If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or at work, you will know I have been very low for the last week. The main reason for this is a major flare in my leg effected by CRPS. I was sent home from work near the beginning of September and took about 10 days off work due to major spasms and burning in my leg. I managed to return (much to my delight) last Saturday. I survived two morning shifts and half a late and was sent home again for (and I quote) “Sounding like crap and looking like death warmed up”. Sadly, this didn’t do much for my mental state, as it felt like I was letting everyone down and failing miserably at being a provider for my family. I was followed home by one of my supervisors and just cried all the way home.
The next day, I went to see my GP (again) who cave me increased doses of my meds and told me to take a month off work for depression and to get used to the tablets. So I know have the rest of October to cheer up, get used to the tablets and rest. Something which, sadly, is not easily done.
Being a husband and father of two is hard enough. But when you have a debilitating pain condition like CRPS, then doing all those ‘normal’ husband/father things are made a lot harder. I can’t run after my boys and play on the floor with them (although I sometimes do). I can’t just vacuum the apartment, do the washing up then put a wash on. All this causes me extreme pain. Getting out of bed in the morning is painful. Putting on a sock is excruciating, although if I don’t my feet freeze. Walking round the flat requires me to use one stick (two if I’m bad) which means getting a cup of tea is difficult.
-“Can’t you just take more pain meds?” People will (and have) ask.
If it was that simple, it wouldn’t be a disability. If it was just a matter of taking a couple of tablets a day, then sure I could cope. But I do take an increasing amount of tablets which only just allow me to cope with everyday life. If you know me, you’ll know I’m usually quite a bouncy, upbeat guy (or at least, try to be). When you are getting bombarded by pain signals all the time not only your leg, but also your hips (because of your funny gait), your hands (I suspect because of encroaching arthritis) and back (due to having to find odd positions to sleep in), it get’s difficult to deal with day to day things.
What I’m saying is that we all go through peaks and troughs. We need to celebrate the peaks, and fight through the troughs. This is best and easiest done with a good support network. I am VERY fortunate to have a great support network. I may not make the best use of them (by talking and sharing my struggle), but please know this is not a slight on you, it’s because I close in on myself. Knowing that you are all there for me when I’m ready to talk is great encouragement to remember the peaks and climb out of the troughs. I may have said some very silly things in that trough, and if I worried or scared you, I apologise. I have a bit more sense than to do those things, but I know hearing them isn’t nice.
So thank you, you all helped me climb out of my trough and proceed to my next peak. I will return the favour if you are ever in need.