Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Living In Pain

Posted By Anonymous

My husband is in constant physical pain. We don’t even really know what’s wrong with him (one doctor said RA, another said Neuropathy), but the pain is so bad that he can barely walk some days. Other days he gets fed up and just yells at anyone who crosses his path. On those days our kids are afraid of him. He’s not physically abusive, but the yelling bothers them a great deal. This morning my 2 year old son was sitting on the couch and when my husband came in and sat next to him, my son cried and reached up for me to pick him up. I’m afraid he will never remember his father any other way.

A couple of weeks ago we all went out to a community fair and had to walk a little ways from where we parked. My husband started yelling at me that I didn’t understand what he was going through (even though I had offered to drop him off right at the gate and then go park and walk back). There was such a hateful sound in his voice and I was so ashamed that he was acting that way out in public, in front of our children and total strangers, that I found myself wishing he would die and leave me in peace.

I know how horrible that is. And I feel guilty for it the most when my husband has calmer moments and sits with me and talks with me and really listens.

I don’t know how to live this life. I hate my job and have hated it for years, but I can’t quit and risk a pay cut and loss of health coverage for my family. One of the few comforts I find (other than my children) is in food, especially sweets, and my weight is out of control.

Obviously I feel for him, being in pain all the time is terrible. But his health and behavior is affecting all of us, and it seems like something has to give.


Anonymous said...

This may be a stupid question but has he tried acupuncture? One of my friends was just diagnosed with RA and started going to acupuncture (in addition to her rheumatist) and the acupuncture has helped her tremendously. And it was covered by her insurance.

Shania said...

Chronic pain can drive a person crazy. Literally. Has he sought mental health help? There are ways that can be taught to help deal with the pain and the mood swings it entails. Best of luck to both of you.

Anonymous said...

What you have described is exactly what my mother goes through on a daily basis. She is the one in pain and those of of around her have had top learn with her mood swings and pain issues. I would be quite surprised if it didn't turn out that your husband doesn't have exactly what my mom does. It's RSD & you can find out more about it here; http://www.rsds.org/index2.html . Not o many physicians are aware of it or how to treat it. You should do a lot of research to find a good doc and treatment plan. My mom currently can't walk for long distances. That's if you consider from teh sink tothe couch a long distance; I don't - but she can't even walk that far. She lives in chronic pain and is cureently wheelchair bound. I wish you the best of luck in getting a very good doc and the right treatment. You may want to consider a family psychologist for the stress your husband, you, and your family is dealing with and will be dealing with.

Avalon said...

Tell your husband that, until the doctors pinpoint exactly what is wrong with him ( and hopefully they will), he needs to DEMAND a referral to a Pain Management Center. They have many ways to make a person much more comfortable in their own bodies and decrease pain....and not all with medication. if he can cope with his pain, it should help to change his attitude. The great thing about Pain management.....they usually also deal with the emotional toll of chronic pain.

Anonymous said...

I second the pain management. Also, have you tried talking to him? I think your letter here sounds quite reasonable, and if you addressed it to him and gave it to him at a time when he wasn't feeling a lot of physical pain, well it might help a little bit, at least to open the discussion.
I can't say what it's like to live with horrible pain, but I'm sure it can take a toll on your ability to be tolerant and respectful. Hopefully he can get the pain management he needs so that all of your lives will be better.

And, I'm wondering if you can try to find another comfort besides food? What about instead of buying sweets, get your nails/hair done, or something else just for you? How about spending a little time with friends? You could take the kids with you if you don't want to leave them with your husband. These are just ideas based on my preferences, obviously you will have your own preferences.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you have to deal with this. I somewhat understand as I have a similar situation. With my husband it isn't pain though, it's anxiety.
He has a lot of panic and anxiety in public and going places with him is usually not as much fun as if I went alone with my daughter.
I don't hate my job so much as I hate the fact that I have to work so that we can barely pay our huge mortgage and I only get about 2 hours with my daughter a day.
I used to indulge in retail therapy but now that we can't afford that I eat too much as well.
Chin up, it can only make us stronger!
You are in my thoughts.

Mouse said...

I'm going to second the acupuncture suggestion and (third? fourth?) the pain management suggestion.

While the level of pain I deal with doesn't sound as bad as your husband's, I've been beyond frustrated that no explanation has been found in the many years I've been looking.

Just recently, my endocrinologist told me straight out that Western medicine doesn't have all of the answers. On her recommendation, I've started acupuncture. It hasn't been long enough to see any definite results, but I'm hopeful. As I've told my wife, even if any relief I feel is just the placebo effect, I'll take the relief.

AgentaEmme said...

My aunt had been in that kind of pain from her tumors in her spine. There are pain specialists available all over the country it turns out. They inserted a "pain pump" and directed the drip right to where she felt the most pain. Now that the nerves in the area are drugged up enough she feels little to no pain in the area. The drip amount can be increased as needed as well. The best part is the drugs go to the right area instead of to the brain... so it reduces the "drugged up" effect of pain killers. I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

I know how hard it is to be in a relationship that you don't think you can tolerate, but feel selfish and guilt-ridden for thinking it. My heart goes out to you.

Tarasview said...

oh honey, I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar situation, and am going to post here later. I feel for you...

Anonymous said...

My brother had the same undiagnosed chronic pain and yes he was absolutely miserable to be around. He finally convinced a doctor to give him the morphine patch, plus Demerol. He also said (& I am not saying run out and buy some) the one drug that completely takes away his pain is Ecstasy.

Anonymous said...

I can relate, as I'm also in constant physical pain. I have chronic pancreatitis--basically, my pancreas is digesting itself. (Besides insulin, the pancreas also produces digestive enzymes.) The pain is severe at times. I have a wonderful husband and stepson, and I try very hard not to let my condition affect them. And I'm able to, because I have proper pain management.

Being in a good pain management program is the only reason I'm able to lead a normal life. Otherwise I'd be in bed most days as it can be difficult for me to walk without painkillers. Yes, I take painkillers. Narcotics. (I'm far beyond methods such as acupuncture.) I'm on methadone as a long-acting painkiller and oxycodone (the stuff in Oxycontin and Percocet) for breakthrough pain. I'm not an addict, I'm carefully monitored by my program, and I've been on narcotics for years. It's very safe. I'm not drugged out or sleepy--no one has any idea that I'm on painkillers unless I tell them. I have a regular office job, I work, I drive a car. People worry about becoming addicts, but the truth is that pain is a much more serious condition, and that people who suffer from real pain rarely get addicted to their meds. You are, of course, physically dependent on them, but that's not the same thing as being an addict, as you're not psychologically dependent on them. If the pain ends, you can break your physical addiction and live a normal life.

I hope your husband can get into a good pain management program. They're not just about narcotics, there's also psychological help, physical pain relief like acupuncture and massage, antidepressants (which seem to reduce pain, aside from helping with depression, which is common among people with chronic pain, as you can probably imagine.

Anonymous said...

I ditto anonymous above. Pain management is the key. I, too, have been on heavy-duty narcotics for 6 years for a severe back issue. And, I'm doing great! I have a very big 6-figure job, I work-out routinely (pilates) and I am the mom of three-year-old twins. I see my doctor every few months, I stick to my pain management routine, and I am fully functioning. Please find a good pain management specialist for your husband. It has the power to change everything.

good luck.