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The One with Chronic Pain

Hi there. 🙂

I have inspiration for this post because today was my last day at a job I had for 7 years. Even though it was the first word to come to mind, I’m not sure I can call it bittersweet. There are a few reasons I will miss it, but for the most part, I was very happy to be done with it. While I spent many years really loving my job in the beginning, in the last 3 years, I have had a really hard time with it.

Physically, this job has taken a huge toll on me. I am at a point where I am living in pain every day. I don’t think people realize how strenuous repetitive motions can be on your body. I strove to be the best I could be at my job. I put in my all. I never want to be that person that half-asses anything. Unfortunately, that meant putting my own health on the backburner, even if I didn’t know it at first.

I spent a year on maternity leave and my body must have really enjoyed the rest. When I returned to work, it didn’t take long for it to tell me that I couldn’t handle it anymore. With this job, an injury doesn’t just happen overnight and you are able to explain what happened. It’s a built up long process that happens over time. That’s what repetitive movement does to the body.

This job isn’t like other jobs where you can be put on limited duties like answering phones. I asked to be placed in areas where I didn’t have to reach high. But this job also has a lot of politics. They all want the best stuff. The areas that would be easier on my body are the most sought out. People showed a lot of jealousy, and that was hard to deal with. I was just thinking of my health but to everyone else, they only care about getting the best stuff. I know it’s hard to understand what type of job I could possibly be talking about but unfortunately, I cannot name it for privacy reasons.

My shoulder is what gave me the most trouble. I believe it is from reaching repetitively and for long periods at a time, something absolutely unavoidable at this job. I am in pain every day. Some days are better than others. The worst days, I would be in pain from the second I started work until the second I went to bed. And then I couldn’t get comfortable in my bed because I sleep on my side, and my shoulder couldn’t handle it.

Aside from the obvious pain that occurred while I was doing my job, this injury has really affected my home life too. Washing a dish is painful. Putting a dish away is painful. Carrying bags of groceries in hurts. I can only hold up my son for a very quick torturous moment because I want to keep holding on but I simply can’t. Holding out my arm to pass an item as light as a feather to another person gives me serious pain. I am limited for what I can do for activities in my personal life. Driving range, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. all requires reaching. Hell, it even hurts to take a selfie!

My wrist has also been through a lot. We have handheld devices at work which has left my wrist in pain every day. Just like my shoulder, it limits the things I can do. Sure, I can do things, but only with pain. It’s become a natural part of my every day existence. No one should have to live in pain. It’s brutal and terrible and half of the time, I want to cry because I’m hurting so much.

My knees and hips are in pain every day. I can’t walk far without pain. If I’m in a car too long, my knee locks up. On a long walk, I start limping. I get a lot of stiffness. My hip causes me shooting pain that almost knocks me off my feet. Even if I try to sit down or lay down, I’m crying out in pain from it. I feel like I could go on and on. At this point, it sounds like I’m a little old lady. I promise you, I’m not! I’m 28 years old living with chronic pain.

I’ve told some of my friends and family about my injuries but I feel like most people don’t really say anything or ask about them. My boyfriend and best friend know what I’m going through the most and I feel like they care. But I think unless you are also going through the same type of pain, you won’t fully understand how it feels and therefore, it’s hard to sympathize with. I know a lot of people think some people are milking their injuries or playing them up for whatever reason. That’s why it is hard for me to reveal my pain to many people. I don’t want people to feel bad for me or think I am just looking for attention. I just want to feel understood. When I say I can’t do something, I want people to get that and not question it. If I need to slow down, I don’t want to be judged for it.

Now that I am no longer working at my job, I hope to start feeling healthier. I hope I can get to a point where I don’t feel pain every second of the day. One thing that bothers me so much at my new job is when people say “oh you’re young, you’re healthy!” etc. but they have no idea. They are making an assumption based on my age. I don’t want to tell new co-workers all my problems so I basically just nod and smile but I am wondering if I should start talking about my pain more. I don’t want people to assume just because someone is young that they are healthy. I wish that were the case!

Even though pain in my shoulder, wrist, knees and hip are the norm for me right now, I think quitting my old job will slowly but surely help me mend. I was using my body in ways that were not healthy at all. Now, I do stretches every day to help my shoulder and I try to be realistic about the physical activity I can do, which is actually unrealistic for a mom! 😉 I definitely cannot keep up with my son but I will do what I can!

It feels therapeutic to talk about my pain problems. I have other things I want to talk about but since this went so long, I will keep it for another day.

Until next time!

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