Thursday, July 1, 2010
Today's word is Persevere, defined as, "To persist steadfastly in pursuit of an undertaking, task, journey or mission in spite of distraction, difficulty, obstacles or discouragement."
It's a little after 3 AM on Thursday, and for the second night in a row, I find my efforts to engage in refreshing sleep thwarted by pain. Given, tonight's aching and discomfort nowhere nears the horrible pain I endured 24 hours ago. Last night, at this time, I was literally writhing in pain and crying. Tonight, I hurt - a lot, but aside from not being able sleep, it is endurable.
I've chosen the word persevere because for a person who suffers from chronic, neuropathic pain (or at least for me specifically), there are essentially only two choices. I can give into the pain, and let it win, or I can get on with my life as best as I can... adjusting, as necessary, to accomplish what needs to be done.
I went to work today, albeit a little more than two hours later than usual. Several people commented that one look at my face told them it was not a good day, and I hurt. "Go home and rest," they'd say - meaning well. The problem with that option is that:
1.) Going home doesn't make the pain go away, or even abate much. Had I gone home, I wouldn't have slept, and I certainly wouldn't have relaxed at all. Instead, I would have sat on the couch, watching On Demand and worried about the work I wasn't accomplishing; and,
2.) Being at work provided a little distraction. I definitely moved slower and had to fight through several pain flares, but I made it through my day, put out a lot of little fires, provided my department with the level of support and assistance they expect and need from me, and kept my To Do list from growing too much. I also managed to meet my obligations as Shop Steward by attending a pre-negotiation meeting before coming home for the day.
Another example of persevering, or "getting on with life," are the photographic excursions we go on nearly every weekend. This economy has severely curtailed most thoughts of a true vacation in the foreseeable future. These little mini-trips get us out, as a family, to view and enjoy the beauty of our region, afford me the opportunity to play with my camera and are easily modified to meet my physical needs on that given day. We spend time researching festivals and fairs that are scheduled somewhat locally. A partial tank of gas and a tasty picnic lunch is all that it costs - and then we escape to the world of pirates, explore sandy dunes, commune with other animals of the planet, and get some fantastic people-watching opportunities.
My life is very different than the life I had before the pain became such a big part of everyday living. I used to rock climb, and buck hay for my grandmother, and dance the night away. Now, I sometimes don't even have the strength to carry my camera bag, or the energy to stay up past 9 PM. I've had to readjust and reassess my priorities... and how to accomplish them. It's almost like my life is mimicking the economic recession, forcing me to make cut-backs and restructuring how how I use my physical currency. A big difference is that eventually the financial recession will pass. My vigor is not expected to return, so the changes I'm making constitute a modified lifestyle.
The important thing is that I persevere.