I want to share a personal story that changed my life and way I look at pain management.
I’m hoping that in return others can see this condition through the eyes of the pt, care giver and nurse.
I’ll skip the long story about what happened to cause the pain.
But know that this is about my husband “Jeff” and he is still effected by this 9 yrs later.
He had NEVER taken anything stronger than an OTC analgesic for anything.
He was an outgoing, loving father & husband. Hard worker who had dreams and goals.
He was a people person and people really liked him. He was spontaneous, fun and funny.
He was my best friend. I can not say these are true now.
When he got hurt “it was life threatening” he literally had pain from his head to toes.
All the areas have different sensations of pain that would change in severity. Some areas change in sensation.
He went from my husband to someone I didn’t know over night.
He sank into a deep depression and seemed like he wanted to pull us all down with him.
He was angry at me, God, life and took it out on everyone
Understand he is NOT a med seeker. He refuses to take the amount of medication the drs have tried to get him to take.
He said he’d rather have pain than not be at least somewhat functional.
Over the years of him having Chronic pain he has developed coping mechanisms.
Depending on the pain level and the sensations he is experiencing at the time what coping mechanism he can use.
A few of his mechanisms are those that nurses / providers criticize pt’s over. Which are sleeping and laughing.
Chronic pain pts they have had the time to adjust to develop coping mechanisms that acute pain pt’s can not achieve.
Just because someone is asleep or laughing does NOT mean they are without pain. This may be their way of dealing with it.
They have become accustom to having to live with this pain on a daily basis. If they didn’t develop ways to mgt it mentally it would completely break them inside and out.
You have NO idea what these pt’s go through that you criticize for wanting their pain meds.
You have no idea what the care givers go through seeing them going through this ordeal.
You are not there in the middle of the night when they are in a fetal position, crying to the point of gasping begging for the one that is there to kill them.
Your not there when their pain is so great and they can’t handle it and they break out in a sweat and start vomiting for hours or days and have to have IV fluids and IV analgesics to get them back under control.
You not there to see this person or the care givers spirits broken because of the increase stress it brings to their lives.
You are not there when making love is not an option for a couple when 1 of them is in too much pain.
You are not there to see the tears rolling down the wife’s face because she can’t remember the last she was able to really hug her husband.
You are not there when the pt so desperately wants to do activities with his family like swing the kids around or run beside a the bike as their child is learning to ride, but just isn’t able to anymore.
And you are not there when the family has to plan their whole lives around the physical pain of a loved one.
I have been there, I have lived and still do live this.
Pt’s come into the office and nurses or providers say ” Oh all they want is pain medication”. YES they DO want it so they can be somewhat functional, have some kind of quality of life, not have to live in such pain that they want to die.
So YES they want their analgesics
Or they tell you they are not effective as they once were and a changed is needed and you say “all they want is stronger pain pills”.
Well…duh….they are not working like they once did. Over time a person builds up a tolerance and the medications have to be adjusted to achieve desired pain mgt levels.
And then there comes Rx for depression and anxiety. These go along with chronic pain.
You CAN NOT have a chronic pain pt and expect them not to be depressed about the effects that the pain has on their daily lives. Or expect them not to have anxiety.
Anxiety over not being able to afford your meds, or that the people who are supposed to understand you tag you as a “med seeker” without cause, anxiety r/t humiliation having to go to the pharmacy to fill them and thinking everyone is looking at you.
These patients deserve just as high quality of care as any other pt. Do not judge your pt’s because you really have no idea what they go through.
As a nurse and a wife/care giver of a Chronic pain pt I can tell you it is not easy to deal with on any level.
Please before you go saying negative things about these pt’s stop and think. Put yourself in their place.
And first and foremost…REMEMBER “Pain is what the patient says it is”.