He was real nice……”
“Most people are Scout , when you finally see them.”
To Kill a Mockingbird
Chronic pain can destroy your life, destroy the life of the people you love, and sadly end your life. But, it can also be a blessing in disguise: maybe it is invisible for a reason? I have written about how chronic pain has made me a better mother multiple times in this blog and I probably just lost half of the people reading this post because who the hell would say chronic pain is a blessing. If you have not kicked your computer (pretending it is me) bear with me. Please remember chronic pain destroyed a huge amount of my life and I truly came close to death because of this invisible illness. I know how you feel, I know how much you hurt both physically and emotionally, and I know many of you are close to giving up. I know both sides of chronic pain: the hellish, crawling out of your skin, wanting to die side and the side I miraculously have come to now at age thirty three. This is twenty years of chronic pain so please remember I get it. This post is not to discourage anyone nor am I ever bragging about where I am today in my journey with chronic pain. This post is meant to show the world that with time and acceptance pain can change your life for the better.
My three year old loves yoga. I was going through all of our pictures yesterday and there are pictures of Kayci doing yoga poses before she was able to walk. She saw me (still does) practicing yoga each morning or doing a cardio workout. She likes to juice, another thing she has seen me do every day of her life in the morning. She loves and appreciates the simplest things: this I do not take full credit for, she has amazing role models and was born an angel. With that said, she is three and drives me nuts at times. I am still a mom to a toddler who while in grocery store grabs things off the shelves, tests my patience on purpose, and loves to pretend she is driving my car when I am late for something just to mess with me. I am still that mom who says under her breathe: “Get in your damn car seat now, I am so close to losing it. Someone, make this kid get in her (curse word of choice) car seat before I scream bloody murder.” She is the best thing to happen to me, motherhood is the greatest job in the world, and a dream I thought was stolen due to chronic pain. However, she is still a toddler and I am still a woman with chronic pain. With that said, yesterday showed me what a blessing chronic pain has had on my life and the life of my daughter.
It is beyond hot and humid where we live. Yesterday was brutal and I cannot wait to jump in the pool this weekend. Kayci and I had a few errands to run mid-day and we were both sweating and annoyed before we even reached the car to leave. Our list included: car wash, health food store, and grocery store for milk. Car wash was fun as always because each time Kayci yells at the men cleaning my car: “You are stealing my Mommy’s car!” I love health food stores, only store I could stay in for hours and oddly Kayci loves them as well. The fact that this little toddler says: “Mommy kombucha and apple cider vinegar” is just nuts. Following a much longer trip to the health food sore than I planned, we ran into the grocery store for milk and yogurt. In and out. I just wanted to get home, and cool down before the remainder of the day arrived. As we were walking out of the store, an elderly woman fell and could not get up. Only two people stopped: a woman my age and myself. Her daughter whom I suspect to be in her fifties had no idea what to do and was in hysterics. If you follow my blog, you know pre-Kayci I was an elderly medical social worker. I walked over to both the woman whom had fallen and her daughter and told them I would help. Kayci is not shy in the least and yelled: “I want to help too! She can’t walk Mom!” Long story short I helped transfer the woman into her daughter’s car and made sure she was alert and oriented to person, place, and time. Her daughter truly did not know what to do and was going to call 911. I calmed her down and told her that my three year old and I would help and if she was able to drive to not call 911 as it is beyond expensive for people on Medicare and she could drive her to the nearest hospital or urgent care. The daughter looked at me and asked me two questions: “Do you think I should take her somewhere, is this an emergency?” politely I said: “She cannot walk love, I would think she needs to see a doctor as soon as possible.” Her second question was: “What do I do with the groceries, everything will melt or rot in this heat.” I asked how far she lived and she lived close so Kayci and I followed her car to her mother’s condo and helped bring in all the groceries. I was so proud of my daughter who is three (still astounds me, she acts so much older.) It was hot and humid but all of a sudden, my three year old is carrying a grocery bag into the woman’s condo. She was helping and did not complain one time. Once the groceries were in her home, I gave her directions to the nearest urgent care and gave her my phone number so she would have someone to talk to once the woman was transferred to a facility. I know most of the nursing homes, rehab facilities, and short term care buildings in our area as I worked for three of them and know all about each one. The daughter was very sweet and said: “Wow, I do not know what I would have done had you not been there. I do not know how to thank you.” I looked at my little girl and said to the woman: “Please, do not thank me. It was more of a gift to us.” With that, they left for Urgent Care and we left to get home. On ride home Kayci was singing to “Daft Punk” and out of the blue said: “Mommy, helping people is cool.” My eyes filled up and for the first time in a long time I felt at peace, even grateful for my bike accident and chronic pain. Without those things I would not be who I am today, nor would my daughter. I am blessed. I often write how chronic pain has made me a better, more appreciative mother but yesterday I knew it without doubt.
I know so many of you are in hell and struggling just to get out of bed. I know how much pain you feel: despair, loneliness, anger, depression, anxiety, and the sense of worthlessness. I felt it for over ten years. I just want you all to never give up as I almost did. You have no idea how much can and will change with time. In social work they tell you to “take the patient where they are at” meaning be their reality whatever that may be. I want to give you the same advice, it is okay to not be okay. Keep remembering this: A LOT can change in a year. Your future is much brighter than you believe. I am here for you along the way.
“You will get there when you are meant to get there and not one moment sooner. So relax, breathe, trust the process, and have faith.”