Note: I was going to write a post about all the updates since 2007, but this week happened. And I wrote this instead.
Chronic pain is an interesting thing. You can feel it, oh boy you can feel it, but you can’t often explain it. At least, not to unwilling ears.
I’ve composed several Facebook statuses reading “someone, please come and walk the dog for me” that I’ve promptly deleted because I can just imagine the ‘advice’ I’ll get.
“Take the kids with you when you walk the dog! I do it all the time, it’s easy!” Well, yes. That does seem like the simple solution, doesn’t it? Trust me when I say I have, indeed, thought of that.
My dog weighs nearly 50 pounds. My toddler weighs about 25, maybe 30. My older son weighs the same. I only have a single stroller, which the toddler would have to sit in, because he is horrible at self preservation right now, and would likely laugh manically as he raced away from me onto the road. My older son tires easy, and his legs start to hurt after half a block, then he wants to get into the stroller too. He’ll try climbing into the basket, but it simply cannot support his weight.
Plus, when I bring the dog with us, I have to tie his leash to the stroller handle bars, wrap it around once and use my weight to keep him at bay. This is painful for me, and rather difficult. When he catches sight of another dog (which is always bound to happen), keeping him from taking off is incredibly difficult.
I have, indeed, done this before on more than one occasion. I’ve brought them all to the park. But after we return home, my pain triples and I am unable to do pretty much anything. Heck, that happens when I just take the kids to the park and don’t have to wrestle the 50 pound dog.
Right now, I can’t do that. I don’t have my regular evening help. On Tuesday afternoon, my husband was in an accident at work. He works at a scrap yard, and a dump track axel fell on him and pinned him to the ground. He tore every single muscle in his groin, has extreme soft tissue damage, and a small fracture on his pelvis. He is out for the count for at least a week or two.
Usually, my husband all but completely takes over when he gets home, because he knows how sore I am after a simple day “home” with the boys. He pretty much handles our younger, crazily energetic toddler while I put the older one to bed and snag a nice, hot shower. He will also get the toddler to bed, because our son adores playing the “up and down” game. He’ll claim he’s ready for bed, and once you get him up there, he’ll start crying and demand a bottle. He is relentless and does not stop screaming until you give in. (And yes, that is every bit as irritating and grating on the nerves as it sounds).
He is there to pick up the slack when I need a break, when my pain is too great. Except…he can’t right now. It’s just me, doing the work that we usually share. All day. Plus, I’m bringing him things that he needs, and I’m helping him.
So, I can’t walk the dog, I can’t take the kids with me, and I’m finding myself struggling to ask for help. I’m afraid that people will think I’m lazy (as they often do, because they don’t understand “chronic pain”).
The best way I can describe this to someone who doesn’t have a chronic pain disorder would be using the spoon theory. I need to save my spoons. This explanation typically works better than the “I have a chronic pain disorder” explanation, because most people really don’t understand chronic pain.
Still, a lot of people won’t get it unless they are forced to live with it or they see the affects of a chronic pain disorder for themselves.