My name is Hyatt, I am a 31 year old female who is trying her very hardest to balance herself in her daily battle with coping with chronic pain. Almost two years ago I was in a terrible car accident, when a car had pulled out onto the hwy in front of me (had not been looking) and braked, bumping me into an oncoming semi truck. I thankfully, suffered only 15 broken bones, and sustained several injuries, including the tragic loss of my child, which I was pregnant with, just over 3 months. I spent the majority of 2014 between a hospital bed and wheelchair, and began ambulating late 2014, however with extreme pain and several sites of arthritis. I am currently awaiting another surgery or two to hopefully relieve some of the tension and pressure on my right ankle joint, where all the cartilage has died, however, I am not able to walk without assistance and a boot, and without a great deal of significant pain.
Despite my injuries, I have been grateful for life, and I have always tried to maintain the "glass half full" mentality throughout my recovery. I was a very active person before my accident, I was always hiking, taking my dogs for runs, traveling, going for adventures in the forests and woods of my locale (I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon), skydiving, taking impromptu weekend excursions; you name it. I had a very get up and go, extremely active and busy playlife. On the other hand, when it came to work, I was just as devotedly active. Since I was 14 yrs old, I had worked and gone to school full time about, worked multiple jobs at once, I was the poster-woman for burning the candles at both ends; if a candle could have a third and fourth end, I would have burnt through that as well. At the time of my accident, I was managing a Starbucks store in Salem, OR, (a recent promotion) which was a 35 mile commute from my home, and working on my second master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. I had always been a go-go-go-getter, and even with being pregnant, I was still maintaining an active lifestyle, but trying to slow down in areas that were necessary to be a healthy mother.
Then one morning on my way to work the accident happened.
My life changed.
Things slowed down to such a point for me, I had to put all that energy I had before my accident into my recovery, and I did. It became my focus, to recover to the best of my abilities. It is still in process and I imagine always will be. However, I guess what brings me here, is trying to find myself again, now that I am physically restrained. In my mind, I guess in the beginning of my recovery I just made a mindset that I would be back to normal some day, and refused to address any other reality. I worked hard as I could, and I have gotten where I am today, but that is no where near my "back to normal." Normal now, is pain, and managing that pain. I worked my butt off to get off all the pain medication I could, I guess I thought if I could get down off the pills, if I could feel more normal, less reliant on them, perhaps I could become more normal. There was a point where they had me on intravenous dialudid, 60 mg of oxycontin, 24 pills of oxycodone, and 3600 mg of gabapentin a day, then transitioned me to methadone. I worked hard to ween myself down, and in all honesty, I probably should be taking more than I am now, but I really, for me, believe the pills only do so much for my pain. The pain is always there no matter how many pills I take, unless I want to not have a functioning mind, so I decided to just manage with the pain, and take enough pills to take the edge off. Now, I am proud to say that I only take a 300 mg 24hr tramadol pill and 1- 5mg oxycodone at night. But I feel that at the least, my brain is close to what it used to be pre-accident, minus sometimes stress and pain can really play a number on it at times.
As cliche as it sounds, and the best way I try to explain it to the "non-painees" out there is, I live everyday for a 3. A 3 is my normal that I want to achieve, it is my baseline, and I have had bouts where I have been at a 3 consistently. However, even trying to explain that to my loved ones, it still makes me feel so set apart. They don't understand. I know this sounds a little deranged maybe, and maybe some of you can relate to similar experiences, but I remember once my husband was prescribed Percocet for tooth pain, and he took one and it made him woozy and dizzy all day and he couldn't leave his bed. I told him, imagine taking 24 of those a day-because I essentially did, I had taken 24 5mg oxycodone a day at one time in my recovery. I know it sounds a little mean of me, but it was one of the few times, that I felt he could actual maybe have a little understanding of part of what I go through.
It is so hard not to feel like a burden. I think it hit this last summer the hardest, we had gone up to the river with family for father's day, and we kept making stops and having to move because they were not accomodating for me. And the spot we finally went to, I could tell was not as satisfactory, even though everyone was saying it was fine, not a problem. I began to feel my disability. I used to be Hyatt, I could go down any side of a mountain to a river bank, no problem, now I had to be carried and assisted, and it had to be scouted to see if it would be difficult to help me up and down. That experience started to set off a chain of thoughts, and with experiencing my pain on top of it...it didn't send me to a good place.
So here I am, having another really down ebb...I have been in supremely terrible pain these past few days, and I cannot get out of the funk of feeling like a burden. I know logically, my loved ones do not want me to feel that way, but I cannot help to feel that way. No one knows how it feels to scream in pain from the other room, and no one addresses it anymore because it has become so routine, so everyday, so normal. Then it makes me feel like, that is all I am, pain. My pain can never worsen or get better...because I am always in it, always suffering. I hate that. How do you get passed feeling like that's how you are seen? Even by your loved ones...or do you really ever? Do we just learn to better accept it ? Thank you for letting me share today