Adapting alongside Chronic Pain 

You never think your life will change so much, that what you saw as normal, has to be adapted and changed just so you can function.  Every day things that you never gave a second thought now become your first thought.

Taking a shower is different now, before the shampoo, shower gel etc were located on the base of the shower, now they have to be on a shelf high up because I can no longer bend to get them.  Once i have had a shower I can’t bend to dry below my knees, meaning i have to be careful not to slip because of wet feet. Only once im sitting down can I dry everything I couldn’t before.  Getting dressed, simple you may think, not so simple now.  I never thought I’d see the day I couldn’t pull my own trousers up or put my own socks on.  If I can’t manage and Michael isn’t around, I leave it for a little while and try again, or I don’t get fully dressed that day.

Walking carrying food or a drink.  I never even gave this a second thought before, you grabbed what you needed and walked to the table or sofa.  Now I have to have one hand free just incase I fall, or if my back twinges and takes my legs from me and I have to go slow.  My balance is also now shot to pieces so I am extremely wobbly on my feet, try waking up or down the stairs when your balance is wonky, it’s not fun!  

Clothes and shoes.  I always thought I’d stop wearing heels when I was about 60.  Never did I think my wedding day would be my last day wearing heels, and kitten heels at that.  I can’t wear any shoe with a heel now as I have no balance and a bad left leg.  You try wearing heels with zero feeling in your leg and a limp, it’s entertaining, but certainly not safe!  Clothes, well I’ve never been a clothes shopper, if I need something I’ll save up and buy it and what I have will do me till then.  But now it’s all about comfort and how high or tight things are.  Jeans, for example, are ok but they can’t be high waisted or come anywhere near my scar on my back, if they do, it irritates my back and feels like it’s being gripped in a vice.  Shops don’t sell these types of jeans, have you ever seen “back friendly” jeans alongside “skinny” or “boot cut” ??

Bed.  The place you feel comfortable and never want to leave.  Your safe place.  I now feel like a giant useless blob who can’t even get out of her own bed.  How humiliating do you think it is when you can not physically get out of bed and have to be helped,  or you have to crawl to the nearest solid thing to be able to pull yourself up just to be able to walk.  I can no longer just turn in bed from side to side when I want to without thinking, it’s now got to be a planned movement.  If my back is aching during the night I have to go on to my back then maybe to the other side, not easy when your back doesnt want to move with you.  I feel like a car doing a 3 point turn in a matchbox.  Now I’m also wide awake by this point, trying to wish myself back to sleep, counting sheep, pigs, cows, chickens, anything really, just wishing for some sleep.

These are just a few of the daily issues I now face, I now have to think about and now have to plan.  Since when and who decided that this should be the way I live the rest of my life.  Why were these decisions taken away from me?  Why can’t I just sleep like a normal person? Why does it take me 3 times as long to shower and get dressed now?  Why do I have to be wary of walking and falling?  Why can’t I pick clothes I want instead of my back dictating what to wear? 

Believe me, it’s a daily battle learning to do things in a different way, it’s frustrating when all you can think about is “well I managed to do it this way before”.  Adapting means changing the way i do things but also learning to accept that that I can’t do things the way I did before, I’m not able to anymore.  However angry and frustrated i get, I have to remember that this is my way of life now, and if I can’t learn to accept that I have to adapt, im going to get nowhere, and getting nowhere isn’t an option.  I have a life to lead.  

So what if I take longer to do things or do things a different way, that’s who I am now.  Like it or lump it.  

Tell me about ways you have adapted, things you have to do differently and how you cope, comment below! 


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