Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sympathy Pains


I'm the kind of person that can be very empathic and sympathetic toward others. I suppose it is because I, myself have been through so much, that it is easy for my to relate to them. I understand the pain, the suffering, the frustration, whatever emotion their circumstance brings out in them. I've most likely been there at some point in my life. This story is a bit different. It concerns my maternal grandfather that I helped care for before he passed away last July. I had been staying with him at night since his return from the hospital in December of 2007. He had always had back trouble from a pinched nerve, even having surgery on it many years ago to help alleviate the pain. Nothing ever worked. He just learned to live with it somehow. While his hip was mending nicely, he was still urged to use a walker or cane to help maintain his balance. Putting his weight on that hip wouldn't help the healing process. For a while he did, at least around the house. That didn't last long, soon he was lurching from side to side, walking without any support, hunched over slightly. At 90, his bones were brittle, hence how easily he broke his hip. His spine already in terrible shape, the lurching and hunching took it's toll. He developed a spinal stenosis. His bones to fragile to operate, there was nothing that could be done, but pain management.


I begin to have pain in my lower legs and the arches of my feet. Mornings were excoriating, I couldn't stand upright or bear much weight first thing out of bed. Slowly I would be able to move about normally, but the pain never went away. I first chalked it up to lifting my grandfather in and out of bed, the toilet or the shower. I was just over exerting myself. I could feel it in my back some days. I kept quite about it and when it hurt too much, I would take some aspirin. After about 2 months of this I was a bit concerned that maybe something else was the cause. The pain went to the bone and into the muscles. It was tender to the touch. Finally one day when my sister was visiting I mentioned to her and swore her to keep it from our parents. They had enough to worry about already.


My grandfather continued his downward slide. His refusal to use a walker or cane out of pride was his down fall. He was bed bound now, unable to move his left leg at all. The nerves were all but severed. What few remained intact only transmitted pain. He finally had to go on Morphine to help control the agony. Oddly enough, a few days after he started the Morphine pills my pain stopped as quickly as they had begin. I haven't had any more since.

5 comments:

Lemuel said...

very interesting!

on a side note, I suffer from back pain (arthritis and wide spread herniations). I can confirm that the pain can be unbearable at times. But I have never known anyone who suffered from back pain to have had any real relief from surgery. Most of the time it got worse. Your story only reaffirmed my resolve to bear the pain and skip the surgery.

afod said...

Here's to many more years of pain-free days.

Sam said...

UD, i once decided to not eat anymore sugar, or any foods that had any sugar in them, cold turkey. For the first few weeks, i didn't even eat anything with naturally occurring sugars (i.e. most fruits). And even as i weaned myself back on to the natural sugars, I was noticing that occassional aches and pains i had--such as slight pain in the feet when first stepping out of bed in the morning, or slight back pain when bending over to tie shoes--COMPLETELY disappeared.

To this day, i believe sugar is poison now, to joints and bones. I certainly have plenty of it, and am due for a total sugar fast sometime soon to renew my evangelism in this area (*he clicks as he eats one more of the flavorless, twelve-months-shelf-life, overprocessed Mrs. Fields cookies that shows up at his office weekly from Quill*)

Sam said...

I hope you've kicked the sympathy pains thing too, btw. We all have enough of our own to deal with!

Jeff Guard said...

You're such a blessed soul for helping those in need--seriously, you get my highest respects!

I also understand your pain. ALL my stress goes to my back...yoga, walking and meditation have helped.

I really, truly believe that smart people, when they have stress they cannot manage attacks the parasympathetic nervous system. Not drama, but tru, honest stress--it manifests in the spinal cord and radiates into the nerves.

Yoga really helped me and continues to this day...you kight also be sitting to long...which can be painful to the the L region in your spine.

sorry for the all unwanted help. lol.

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