So I have been at this for 18 months as of July 4, 2015. I can honestly say that I have never been without pain since the wreck. Living with what is called "chronic pain" is debilitating physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, sexually, and in every manner imaginable. I find myself bargaining with myself. At first all there is - is the pain - everywhere. All I did was hurt everywhere. I remember waking up in the hospital in enormous pain. I woke up in Neurorehab with enormous pain. It seemed that all my memories consist of being in writhing pain and overwhelming bodily trauma and cognitive flooding to boot.
Then I came home to the hospital bed after 3 months in the hospital. Still not mended, pushed myself through literal devastating pain for 12 weeks of outpatient PT and OT and as I would learn later, still broken and untreated fractures that got worse over time (from therapy as noone addressed the fractures). 10 months later I would get the much needed surgery that should have been done in the beginning to plate my ribs and reshape my shattered scapula (which was still shattered and ribs 2-11 still fractured - no wonder I was so miserable for so long). Guess what Dr. _____ (and you know who you are) fractures prove NOT malingering. I wonder how much more handicapped I would be if I wasn't able to speak up for myself. I think of all the patients who cannot and it literally makes me physically ill and overemotional.
Yet I moved forward. Then come to find out that 15 months later I was still fractured. Ribs fractured, body of scapula fractured and a whole LOT of spinal injuries missed, including a partially compressed spinal cord, herniations and bulges as a MRI was never done until Arpil 2015.
I am grateful that my rib plating improved my breathing. I am grateful that I lived through that surgery. I am grateful I survived unsurmountable odds. I am grateful to have been blessed with the home care team I received from Mary Free Bed Home and Community. I am grateful for all the great healthcare providers I have had along the way. I have even got myself mostly convinced that I am grateful to feel pain because that means that I am not paralyzed - which I thank God for every day. I am grateful for the ability to still be with my family.
I am not grateful for the shortcuts taken in my care. I am not grateful for the healthcare providers/specialists who did NOT follow through on my injuries in a timely manner. I believe my recovery process would look much different now, if they had. I believe I may even have been back to work by now if things were not ignored or missed altogether. I am not grateful that I have lost so much of myself since the wreck. However, I am grateful that I can still communicate and advocate for myself. After all, I know me better than anyone. Though admittedly, there are many things happening to me (like Neurogenic Bladder) that are outside my understanding and ability to change.
Stages of grief circle around me on a daily basis. Only 2 things are consistent. 1. I am always in pain. Deep varying levels of exquisite and tenacious spasms, pain, and discomfort. 2. I have HOPE. That hope is stronger and thicker some days, smaller and thinner others...sometimes even rice paper thin and just as fragile. Pain and Hope. That is what is consistent.
Chronic Pain is like a demon that latches on to you and slowly sucks the life out of you. I am determined to believe that good overcomes evil and I will over time be able to manage this pain. I do not know if that entails more surgeries. I know I don't want to live on medications and shots my whole life. After a while those things cease to help. I don't want a temporary fix to mask symptoms- I want a solution.
I do not know what that picture even begins to look like right now. What I do know, is that I am working hard to keep check on my own perceptions and attitudes about everything in general. I refuse to let pain defeat me. I am here for a purpose. I believe that.
I have some appointments pending to have my injuries evaluated. I am hoping beyond all hope that these are the answers that feed my hope and help me get to the next level of recovery. I would not be honest if I said I wasn't nervous. What if they cannot help me....then what? Does this exquisite pain win?
To Be Continued......