Slow and Steady

Posts Tagged ‘Chronic Pain

The workplace assessment

So today I finally get a workplace assessment. The health and safety person came to my work station, and did explained a few things to me. She was lost for words though, when I explained my routine to her. You see when I’m at work, I have to stand up and sit down because my back hurts. While standing, I usually put the keyboard and mouse on a box, so I can reach it, and keep working. After a while, my back hurts from standing so I sit. Then my neck starts hurting, so I lean on the box. By the time my day is over, I’m lying down in the cab home to get the pressure off. It sounds like a nightmare, but I’d have to do the same thing at home anyway.

She sat there for about a minute bless her, and she said ‘ooooooookkk, well, we’ll have to get the screen to your eye level’, and went looking for a box to put the screen on. She did however provide me with a foot rest which was definitely an improvement.

I’m off for a couple of weeks now, and am going to start swimming regularly again, and see how that goes.

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It’s chucking it down with snow outside. I was supposed to go to work today, but if I’m honest I was nervous about being driven in this weather, so I didn’t go in. I’m so happy that I popped into Lidl yesterday to pick up a few bits. It taught me something new as well.

My hands were really cold because after rooting around for gloves, I could only find the left hand for all 3 pairs of gloves I’ve got. I got a trolley for the support. After putting the things back in the car, I couldn’t bend my fingers to take the trolley coin out, and it ended up falling out and rolling under the trolleys. I’ve been having problems with my hands for a while now. I’ll wake in the morning, and if they are open, I have to rub them for ages to bend. If they are curled when I wake up, I have to pry them up slowly one by one.

Look like my local is definitely now the Sainsbury’s that has the buggys.

Have been doing a lot of work on my mind recently.  Been reading up on staying positive, and working through issues. It’s been quite cathartic and I’m definitely feeling a bit better mentally. I had a flare up last week, and I just stayed in bed, read and slept. No point getting annoyed. That is quite a big change for me.

I’ve also been very honest and have told people when I can’t manage. It seems to have stunned a few people. They are used to me struggling to manage, and saying yes when I should be saying no. It feels odd, and at times I’ve questioned myself – If I’m just being lazy, or whether or not they are going to speak to me after, but you know what? Fuck it. Those who know me, and know how stubborn I can be don’t question it, so anyone else shouldn’t matter really… Mmm, even as I write this, I feel a bit anxious. That mindset is going to take some getting used to.

Volunteering. I’ve given it up. I’m quite sad about it, but I think it’s right thing for me to do. For a start I’ve not been going swimming because I’m too sore/tired to go. I think cutting volunteering will hopefully free up some energy to let me go, I can feel the difference not swimming. It’s quite ironic because I wasn’t sure if it was helping.

Also, the organisation simply isn’t organised, and I found myself going there, and the students weren’t there, or they wouldn’t let me know the level I was teaching so I couldn’t prepare any work specific, and ended up making a whole load of worksheet for all ranges.I got a very sweet email from the co-ordinator who has told me I can come back at any time, and thanking me for the work I had done.

My cousin died from cancer recently. She was 34 and has left 2 amazing children behind.

In Jamaican tradition, we support loved ones left behind by bringing food, and celebrating the life of someone that has passed for the 1st 9 days culminating in a huge party on the 9th night. I’ve got my own thoughts on that tradition, but will leave it for the moment.

Now if this had happened before my accident here are the things I would’ve been doing.

  • Picking up the members of the family who don’t drive to bring them down to my Aunty’s house.
  • Making food and buying drinks for the house.
  • Offering food and drinks to guests.
  • Taking my Aunty where she needs to go to get things organised.

That is who I am. In my family that is my role, and while it can be a bit annoying at times, I enjoy it. It makes me happy to help. I feel so lost now that I cannot do these things. It feels like my ID has been taken away, and I don’t know myself any more.  Here’s a text I wrote to my cousin in frustration this week

I hate feeling so bloody useless. Only going to bed now (4am) because the mixer stopped working and as I had already weighed everything out I decided to carry on without it. It all looks and taste awful. I can’t help out financially, I can’t help serve food and drinks, now I can’t even bake without a fucking mixer. What exactly is the point of me being here?

I know it’s about accepting who I am now. It’s just seems like whenever I finally do get acceptance in one area of my life, something else happens in another area so I have to start the whole process again. I’m getting very pissed off with it now. When do the lessons stop?

For the first time in nearly 3 years, I’ve got a cold! It’s being in that office I’m telling you.

Had a flare up at work yesterday, but managed to cover it up until I got in the lift. The receptionist bless her was so lovely. We shared war stories, and she told me how she got to be working there which was sad.

I’ve been trying to keep a note of triggers, and yesterday it was because I stayed sitting down, instead of getting up to stretch when my back was hurting.

Got home and took some of the strong stuff, and fell into a weird sleep type thing. You know when you’re totally aware of your surroundings, but you’re sleeping?

Anyway that messed up my sleep pattern, but I’m going to make sure I don’t get off track completely, and got bed early today.

That’s what my counsellor has said.

Well no actually, I’m slightly exaggerating (drama queen? Me? Never!)

He said I need to let myself grieve for the me who has gone.  Because even if I became pain free tomorrow,  life wouldn’t go back to how it was before. He’s right, it wouldn’t. I’m so scared of allowing myself to get upset, because honestly… I don’t think I’ll ever stop crying

I’ve been in pain since Wednesday. It didn’t help that the cab driver drove like an idiot all the way home on Wednesday.

I saw my doctor yesterday and begged him for help. Bless him, he’s not very good with tears, but he did his best and referred me to a rheumatologist, he doesn’t believe they’ll find anything though.

He said ‘you’re clutching at straws you know’. I asked him whether or not he’d clutch on straw after being in pain for 2.5 years, he didn’t answer, wrote out the referral and faxed it as well as sending it out by post.

He gave me more pills, and asked me loads of questions about my job, like if I get on with the people, and if the work is hard. I think that he was trying to see whether or not I’m making excuses to go back off sick.

I told him how much I was enjoying it, and showed him the text message I got from my manager there thanking me for my work.  He said that I’ve done really well to get myself back, and that I should keep trying at work as it’s only been 2 weeks.

I agree, I think I need to do it for about 4 weeks to make a proper assessment. I’m very concerned that I’ve stopped swimming because of this though. I don’t want my health to get worse for that company, as they sure as hell aren’t thinking of me.

It’s funny, all the time I’ve been questioning if swimming helps, and now I haven’t been, I’ve noticed that my body feels sore and tense. So it’s actually keeping me from feeling more pain. I know now that I’m not going in vain.

I’ve been doing callanetics, and it’s quite nice. It works some really deep muscles because when I did it one evening,(TMI coming up…) I nearly bought back up my dinner, and it was a good few hours after! I’ll be doing them on a empty stomach from now on.

I’ve finally started counselling! I’m so happy because although it’s good to talk to your friends, I feel like a counsellor is seeing me for who I am now, instead of who I used to be. There are also things I just wouldn’t talk to my friends about.

I’m doing CBT this time and it’s very different to the counselling I’ve had before. It’s not just me sitting on a couch talking, it’s very interactive and he challenges me when I say something that sounds too negative. Saying that though, he listens and will accept I have a point. I get set homework some weeks.

It’s made me realise that I’m really not very nice to myself. I kept a thought diary and wow! I would never talk to my friends the way I talk to myself. I’m making a real effort now to be mindful of what I’m thinking.

He pointed out this week that when I’ve slept, I have much more positive attitude to when I don’t.  He said that when I’m tired, I’m really really negative, and so part of my homework for this week is to make 2 different types of sleep routines. One for normal everyday use, and the other for flare ups. After that flare up at work, I came home and slept, then got up in the night until daybreak, and then had to wake up to see him.

After thinking about it I’ve come up with an interesting discovery. For the past few weeks, I’ve not been able to use my laptop because the charger stopped working. I sent it back as it was under warranty, and they apparently sent one out and it didn’t turn up… I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

So the only time I could get online is when I went downstairs, which I don’t tend to do often, and my sister is usually on it anyway. I had a few flare up in that time, and all I could do was take my meds,  read or listen to this hypnosis mp3 I’ve got on my phone. I’d eventually get back to sleep in someway.

For the flare up that happened this week, I took my meds, and then went online. Now I wasn’t doing anything productive at all. Even though I took my meds, I still didn’t fall asleep quickly and I think it’s because I’m up using the computer. So for the next month, I’m going limit my laptop usage and see what difference it makes to my sleep pattern. I haven’t decided on a time yet, I’m going to have a play about and see what is the best for me.

The other part of my homework is to write a little bit each day of how I’m feeling, and how the day went, even if nothing in particular happened. I think I’ll do that, then turn off the lappy and start my evening routine.

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Swimming.

My instructor went away for the summer, and I went swimming twice a week for most weeks. She was very impressed with my progress when she came back. I feel a bit looser than before, and flare ups are happening less often which I’m pleased about.

My skin – My acne is definitely stress related. Up until Tuesday, it was clearing up really nicely. When I woke up after my flare up at work, I had a whole new set of spot. *kisses teeth*

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Teaching – I was a bit anxious about whether or not it had been worth me doing the teaching course because the awful flare up I had in the last few weeks of the course. I did find some voluntary work teaching English on a 1 to 1 basis. I seem to be the only one on my course that has used the qualification so far. The person I was teaching has gone off to college now, so I have a new person who can’t read at all! I’ve been reading up on teaching reading skills, and I’m excited yet very nervous.

So much has happened since the last time I’ve blogged. I’m back at work doing some light duties… Yes, that may come as a shock since I’ve been told my contract will be terminated, but as my Gran says, common sense isn’t common.

I think it’s a tickbox exercise for them, so they can say they’ve done everything they should under the DDA.

Personally, I’m using it to gauge what type of hours I’ll be able to do a week.

The section that I’m working in is quite nice. I find it interesting, but I like computers, and the job I’m doing involves being on a PC a lot. I’m doing something that I’ve never done before, I’m not engaging with the people I’m working with.

I’m doing this for a couple of reasons:

1) I’m not there to make friends.

2) My company is going through a restructure, and they are just looking for reasons to fire people. One wrong word and that’s it.

To be fair, they aren’t exactly trying to become my best friends either. They are professional, and have complimented me on my work as I’ve flagged up a few discrepancies that have gone unnoticed.

Something happened this week that solidified the way I’m thinking.

I had a flare up at work.

Now, I’m only doing 8 hours a week, and even though it’s not a lot by normal standards, it’s a lot for me. Even though I went to college, I had a ‘bed’ I could lie on when my back and neck were both hurting. Unfortunately it is not the case at work.

My back had been aching, so I was standing up and down in my usual yo-yo style. Then my neck started hurting so I took the cushion from my back, and  put it on the table to lay down on. Problem is, that put my back in a funny position. I decided to stay there though, because my neck was more painful than my back at that point.

So leaving time came, and I muttered my goodbyes, and started to make my way downstairs. By now my back was sore, and I was walking with my head hanging down because my neck was too tired to hold it up. Now as I’m walking my back is getting tighter, and I can feel the tears coming, and I’m  like ‘please let me just get to the lift’.

Of course that doesn’t happen, and I end up being taken downstairs in an office chair which has been turned into a makeshift wheelchair.

When I get home, I phone the office as promised, and the manager had already been on the phone to my manager! I thanked her for her concern and told her I’ll see her Monday. She didn’t sound very happy about it, and so I got myself into a bit of state that they were going to make me go sick. I haven’t heard anything from my manager though. So I’m going to leave it and see.

I’ve been so tired, and I was expecting to be, but not this much. I’ve had to cut my swimming out this week, but I need a break. I’ve started volunteering, and don’t want to give it up because it will be good for me to have the teaching experience on my CV.

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When I woke up after crying myself to sleep, I was reminded of a woman I met when I was at the pain clinic. All she did in the week was work and sleep. At weekends, she’d go shopping early on Saturday morning, and then go back to bed.

I can now truly understand how that can happen, and I don’t want to live like that.


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