Welcome to the first ever guest blog on ThatChronicPainGuy! The following speaks for itself. If you’re interested in being a guest blogger please contact me. Living with chronic pain, a carer, a friend, a specialist? Let me know, I’d love to have your thoughts and continue increasing awareness of chronic pain in the community.
I’m Josh’s wife. I’m also his carer when he needs one. Which is less often these days, thankfully.
Over the years I have observed a number of factors that help Josh to manage his condition, distract himself from the pain, and keep a positive attitude. Comedy has a big impact on Josh’s ability to cope. When the pain is at the top of the scale, Josh has taken every pill that he can and is either waiting for them to kick in, or they are simply not enough, I remind him to watch some comedy. He gets some rest and distraction.
On a day-to-day basis he has me… Luckily, I’m hilarious.
Coping with chronic pain requires a strategy that is 50% physical and 50% mental, and that’s just for carers.
I will never understand what it’s like for Josh. It brings me to tears when I try. However, we have all had moments when for whatever reason (sleep deprivation, stress, alcohol, brain fart) our bodies do not cooperate, and simple tasks are ridiculously difficult. This common ground we share. Although, I don’t have the pain to go with it.
I need to find humour in challenging situations in order to lighten my attitude towards our daily living as much as Josh needs the distraction from the pain.
I also have a cheeky, dark humour and often can’t help myself.
On a bad day, Josh often needs assistance moving from one room to another and Chuckles (his cane) often lives in the car for days out. As a result, after assisting him out of the chair/lounge/bed/shower – or sometimes because we enjoy the challenge of the hammock or floor – he will place his hands on my shoulders as I walk in front of him. In this position I have several options. Picture the Conga line dance, one of my favourites; as is ‘can you smell that?’ Sometimes I have to wait a few seconds to get a small giggle. His meds and the pain can delay his cognitive processing but if I get that giggle I know he’ll be okay. No giggle equals the next stage of pain management – stronger meds, massage, sleep etc. It’s useful for me to gauge where he is at without the annoying ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘are you OK?’.
One day we were at the local shops. Josh was having a grumpy, stubborn day and left Chuckles in the car. Sometimes I forget to pace myself with him and end up several strides ahead. For those of you who know us this is funny. Josh is 6” 2 with sexy long legs. I’m 5” and a quarter of an inch, and my legs were an afterthought. I have always had to take two steps for every one of Josh’s. How the tables have turned. On this particular day I was in fine comedic form and turned back to Josh and said, “Come on hop-a-long”. He loves these pet names. As he was a little further behind than I realised I had to project my voice and in doing so caught the attention of two senior ladies who did not approve of my humour and were not shy in expressing it. It’s always senior ladies…
Josh burst into laughter.
I’m going to assume it was my wit, but his laughter may have been at the shade of red my face had quickly turned. Either way it was a mood changer, so who cares.
Here’s to us ‘Keeping it light’,