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    What NOT to Say to Someone in Pain
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    Caprice_WebMD_Staff posted:
    We've all been there when a doctor, friend or family member says the wrong thing to us when we're just trying to cope with our pain and still live a life. Sometimes they're just judgmental or poorly informed, sometimes they're even trying to help, but either way....

    What kinds of things have people said to YOU about your pain or pain management treatments that have rubbed you the wrong way? How did you handle it?

    What would be on your list of what NOT to say to someone in pain?
    We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell
    FirstPrevious12NextLast
     
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    end_of_rope responded:
    Here's one I've heard from numerous people in my life
    "Are you sure it's real or maybe it's just in your head"
    NEVER say that to someone who is in constant pain.

    Roe
     
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    CTBeth replied to end_of_rope's response:
    How about, "I've known people who've broken their necks and they are paralyzed from the neck down or they have died immediately. Do you KNOW how LUCKY you are?"

    Am I so lucky that I have had eight major reconstructive reconstructive surgeries, spent months in a body cast, months in a full-leg casts, have a battery in my butt cheek to run my electronic neuro-stimulator, have to take meds that cause constipation and sweating, have my legs spasm (spinal nerve damage) and tremor (spinal cord damage), have had to leave my beloved profession, walk with an uncommon gait, wear an Aspen brace for four hours per day, have to use urinary catheters, cannot feel my feet, cannot walk up or down stairs by myself....and this is just the ordinary day stuff. When I am having a bad day, I'm in bed crying and rocking.

    I KNOW that I am lucky to be alive, but this does not mean that my life is anything near-to normal.

    I seldom get angry, but it is saddening when persons who have no idea what living with chronic severe pain has done to my life tell me that I'm "lucky".

    Does this sound as if I'm contra-indicating myself?

    Again, I don't get angered, I mostly feel isolated that people have the expectation that because I lived that I should be ever-aware of blissful gratitude, but the reality of how tough my life is now does not seem to be considered. Yet I do know that I am lucky still.....confusing- right?

    I don't "vent" much; it felt good :)

    CTB
     
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    TDXSP08 replied to CTBeth's response:
    Bet you know public service was my life before i became disabled and i worked live in 24hr duty for 3 years for a full "quad" and his life was not a bed, between phantom pain and anxiety and his need to depend on his aide to do everything for him from preparing his meals and feeding him all the way down to moving his bowels for him every other night, it was an exaughsting job and three years with 1:00 hour off on thursdays as your only time off contributed to a high turnover rate most people stayed a year or so but , i'm a hard head and stayed 3 years,Gave the guy some sense of continuity in his life.

    peace
    i have no small step for man, but i have 6 tires for mankind,Watch your Toes!
     
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    Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to end_of_rope's response:
    Good one, Roe.
    We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
     
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    Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to CTBeth's response:
    Vent here ANY time, Bet! It was a good vent.
    We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
     
    avatar
    CTBeth replied to TDXSP08's response:
    Yes, and I am an RN. I worked at Gaylord Hospital on the spinal cord injury unit. Paras and quads fresh post-injury. I loved my job!
     
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    Kelly_30 responded:
    Hi everyone,

    Great post Bet!

    For me a coworker who knows I have been dealing with chronic back pain the 10 years I've been on the job tries to make casual conversation with me in the restroom and says, "My back is killing me today!!!" Then she says, "So how is your back?" I tell her, "It's definitely not getting better and it's probably a bit worse." Then she says, "I probably just slept wrong, I going to take a couple of tylenol and call it day!"

    Grrrr...this woman knows I am on pain pills and I just feel like that was such a smart remark to make! She's basically saying "all I need is some tylenol whereas you need to pop pills all day". I just felt so much like an outcast when without my medicine, I would be bedridden. Perhaps, she didn't mean it in the way that I took it but I bet you she wouldn't say something similar to someone who has a more visable illness (one leg or arm, or in wheelchair) because that would just be plain rude and nasty. But if you look okay on the outside, like Roe said, people perceive it to be all in your head and they think you are some sort of hyprochondriac!

    Great topic! It felt good to vent that out. Thanks all. :)

    Kelly
    Living one day at a time.
     
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    mikejeep2010 replied to Kelly_30's response:
    While we are at it....I get a lot of doctors telling me that im too young to be in this kind of pain. What does age have anything to do with it? I feel that I can't get adequate help because of my age. I've been dealing this ongoing pain for 4 years. I feel like a criminal when I ask for my medications to be changed. Feel lost and helpless. Thanks for listening. People just don't understanding the challenges we go thru with chronic pain. Mike-cincinnati
     
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    CTBeth replied to Kelly_30's response:
    Haha,
    I had a friend say to me,
    "I herniated a disc and had to spend the entire weekend in bed, so I KNOW how you feel."

    Another said, "I went to my doctor for my 'bad back' and told him that I don't want surgery. I lost weight and went on an exercise program and I'm fine now. The doctors all told me that I needed fusion, but was determined. The doc said that I had the worst spine he had ever seen." (yeah- right)

    There are some persons who need so badly to be the center of attention that they have the compulsion to ":out do" everyone around them.

    I have also been told that I need to totally believe that Jesus will heal me and I'll be healed; that it is my lack of faith that keeps me disabled.

    Idiots. All of them.
     
    avatar
    jusim81 responded:
    Hi Everyone,

    15 months ago I have sprained my ankle, torn 2 ligaments and had a subtle fracture which has gone undiagnosed. I have chronic pain due to the fracture and still trying to find out if it's due to a loose fragment or from cartilage problem. Here's a few things that have been told to me and had made me angry:

    My mom asked me: "Are you sure it hurts?".

    I know how my body feels, why wouldn't I be sure?

    A friend asked me: "Did the doctor said that pain is normal?"

    As a general rule, there's a cause to pain, so it's not normal and by the way and I'm going to see a doctor to find out what's the cause of pain not to find out if it's normal or not.

    My family doctor told me instead fo trying to help me: "Well in 10 years from now you'll have arthritis"

    Hmmm... I didn't know that doctor was psychic and that was so helpful to me because that's just what I want to hear at 31 years old. Especially, that I am trying to have a healthy and active life.
     
    avatar
    Kelly_30 replied to mikejeep2010's response:
    Hi Mike,

    I'm 30 years old. And I get that all the time from my MD. Everytime we discuss my pain he slips in somewhere, "I keep forgetting how young you are". Age has nothing to do with it, circumstances has everything to do it. I know it is frustrating!

    Kelly
    Living one day at a time.
     
    avatar
    Kelly_30 replied to CTBeth's response:
    Hi Bet,

    I am so glad someone else has felt the way I have when these types of conversations occur. People are always trying to "trump" your pain or make you feel like you are doing "too much" to try and control your pain. I can't believe that statement you heard, "...the worst spine he has ever seen"! Maybe from a local chiropractor! haha

    Kelly
    Living one day at a time.
     
    avatar
    Kelly_30 replied to jusim81's response:
    That is crazy coming from your own mom! I hope she didn't say that when you got hurt as a child. Or maybe she is expecting the same reaction you displayed as a child not realizing that adult chronic pain is mostly internal.

    When I am in pain, I get quiet, my mood deteriorates, and I snap easily when someone steps on my "nerve". I cry sometimes but at work and out in public, the pain is mostly kept internal. After so many years of feeling the same pains, I have gotten used to it so much that there isn't shock and awe but anger, sadness, withdrawal.

    Kelly
    Living one day at a time.
     
    avatar
    CTBeth replied to Kelly_30's response:
    Hi Kelly,
    Other than on this site, I virtually never speak with anyone, except my MDs, about pain.

    My family is very supportive and seems to accept that I am taciturn by nature.

    I do not like when my friends say, "What did the doctor say?"or, "Are you getting any better yet?" I have spinal cod injury; I am not going to or expected to get better.

    I never, never, never discuss my meds with anyone other than on this site. It is no one's business and morphine has a pretty bad rap.

    Yes, the "one uppers" do make me want to puke.

    Others seem to complain incessantly and seem to be filled with self-pity, which is counter productive.

    I have found that most of us with real chronic pain issues do, eventually, develop a serenity, about our lives.

    TTYL,

    Bet


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