I am regularly asked about the way pain impacts on my day to day life and I have written about how the simplest tasks become incredibly painful and virtually impossible. Today I got the opportunity to capture the real face of chronic pain at it’s worst. Whenever we order things online in the special details if it is coming from a company we do not know we explain that I am disabled and to allow time for me to answer the door as it takes me a while. The electric rise and recline chair means that in order to get out of the chair I am governed by the speed of the chair, but in all honesty this isn’t much different and certainly is a lot less painful. Today IKEA were delivering and our son forgot to put a note in the special instructions, when they called me to say they would be there in about 15 minutes I didn’t think to say as they caught me off guard (I’d spoken to my son 5 minutes earlier who said they’d called him and would be an hour) and this simple change made me fluster, I said yes I’m here see you soon. At about 3.15 there was a knock on the door, I start the chair getting up, my LG hops off my lap and runs to the hallway, not recognising the shadow she came back to me (usually if she can see it is mummy or nanny and granddad she runs off and hide). I finally get out of my chair, there has been two more louder knocks in this time.
I shout coming (it is probably 20 steps from my chair to front door, each of which even using my crutches are excruciating) get half way to my lounge door and the phone starts ringing, expecting a call I’m now in that panic mode what do I do, what do I do, so I shout coming again to the door and turn to make it the 5 or 6 steps back to the phone which is next to my chair. By the time I get there the phone has rung 7 times and the answer phone has cut in and the caller hangs up. Back to making my way to the door. As I approach I hear two men moaning and one saying try the effing phone again. I shout I’m coming, get to the door and the picture on their faces as they see me hanging off crutches clearly in pain was one of those wish I had a camera moments.They sheepishly say IKEA and I’m like yes is it very big, heads hung the reply of no just two boxes – they then have to go back to the vehicle to get the parcels (not 20 minutes earlier had I spoken to them and said yes I’m here). As I lean on my crutches I can feel the pain searing through me, I get the boxes quickly put in our son’s room it is the nearest to the door anyway, I’m given the clipboard to print and sign, at this point I can hardly focus let alone hold the board. One of the men say he hasn’t dated or put the time, the other clearly being more sympathetic said that’s ok we can do that.
I slowly get back to my chair and my bodies last line of defence kicks in. Close friends have seen what I am about to describe and it is the last thing my body does before going into total shock and shut down from the pain. It is the pain sweats and it lasts for a good 10-20 minutes or I blackout into a pain sleep. Being home with my LG I was panicking that the latter could happen and fortunately I had my medication close by and my parents en route. Now all this sounds very melodramatic I know and perhaps it is because I am doing the photography 101 course but I grabbed my phone and between me and my LG took a series of shots the best of which are below. The shine I promise you in spite of my baldness, and what look like spots around my eye is all the pain sweat and droplets of sweat. This is the ugly face of chronic pain (my face is bad enough I know I will say it before any of you jokers…..)
Fortunately my parents arrived as these images were being taken and helped to settle me back into my chair, supplied me with water and it is simple incidents like this that make our pain so unpredictable, why life is so complicated and why my parents have keys to get in! I now sit here with painsomnia even with my new bed calling.