CRPS/RSD Photo Challenge – day 3: Share a Photo of ways you cope with pain

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Yesterday, I was asked to show you a picture of ways I cope with CRPS/RSD pain. This photo, shows you the majority of ways I deal with my pain. I must confess, however, I take a lead from one of my friends who is also a sufferer and taking this challenge on the facebook group. My apologies to you Lynsey, but I guess we both have similar ways of coping.

Laptop (top left)

The laptop signifies my writing and coding which help me to escape my pain. I have so far written two manuscripts which I edit in slow time . I’m also learning to code HTML and Java. It is my hope when I have finished this, I will turn into a freelancing business from home, thereby no longer having to stress myself out getting to work. I mainly write fantasy, which also helps in my escapism.

Buddhism (top right)

I was raised a Christian, but found that Buddhism spoke more to me than the teachings of the bible. It has helped me see this disease as nothing more than Karma and not luck, melovolance or anything else. I have also come to see my suffering as a good thing. This may sound strange, but in my view, if I have this disease, then that’s one less person who has to deal with it. Maybe this is somewhat foolish thinking (as I doubt that Karma takes into account the amount of disease to spread round, but it makes me feel a little happier).

Batman (middle right)

I have been a Batman fan since I was a young boy, collecting stickers to enter in a book. I have only recently rekindled my love for the capped crusader, and have been watching videos and films, reading comics and books and playing games and role play on Batman, which I find very escapist and soothing.

Kindle (and/or other books)

Any other kind of reading, whether it be general fiction, HTML or Coding books or self help books, I find very relaxing. Ever since I finished a book cover to cover for the first time at the age of 14, I’ve been hooked on reading. My favourite fiction author is Lee Child. I just love the character of Reacher (no, not the Tom Cruise version).

Tablets (mid centre)

The tablets quite clearly are my most regular coping technique as I take 11 ½ tablets a day spread over three occasions (and trust me, that’s low compared to some of my friends). I don’t appreciate the constant side effects that all these drugs give me, but I’d be worse off without them.

Earl Grey Tea (mid centre)

Earl Grey tea is my go to for relaxation tea. My other is Green Tea. I originally started drinking Earl Grey because it was Captain Jean Luke Picard’s drink in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was one of my favourite programs as a kid. I find the smell instantly soothing as he often would have it as a refreshment when contemplating a difficult situation, or giving council to one of his officers.

Gaming (bottom left)

As I already said, I find gaming another great escape from my pain. Inside the world of gaming, I can explore deep and mysterious caves in Skyrim, or zoom round the streets of San Francisco in Driver or, better yet, jump off rooftops and swoop in on criminals and solve clues as The Worlds Best Detective (Batman). I think what I enjoy most is that in all these games, I’m not walking round Gotham with a stick or looking to see if the cave is accessibility friendly. I can walk again, without pain or sticks.

Walking Sticks (bottom)

Having just cursed them, my walking sticks are another coping mechanism. They are quite literally a crutch. If it were not for my sticks or my wheelchair, I would not be able to get round the flat. My leg often gives way, and the sticks help me to keep stabilised.

If it were not for all these things, along with the support of my family (mentioned in my previous post) my pist-CRPS/RSD life would be unbearable.

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To a Real Life Hero

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Today is a very special day for several reasons.

  • It’s six days till I return to work
  • It’s Joe’s Ninth birthday, and
  • It’s Lorna and my Eighth wedding anniversary

I mention all this because on this day, I want to pay special tribute, publicly, to a real life hero of mine.
If you know me, you’ll know that I love comic book heroes, in particular Batman for his unwavering pursuit of justice and doing the right thing, even if it’s wrong whilst all along respecting the sanctity of life. My favourite comic publishers, DC Comics (home of Batman, Superman and Green Lantern to name a few) are currently running a competition to find real heroes. The premiss is that you nominate your own hero by posting a short video stating why you think your champion should win. People vote, and the video with the most votes wins. I was going to enter until I read that the competition was only open to US citizens (not for the prizes, but to show my deep appreciation for my hero) . So instead, I thought I would show my appreciation like this.

Whilst my hero doesn’t stalk rooftops in a cape and cowl, or smash their fist into people’s face till they gets what they want, they do stand up for freedom, independence and justice. “Who is this wonderous paragon?”, you may ask. It is quite simply my beautiful wife, Lorna.

Since I become disabled with CRPS, Lorna has taken up the slack I have gradually let slip more and more in all areas in our family. She runs this unit as best she can with three dependants begging for her attention. She does all the housework (don’t let her fool you into believing she loves it), the shopping, the cleaning, the mending, the cooking, the bathing, the first aid, the refereeing between her two boys and me, the money management and the moral supporting whilst holding down a day job and making it look like she does nothing. There are times that I have to remember that she is running this family, not me, as I often think I am.

Some will say that all the above is ‘her job’ as wife and mother which, while not the description I would use, maybe true, but what she does on top of all this is care for me and Ashley. Although our little three-year old is growing and slowly becoming more and more independent, I am going the other way. Lorna has had to lift me off the toilet when my legs have decided to give up, out of the bath or off the floor when I have fainted and made sure I have a never-ending supply of tablets to control my CRPS. She has phoned me on a daily basis to make sure I am ok and to keep me company, she has been a shoulder to cry on and a voice of reason in my (many) darker moments. She has even paid through the nose (along with thousands of pounds from her parents) to make sure that my life is as comfortable as possible. We have bought an ever-increasing amount of mobility aids from walking sticks (singular, then plural), walking frames, wheelchairs, mobility scooter, perching stools, bath boards, softer clothes, comfier chairs and beds, numerous smaller aids and two cars big and soft enough to allow me to have a more comfortable life.

Not only has she done all this without uttering a single word of complaint, but she has done it all whilst battling her own health problems. Even when she has felt low, ill and just wanted to curl up in bed, she has made sure that both the boys and I were comfortable and content first. She has continued to be a mother, wife, lover, listener, confidante, carer, driver, Physio, butler, maid and cook.

These list of accomplishments and gushing praise pales in comparison to what Lorna has done for me, and I know I will, sadly, never be able to thank her or repay her enough for what she has done. So let me say now, publicly, with readers as my witnesses, that I love my wife, and declare her my ultimate real life hero.

Thank you Lorna, from the bottom of my heart. You have done for me more than you can imagine and I can only hope that your reward will be countless, if not in this life, then the next, and many more after.

Week end!

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Wishing all my tumblr/Twitter/Facebook friends a lovely week end.
To those who suffer an illness, I hope it’s short lived and allows you to have fun (as best you can).
To my writing friends, may the muse move you to write the next best seller (as long as its not my idea). May your inkwell never run out or your computer not falter.
To any Baseball fans, may you enjoy the game whether at the park or at home. Catch a foul ball or home run for me while you’re at it.
To my Buddhist friends, may you not suffer and reach nirvana.
To my tech/geek friends, may you dismantle something and there not be a screw left when you’ve finished. May your coding be error-free and your hardware not have gremlins.
To all parents/grandparents, may your children/grandchildren behave and do as they’re told and, most of all, give you endless joy and giggles.

To all those enjoying the Jubilee, have fun, don’t get wet and stay safe.

Have a good week end everyone!