As I was writing a post (Evolution: How Being a Patient Has Changed Me) for the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM) the other day, I was reminded of a blog post that I started writing almost 2.5 years ago! So, here's something that I wrote the end of June 2011.
I previously wrote a blog post, Frustration: Loss of Independence & Lack of Compassion, that I'd like to expand upon.
As a person with chronic pain, I'm having to learn to live with limitations that I never had before my accident. The constant, debilitating pain has definitely challenged my autonomy and self-reliance.
Before my car accident, I was pretty independent and autonomous. I loved having my friends and family to back me up and/or help when I needed it, but I also loved being able to take care of myself.
Since my car accident, however, things have been much different. Suddenly, I had to try to learn to depend on others because I was unable to take care of myself. I've never been good at letting others take care of me... which was fine... until I actually had/needed to do it.
I don't like depending on others. But, I think I've gotten better at it... at least better than I was before the accident.
I often cannot make plans to do something. Believe me, I used to be queen of making plans! Making to-do lists used to be enjoyable. Now, it's necessary. If I don't write it down... I'll probably forget it.
I have to see how I'm feeling the day-of an event, which is difficult (physically and emotionally). Then, I have to think several steps ahead about the situation I'll be in... sitting, standing, walking, driving, sounds, lights, crowds, etc... it's overwhelming just thinking about, so it's sometimes easier to just stay home.
Even on short outings, I have to be prepared for a migraine attack, so I have to carry "resources" with me (such as: snack/food, drink, meds, remote for my neurostimulator). It may seem like I'm packing enough stuff for a weekend trip, but I need to have some things on hand... just in case. This is something that many people simply don't understand. I can't just run out the door... I have to be able to gather my things, first.
It sometimes takes me a week from when I need to go to the grocery store, to when I actually go (and that's because my husband goes with me... it'd probably be even longer, if I was on my own). I can drive my car... when I have enough energy and I don't have a migraine. I can go shopping... when I feel up to it. It's so frustrating!
I have become so dependent on my husband. He is supportive on every level... he's such a blessing! He knows how to call my bluff, when I say that I'm alright but I'm really tired/depleted and/or hurting. He helps support me, when I have trouble balancing and walking on my own. It has taken me a long time to get past the "I don't need your help walking," but now I'm mostly just grateful that he's there to be able to assist me. He drives me to doctor appointments, and short shopping trips (mostly for groceries). He takes care of me. ...I'm finally having at least small windows of opportunity that allow me to help a bit more than I used to. :-)
I'm thankful that my mind is still at least fighting to remain independent. I have cognitive difficulties, so it may take me a lot longer to process things... but, I enjoy seeing glimpses of ME, and those glimpses usually come via my thoughts.
UPDATE (November 2013):
Reading through what I wrote 2.5 years ago, allows me to see how much I've changed and grown... what things are the same, and what things are different. Many of the limitations I previously wrote about are still limitations that I deal with on a daily basis. However, I think I've reached a level of acceptance. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but I wanted to include a short note / update at the end of this post.
This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM). Other bloggers will share their posts on this FB page.