 hours a day, no matter what. And I have undergone just about every pain treatment and therapy known to man and have had dozens of operations...13 alone on my right foot and big toe.
I would be lying if I tried to tell you that this does not mess with a person's head...it most certainly does. It was also one of the main reasons I questioned God all those years. I felt like I was being punished...tortured for something I did or perhaps didn't do. Laying awake at night, unable to get comfortable, can't lie down, can't sit or stand...what am I supposed to do, freakin' FLOAT? I tried that with all the drugs, REMEMBER!? Well floating didn't work for me either! Just joking of course but that is my life...I sleep in 45 minute increments because of pain...So I have to accept that this is my life and I deal with it.
I have a decision to make about my spine and my back...there is a surgery that is a doozie, 6 months recovery, body cast and the whole nine yards where they can fuse a long section of my spine and it will limit mobility to the point where the doctors feel the pain might be more tolerable. But I will really loose what mobility I have...I mean REALLY lose mobility to the point that I won't be able to even play crippled golf or do other stuff that I can do occasionally. I need to be able to exercise...I'm already out of shape physically so losing mobility and the ability to exercise isn't an option unless I HAVE to do it..
I have been reluctant to post on this subject because so many people would rather not hear it. Even some of my closet friends say things that lead me to believe they don't think I'm doing what I can and that really hurts. But I've gotten used to it...But it is reality for a lot of people who live this way and though I know there are liars, fakers, pretenders, scammers and posers out there...it isn't ALL of us or even MOST of us. Nope some of us were in accidents and actually TRY to work through our disabilities...even when we hurt ourselves doing it. It took me 20 years to finally accept a handicap parking pass and even today I hardly, if ever use it. I'm embarrassed by it...and trust me, there have been times I really should have used the thing but my pride got in the way. I need to be a bit more accepting of myself...'Ya think?