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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day In The Life...

I live in Florida and we just had a hurricane go through, Irma. Luckily I am in the panhandle so all we got was a tropical storm in our area. Some wind, some rain, and a dent in the van where a branch fell on it from the tree. Weather definitely effects chronic pain conditions and I am no exception to that. For the last couple days I have had lots of muscle spams, sciatica, tingling/numbness, shooting pain, and a higher pain level over all. A bad few days so far.

Since this is Chronic Pain Awareness Month (September) I thought this would be a good day to do one of those "Day in the life..." type posts. I think it will be a good idea to give people information on what it is truly like to have a bad day with a chronic pain condition. This is how it effects me, but I figure it will at least give people a rough idea of how it might be effecting someone in their lives and hopefully it will promote understanding.

So lets start with over night, sleeping. (Sleep? What's that?!? LOL) Due to the increased pain and severe muscle spasms I was not able to try to sleep until 2AM. I had a hard time getting comfortable enough to try and fall asleep because when I shifted position the muscles in my back (just under my shoulder blades all the way down to mid thigh on both legs) tightened up and started to spasm. This causes extremely sharp and intense bolts and waves of pain to shoot through the entire area. When it first starts it is extremely intense and takes my breath away. I then have to mentally remind myself to breathe, slowly and calmly. Somewhere around 3AM or so I dozed off. I woke up a few times due to pain and spasms but managed to go back to sleep until 4:30AM. I've been awake since then (it is now 9AM). I have been alternating between applying heat and ice to the affected areas (alternating; 20 minutes on/20 minutes off/switch to the other/repeat). Neither helps tremendously but when it is like this I'll take what I can get. I am having to shift position every 3 to 5 minutes (instead of my normal 8 to 10 minutes) to try and stave off another episode of spasming. This is not very effective since I still get the spasms and sciatica, it just isn't as intense. I am currently sitting at an 8 on the pain scale of 0 to 10. I took my morning medications at 7AM. Right now I am watching vlogs on youtube.

To get breakfast I had to think of something to eat that would require minimal movement and preparation as standing and walking are very painful for me. With the sciatica going on it is also dangerous as my legs can give out without warning and falling to the floor is not a good thing. I decided to make toast because it required the least amount of standing, bending, and reaching for things.

It is now 11AM and I am still in bed shifting position and alternating heat and ice every 20 minutes. I've also done some very gentle stretching to ease muscle stiffness. I am having to shift between sitting and laying down every 5 to 10 minutes. I can go 10 minutes laying on my right side, but only 5 minutes sitting up. Every 5 minutes sitting up I have to shift around and change which way I am leaning (left, right, forward, back against pillows). My left side is the worst and I can't lay on it at all. This is very annoying shifting around all the time. I'm still at a level 8 on the pain scale but am grateful that it is not getting stronger and am hoping it stays this way (I don't think it will as I have to pick my husband up from work this afternoon). I keep thinking of my mother telling me, as a child, when I was restless "Do you have ants in your pants?" and it makes me giggle.

It is now 6PM. I slept from 11:30AM or so until 2:15PM. Was a restless sleep and I woke up a few times with the muscle spasms. Back to alternating heat and ice. At 4:30 or so I went and picked my husband up from work, which hurt a lot, but it felt nice to get out of the house and into the sunshine. Came home and ate dinner which my daughter had cooked. Now, while alternating heat and ice I am going to do a stitching hangout to chat with friends and stitch for distraction. Sometimes it helps distract from the pain but even if that doesn't happen, it always lifts my mood to be chatting with friends.

It is now 9:47PM and just got off the stitching hangout. Made good progress on my project which can be seen on my stitching blog. I continued to alternate heat and ice during the hangout, shifting positions as needed as well as getting up to walk around and stretch my muscles out. My pain has been pretty steady at an 8 all day, but I am grateful that it didn't go higher or hit a pain crisis (level 10). I really didn't want to be curled up in bed and crying from the pain.

Now I will continue with the heat and ice while I watch some stuff on Youtube or Netflix/Hulu until I am sleepy, then I will try to sleep. I don't know how much sleep I will get but am hoping I get more than a couple hours. Lack of adequate sleep does not do good things for my pain, it also makes it harder to mentally deal with the pain.

That's pretty much my day today. My hope in sharing this is to help people understand what it is like during a bad day. As well as to show that being home a lot due to pain is not the fun, relaxing day off that people think it is.

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Thank you for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog. For people who are chronically ill and/or in constant pain, it can be difficult to socialize as frequently as we would like to do so. Talking with others online is a way for us to socialize, chat with others, make new friends, reach out to others in similar circumstances and many more positive effects.

Knowing that someone has read my posts and commented on it, helps in many ways. The biggest two being that it helps ease the feeling of being "alone" and that no one could possibly understand. Secondly, it reminds us that others truly do care and that just feels wonderful!!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog, it really does mean a great deal to me and is helpful too!