Tag Archives: pain

The Power of Nurturing

I have always been the caregiver. Ever since I can remember, even as a child I chose to be the care giver in every relationship. I was comfortable in that role. I was good in that role. I found the role satisfying, and rewarding.

I was born with asthma. My frequent hospital admissions allowed me to get to know the staff and the other patients quite well. Watching the nurses do their job, was one of my pass-times. I would watch them interact with each other, the doctors, and the patients. Next I started comparing each nurse to the other, silently critiquing them. I would observe how they treated the other patients, and the reaction or result obtained. From that I would think about the more desirable situation, sometimes even to the point of wondering what might work better. I remember, even as a child being uncomfortable with how disrespectful communication between either nurse/doctor or nurse/patient would result in less desirable responses. As you are reading this you may be thinking this is a peculiar activity for a child. Maybe it is, but it was me. That is just what I did. Action plus action equals reaction equals effect.

The more I did this, the more detail I was looking for. One of the specific interactions I would observe was with a patient named Brian. He was born with a “water head” is what I was told. Later I learned more about the congenital anomaly hydrocephalus, but at the time all I knew was that he had extra water in his head. He spent all of his time in one of those large metal cribs, mostly laying on his left side. He would make noises, no words. Brian was about the size of a four-year old child, but he was a teenager. I watched for a very long time, before I came to my conclusions. My conclusions were, Brian needed more attention, Brian needed to be taught, Brian needed to be moved around, Brian needed….more. I started to ask the nurses questions. I made some requests, and they did not take a liking to a child asking them to do things for Brian. After some pondering on the topic, I decided it was up to me.

My Mom tells me I was about four years old when I started taking action with Brian. It started with visits. I would talk to him, and ask him to say my name repeatedly. My memory does not leave me with a time sense of how long this took, only that when he was able to say my name, I knew that I was on the right path. Wow, that made me more determined than ever. Look out, Brian created a caregiver monster! Next I taught him to laugh, and say “hello”. As I became more attached, I felt it was my job to insist that he be moved around. His head was flattened on the side that was usually down to the mattress, his jaw as well. This bothered me. I remember the nurses not being happy with me insisting on moving Brian, but that did not bother me. I was on a mission. It became a routine that Brian was up for a period of time each day.

My main reason for describing some of the details of my time with Brian is while I was  spending time with Brian or pestering the nurses about Brian, I forgot about how much I missed my family and friends. I forgot about the time and how slow it goes when you are in the hospital. I forgot that I was having trouble breathing. When I was the sickest in the beginning of each admission, incarcerated in the croup tent, I would will myself to get better so that I could get to Brian. I would think about breathing easy, because I knew that meant freedom earned. I loved how I felt when I was “caring” for Brian. In my little world, I really believed that I was making a difference for Brian. His eyes lit up when I approached him, that was all I needed.

It seemed an easy and obvious decision to become a nurse. My Mom tells me that I told everyone I was going to be a nurse during this time. I always remember that as my plan. I always have a plan, big or small, there is always a plan. 

Once I started working as a registered nurse I knew it was the right choice for me. I loved it so much, it did not seem like a job to me, it was exhilarating. The more I did, the more I wanted to do. There really was not enough hours in a day, to do what I wanted to do. Nurturing is empowering for me. ♥

The other reason for my telling this possibly silly story is, since my car accident I have been trying to balance my nurturing others with my own need to minimize my physical activity, since that is the only way that I can attempt to keep my pain at a tolerable level. In my prioritizing it keeps making sense to stop helping others but it feels so unnatural to me, and it is my “nurturing others” that I am able to leave my own challenges in the dark and focus on something else. Tough choices! Compromise my balance to maintain my balance!! 

I receive a great deal of feedback from people around me, telling me to ask for help or not to do so much for others. Many times I have re-evaluated my personal approach to life and I always come up with the same plan. It feels right for me to accept people for who they are and help those in need, to my abilities. Of course I prioritize, my children come first, then everyone else. I use the nursing process in my daily life. Assess, plan, implement, re-evaluate…assess, plan, implement, re-evaluate..etc. It might sound silly but try it-it works for everything, every situation!

The pictures are of my daughter’s hand, I thought they symbolized my theme as our heart can be expressed through our helping hands! 🙂

Chronic Pain and It’s Effects on Daily Life

pain Pictures, Images and Photos

Chronic pain is a challenge to live with on many levels. The most prevalent being coping with the pain on a constant, daily basis for a long period of time. If the pain is significant enough that if interferes with the ability to work, that is one thing to deal with right there. How do you make money to pay the bills? The financial stress has its own implications.

When pain interferes with sleep, there is the effects of sleep deprivation. Speaking from personal experience on that topic, just the sleep deprivation itself can be horrendous. Fatigue, irritability, decreased or slowed reactions, difficulty coping with stressors, increased stress, difficulty concentrating or lack of concentration and irritability are just a few among the long list of results of chronic sleep deprivation.

After only a few days of sleep deprivation, the body undergoes changes similar to “fast-forward” aging: memory loss, metabolism problems (with sugar and hormones), and poor athletic performance. If sleep deprivation continues over the long-term, it increases the risk of more serious health problems, such as:

  • a weakened immune system
  • diabetic (the body can not process sugar properly)
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity

Since the topic of sleep deprivation alone is such a huge topic let alone sleep deprivation caused by chronic pain, I will write a separate post on it  to expand and share some valuable information. Essentially the sleep deprivation in itself  is shockingly damaging. Please look for that post soon. As I am sleep deprived myself, bear with me on the time line of it.

Activities of daily living that we all take for granted can become a challenge. Self care can become a hurdle each day. My personal challenge with having trouble coping with my activities of daily living was my reluctance in asking for help with personal care. I did not want to accept that I needed that degree of assistance. I was thankful for the help when I had trouble washing my hair or dressing myself, but I found it demeaning that I needed it.

Housekeeping duties are difficult to accomplish. Even the light housekeeping. vacuuming, laundry, washing dishes, even such an easy task as dusting would exacerbate the pain and muscle spasm. It was so frustrating to not be able to do things that were so simple prior to the accident. These activities are so much a part of daily life, that we take for granted being able to do them when we can. Not being able to is not the end of the world, but who is going to do them if we can’t. There is no one to just take over and do them, yet they need to be done.

Yard work. I love gardening. Digging in the dirt always made me feel so good. Watching the flowers and the garden made me so happy. Contact with the dirt actually releases endorphins similar to the endorphins released during exercise. It was so frustrating to not be able to look after my own yard, flowers and garden. Once again this is another topic that I will expand on.

Grocery shopping. Pushing a grocery cart empty of  contents exacerbated the pain and muscle spasms. It took me a long time before I gave in and stopped trying. Call me stubborn if you want, but the voice inside my head just would not give in. Then there is   the motion of taking a weighted object off of the shelf, or out of the freezer and reaching to set it in the cart. At the cash register each of the items in the cart need to be placed from the cart onto the platform. When any reaching with a weighted object past one foot from your body causes the pain and muscle spasm to increase or become unbearable, how do you get groceries?

Chronic Pain Syndrome caused by nerve damage or inflammation requires a slightly different approach. I will elaborate this area as well. Narcotics are not very effective for this type of pain. Finding alternate methods in treating and coping is very important. I hope that this information has been helpful and informative in some way to you.

Please feel free to comment with feedback, questions, or requests. I appreciate your time!

%d bloggers like this: