Oh You’ll Never Cope With Real Pain

I’m not a shining example of an ill human being.  I wish I were one of these people about whom they say “No matter how bad she felt she never complained“.  Clearly – that is not me.

How do those people do it?

I’m in the midst of a horrible gastric thing again.  Awoken early in the morning by a worsening in my abdominal cramps caused (probably) by constipation, trapped wind and spasming in my bowel.  Just for good measure I’m also fighting off a migraine – probably due to the twisty contorted faces I’ve been pulling all night trying to get comfortable and sleep.  Oh and the icing on the cake – a big dollop of nausea too.  Not to mention all the squirming and writhing, rocking and walking, fidgeting and belly rubbing is becoming pretty exhausting now.

So I whimper quietly to myself trying not to wake Growler.  I can’t make it downstairs and I know I’m going to want to lie down just as soon as some of this eases (please let this ease).  But once he’s awake I let go and squeak, growl, grizzle, moan and swear.

I am miserable with the pain and the discomfort.  I want it to stop – please stop.  I try to console myself with all the people in the world (all the people I know) going through worse things than me but I’m still writhing and twisting and sqeaking.

“No matter how bad she felt she always complained”.

It’s times like these I’m reminded of when I was a young girl and had some knee scraping/twisted ankle/earache or another. 

I was not a gracious patient even then it seems as I remember clearly my mom, exasperated, saying “Oh god help you if you ever experience something REALLY painful.” 

It’s kind of haunted me ever since.  If this wasn’t real pain then what was I in for?  Mum’s are always right (ha) so if I do get real pain I’ll never cope with it.  I was hardly ever ill as a child and indeed into my late twenties.  I’ve never (touch wood) broken a bone and never set foot in a hospital until my referral for my back problem in my late twenties.

I stumbled through life knowing that if I ever experienced real pain I was done for.  I thought it was all the more disappointing for my mum as she has an amazing tolerance for pain and keeping going.  When the doctor at the hospital diagnosed her (quite by chance) with an underactive thyroid he told her she should have been dead.  She fought for so long without her GP recognising the condition and pushed past the pain and the fatigue.  Why couldn’t I be more like her.

In 2001 I started getting pain in my leg which I just couldn’t shake.  It took me months to go to the doctor who instantly referred me to the hospital.  When I finally had my back x-rayed my lower discs were (are) compacted and the specialist said these magic words “there’s not many people your age in as much pain as you are“.

I’d been quietly muttering about my “leg pain” for months and months to parental reactions of rolled eyes.  I got the distinct impression they thought I was making it up as an excuse to be lazy.  A year or two later, once I had learnt techniques to minimise triggering sciatic and back pain, I realised just how much pain I had been in and how well I had tolerated it.  The only sick days I took due to my back was a few days when I was so spaced out on painkillers it wasn’t practical.

Now I know this stabbing, grinding cramping isn’t at the top of my pain scale.   In fact it sounds really wussy to complain about it all.  But it’s unrelenting.  I’m not used to constant pain in that part of my body and I’m having trouble coping with it.  I’m having trouble coing with knowing I just need to eat one thing that’s not quite right (probably without realising it won’t be quite right) and I get all of this back again.  I get all this pain and discomfort sweeping down on me and it will take a day or two or three or more to get any relief.

So, yes, I am moaning about the pain.  No, I’m not one of those amazing people who “never complains not matter how bad she feels”.  But I reckon if I am moaning – then it’s probably pretty bad.

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11 Responses to “Oh You’ll Never Cope With Real Pain”


  1. 1 Rachel M May 18, 2008 at 9:00 am

    I’m actually happy to admit I’m the same kind of person as you. “Need to whinge and moan to cope.” 🙂 When I’m in dark and deep bottom of ME hell, (with whinging and moaning) you always give me your understandings for my comfort.

    If you were the one who never complains, you wouldn’t be such a great friend of mine… And if you are the one who never complains, this wonderful blog wouldn’t be existing.

    I say I hear you and keep listening to you. Please let me hear everything in your mind.

    I am also wishing this tough flare up shall pass soon. (((((HUGS)))))

  2. 2 Nina May 18, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I think that “she never complains” stuff is a pile of crap MHO:-) I grew up with people who complained all the time about everything BUT pain, which they never had.

    Pain is our body talking to us. The fact that we don’t understand exactly how to respond is very frustrating. But don’t begrudge yourself the moaning and sounds that come out to help us deal when we don’t know what else to do. Often, that’s the only response body is going to get because we’re so confused.

    Once you get a handle on one problem, you’ll have “space” to figure out other stuff. It’s amazing how much difference just getting rid of one symptom can make.

    Please be as kind to yourself as Paul is to you. Self-care is really important.

  3. 3 rachelcreative May 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks Rachel.

    Thanks Nina.

    Some good points from you both :o)

    I shall try not to be hard on myself. Even on my wimp days ;o)

  4. 4 ashysheela May 18, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Ahh, it’s good to have a good moan/swear/grumble – i make all sorts of funny noises when in pain but also just when having a dizzy-spin-out (woooooo!) if i move too quick or whatever – groaning is my friend, especially when i try to get out of my chair and my thighs say “NO” and i feel like a creaky old lady – i also find sticking my bottom lip out in a pouty way at whoever is looking (even the dog) helps too 😉

    I was also told, by my dad i think, when crying as a child, that things hurt a lot more once you get older… that really scared me as whatever i had hurt really hurt at that moment!! What do they know???

    Pain really drags you down, expecially when it is there day after day after day. I get really down when i get my week-long headaches, or my “funny” nerve pain in my face – i think it affects brain chemicals or something! Don’t be hard on yourself, just get something warm on it (Mr flyman?) and try to distract yourself with some rubbish TV (or whatever works for you) and wait for it to pass… which i hope it does double quick!

    Brokeback Mountain is on tonight, i recommend that!

  5. 5 Connie May 19, 2008 at 4:08 am

    I learned through childbirth that moaning and making sounds when in pain is a coping mechanism that many women use. It is often used in third world countries and has been shunned here in the US. I would assume it is also in Australia.

    So moan away hun. It actually may help. And no way are you a wimp. I believe that with Fibro or ME/CFS (oh please know that I’m not comparing the two) but with any chronic pain, our bodies are more sensitive to pain signals. I always felt pain more than my peers as a child.

    I do hope that you get over this gastro and migraine thing soon. (((HUGS)))

  6. 6 Daphne May 19, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I have so much sympathy for the gastic distress; I’ve struggled with it on and off for a long time. The only thing I find that helps is severely restricting foods and then adding them back in one at a time. When I’m having terrible pains, I don’t eat sugar, wheat, raw vegetables, anything with too much fat or artificial anything. Basically I eat white rice, bananas, maybe some soups. It helps. I have books about different diets to help this, but I don’t seem to fit into any specific category. For instance, today I had a perfectly reasonable Japanese meal for lunch, and now my stomach is in complete turmoil. I have no idea why. Soy sauce? Rice? Salad? Miso? Who knows?

    It is real pain and it’s unrelenting. Whether it’s true IBS or not, I have gotten some good ideas and advice from this site: http://www.helpforibs.com. Her ‘diet’ didn’t work well for me in the long run (I do better when I avoid wheat and dairy doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem), but I go back to it occasionally when it ‘feels right’.

    Hang in there and know that it’s definitely real pain, and hopefully it will feel better soon. Oh, also something that helps, if I’m going to eat anything even slightly questionable and I’m feeling a bit ‘touchy’, I will have a couple Beano pills first (do you have those there?)… that really helps also.

  7. 7 Growler May 20, 2008 at 6:23 am

    The crucial thing is that when you do moan and complain you do it so beautifully – like everything else you do 😉

  8. 8 rachelcreative May 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I’ve found http://www.helpforibs.com very useful indeed. I suppose it adds to the frustration that I’ve adapted my diet carefully with advice and still having this latest episode(s).

    Also that I can eat things which normally are fine and now suddenly have me squirming with cramps. Sigh.

    In the the end ultra cautious eating, lots of water/peppermint tea/fennel tea and twice daily doses of Celevac (soluble fibre methylcellulose) got things … ummm … moving (ahem) after a day and then things started to ease.

    I’m better but still walking a fine line. I also feel generally run down and kind of look it too (my ezcma is flaring up, white streaks under my eyes and so).

    I am certainly not picture of glamour! Yet my husband is STILL flirting with me.

    I agree that expressing pain can help with control and that distraction is a good strategy too. Playing non-stop “Spit” on my NDS (it’s a card game) helped for a while, as did stroking the cat and watching tv.

    Thanks everyone for letting me know I am not a sickie failure ;o)

    Right – off to clusty.com to search for “Beano pills”!

  9. 9 rachelcreative May 20, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Ooooh http://www.beanogas.com/

    Beano is a natural food enzyme dietary supplement that can help prevent gas before it starts. It helps you to digest the complex carbohydrates in your favorite healthy foods. By taking Beano at the beginning of a meal, you can help prevent gas, bloating and other discomfort.

  10. 10 rachelcreative May 20, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Oh ok so as I can’t find them in the UK and as they are made by corporate giant GSK … the active ingredient in Beano is apparently alpha-galactosidase

    So I need to get me some enzymes to take with my probiotics :o)

    Bean-Zyme is an alternative to Beano and half the price – good old ebay has a US seller who ships to the UK for a decent price!

    Did you know Beano is a childrens comic in the UK and makes searching rather interesting ;o)

  11. 11 Daphne May 20, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    That is too funny… I do hope that you find something that helps!! I have the same problem… no matter what I eat, sometimes my stomach just has a mind of its own and nothing I do helps, until it just gets better.


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