Sunday, July 03, 2011

It's Hard to Tell Which Pain is Worse

FROM: My Personal Battle with RSD
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Every day I have a fight with pain. Every night I have a fight with pain. On a 24 hour basis I am physically and mentally fighting excruciating pain, in my legs, in my back, in my shoulder and arms. I am stuck in a wheelchair that is hard for me to push. I can’t very much move, and getting up for simple things like going to use the restroom have become immense challenges for me. RSD had put my life on hold.

But around me, around me the world keeps spinning.

My friends are all taking finals to get their BAs, there are those that are starting to learn towards their masters, some even towards there PHDs.

There are friends that are traveling and seeing the world.

But I am sitting here in my chair and 2:56 in the morning. The whole house is asleep and I am using all my energy not to focus on the pain.

My friends lives haven't stopped, but somehow they still find a way to take a break and come visit me. To see how I am doing, and to support me.

My life is on hold. If I have no doctors appointment, am not hospitalized, and am not having a procedure done, I am sitting on my ass. Doing nothing. With all the time in the world praying for things to focus on.

My friends put their lives on a short pause to come and support me.

I fight a constant battle of jealousy and guilt. I want the life my friends have, more than anything. I know I can’t have it right now and might not have it ever. But I hope that if the tables were turned I would be as goodhearted as my friends have been who support me and as I said, "pause" their lives to come and support me.

So what happens when one of those friends needs my support? What if my friends need me there for them the same way I need friends here for me the way I do now? What if that friend needs me even more than I need my friends now.

One of my best friends recently suffered a terrible loss. He lost his little sister. I couldn't be at the funeral. I wanted to but couldn't. All day long I was miserable because I wasn't there for him. I felt selfish. He is the one who lost someone. But me, I was sad because I could not comfort him. I want desperately to visit him, but an ambulance trip will cost me 1,047 $.

He understands I can’t come. He doesn't want me to spend money to come visit because he lives far. He also knows that the long trip is physically very hard and painful for me. But I hear in his voice, deep in his voice, that he wants me there.

So what hurts the worst? The physical pain? Just after the RSD diagnoses I thought that was the hardest it would be. But than there is the pain of feeling like being a burden on your family. And that pain is close to unbearable. Then there is the pain of realizing you have lost all your dreams, your independence, your social life, and not to mention the ability to put your legs around your head (yes I was really that flexible). All those things, they hurt. They hurt so much you want to wake up from this nightmare or go to sleep and not wake up at all.

But until yesterday I had never felt this pain. The pain of realizing you have lost the ability to help others, the ability to help your friends when they need you the most.

And here I lay at 3:13 now in the morning, talking about MY pain when my best friend lost his little sister, his only sibling.

So what pain is worse?

Everyone suffers. Some more than others, some less. Some suffer physically, some emotionally, some even both. But everyone suffers. Everyone feels pain.

So how do we cope with it. Many people in pain try to help others, hoping that it will relieve them of their own pain.

I am afraid that maybe that's why I want to go to my friend. Maybe somewhere deep down I think it will make my pain go away all though consciously I know it wont. But then I stop and think of his pain, his loss. A pain like that, I wouldn't trade for RSD any day of the week. So even if I do go, if I find a way to have an ambulance take me, what then...?

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a person's suffering is also only able to be understood by the sufferer, even if he or she is not able to clearly express in words the pain they are enduring.

I guess I will never know for sure which pain is worse but I think maybe on some level it doesn't matter. Living with RSD has shown me how much I depend on the love of my friends and family; because of that, despite my jealous rages, I cannot fathom the loss of a sister as my friend is coping with now. I hope that somehow I can be a comfort to my dear friend now, even if I seem to be trapped in my own grief.

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