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Dear Spouse (an open letter)

scoopsscoop Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Dear Spouse.

You are obviously not suffering the same cervical pain that I am because then you would have a better idea of the pain, frustration, and despair that are my frequent visitors. No, I'm not wishing this on you or anyone else, but I do wish there was some way for you to understand what persistent pain feels like, even after taking prescription pain meds.

No I don't smile as much, do as much, or laugh as much as I used to do. Well, it's hard for me to stay focused and I spend a lot of time trying to come to grips with the state of my health. If it seems like I am not spending quite as much quality time with you, it's not because there's another chick on the side - it's because the right side of my neck, shoulder, arm and hand keep telling my brain they are painfully unhappy with life.

I'm also sorry that you can't seem to understand that sickness and laziness are not the same thing. So if you find me sitting home doing nothing, it doesn't mean that I have given up on reaching goals and building a wonderful life. It means that I've been trying to get comfortable while sitting, lying, standing or being in any other position that will make the pain stop for a few moments. If I go to bed early, it's not because I'm not interested in you, it just means I 'm tired of living in the half awake/half asleep-twilight induced by pain meds.

I haven't given up hope. I'm just trying to figure out the rules of the new game that life is playing.




  • Very well put!
    believe me i can relate to that.
  • cc: my husband

    Scoop that is incredibly well written. I wish I could read this to my husband. But he could have written it as well. Being in constant pain does not make us any more understanding. Often it makes us less tolerant. Then the comparison starts - who's pain is worse and who deals with it better.

    We both try very hard to make life as normal as possible. Of course it doesn't always work. We get mad, hurt and frustrated. All I can suggest is to make very visible shows of affection to your wife so she knows you are still there for her. You may want to go to bed but every so often go sit next to her instead. Ask her to rub your shoulders. Or rub hers. Just holding hands is special. When you walk away it hurts so make sure she knows why. Talking is very important when your body can't cooperate.
  • Thanks Kris,
    That is very good advice that I will follow. I'm trying to stay positive.
  • That's a very nice letter and I wonder if you've read it to your wife. I've often posted here and later read it to my husband and end up crying by the end of the reading. He understand as much as any non-spiney can understand.

    I don't know your wife, but most women are nurturers by nature. Unlike men who want to fix things, women want to take care of things, perhaps getting you your pills when you need it, sitting next to you and hugging you when you think you might just bust, or talking through what's on your mind.

    Maybe you can "take advantage" (I don't mean that in a bad way) of her natural instincts and get her involved in your care, whether it's physical, emotionally and/or psychologically. It might help her as much as it helps you.

  • That's a great idea. Perhaps I will read it to her.
  • I asked my PM Dr. to talk with my husband about what I'm going through and he spent over an hour talking with him. I was tired of trying to explain things to my husband and it's still never easy dealing with chronic pain. Even though I'm a Nurse it took the PM Dr. to help him understand a little better. I pray your wife will be more supportive. Thanks for the letter. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Sometimes I've gotten angry at my husband, but after talking to him realized that he's struggling with this as much as I am. This isn't what he signed up for either. After 2 1/2 years, we're working it out. But it's definitely been a process.

  • I'm sorry but nobody signed up for this. I feel very strongly that if you promise to "have and to hold, etc." Then, you must take the "sickness and health," too. What kind of help is an umbrella when it's not raining, or a fan during a windstorm.
  • Hi Charry,
    I'm glad that worked for you, but that does seem kind of extreme. I can't imagine what you said to your doc to get him to spend an hour talking to a patient's spouse, or what your husband must have put you through. I'm glad things worked out. Sometimes I wonder, if situations were reversed....
  • scoop said:

    I'm sorry but nobody signed up for this. I feel very strongly that if you promise to "have and to hold, etc." Then, you must take the "sickness and health," too. What kind of help is an umbrella when it's not raining, or a fan during a windstorm.
    My hubby comes to a lot of my spine related appointments. On the last one, with not great news, I got into a 'self pity' party on the drive home. He saw I was upset, and asked what was up. I just mumbled... "You didn't sign on for this s**t." Without so much as a blink, he came back with. "In sickness, and in Health!" Though still upset, he warmed my heart with that! :) No Scoop, you're right neither signs on for this!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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