Pain, Pain Go Away… Part 1
When my mother closed my apartment door as she left, the sound of the door shutting echoed through my mind, signaling I am now alone.
With boxes stacked waist high and no one to assist me on a daily basis, it struck me how hard my transition to independence was really going to be. When I was living with my mother, independence with a disability was a theory, but now it was a reality.
Since the first time I became ill, I wondered if I could survive.
The door closing sealed my decision to live alone, but my fate was determined when I signed my name on the lease a few weeks earlier. I committed the next year of my living situation before I learned I would not just be recovering from my surgery, but from a condition that could alter my very livelihood.
In fact, it was a week before I signed my lease, when I had the ER experience from hell. But the ER experience was just a blip in the painful hell dictating my every move–or non-movement.
Getting no relief from this ER experience, I then went to Northwestern ER; but received no answers, just more Dilaudid. I was so high on this strong narcotic and still in so much pain I had to reschedule my moving day.
Two days later, I received a phone call from my neurosurgeon. Apparently word had circulated to him about my condition and the lack of help I was receiving. During our conversation, he actually listened to what was wrong with me and referred me to a pain management specialist.
I had deep reservations about going to a pain clinic. I felt my doctors were putting me out to pasture because they could not figure out what was wrong with me. The search for an actual cause of my pain would end, and I only would be given more medication to conceal the pain. Despite my apprehension, I made an appointment for the following Monday.
I soon learned when making an appointment at a pain clinic, you must also consult with a psychologist at their facility. My theory is they want to make sure you are not a “pain seeker” or have a propensity to abuse prescription medication.
So when I actually sat down with the psychologist, I was guarded and had stockpiled verbal ammo for my defense. I stared at her intensely, dismissing her efforts to make me comfortable. She asked me probing questions about my current medical condition, about past and current drug usage, and about my other emotional stressors, such as familial ties and past traumas.
With each question, I shifted positions in my chair. My shoulders inched higher with tension. I began clinching my jaw and incessantly tapping my finger on my thigh.
I had already seen a neuropsychologist. I started seeing him about two months after my brain surgery and stoke. I had already told him all of these things. When I last met with him in January, I was in a good place. I had come to terms with my deficits and the challenges I would have with forging a new life. He was impressed with my progress and the decisions I made for my life going forward.
This is so repetitive. This is so pointless. Emotionally, I am fine.