On Pain

Right away, I am not talking about emotional pain, that’s a whole book in itself, but physical pain. I am not even entirely sure there is a point to this train of thought other than it being ever so present again today.

I have been in physical pain without halt for the last 8 years now. It all started back around the time I passed 30 when due to a huge number of reasons, all stress related, I had 6 fractured and misplaced discs in my lower back.
Granted, my previous personal lifestyle, heavy on extreme sports and so on most likely didn’t help my posture or state of my body but who thinks about that shit at that age.
I was too proud and worried about maintaining the image of the strong father, husband, business owner etc at that point of my life that I had ignored the early warning signs that said discs were pushing into and slowly destroying my sciatic nerve, numbness of feet, then legs, pain in the lower back, increasing lack of mobility and an ever increasing dependency on pain killers just to get to work let alone function properly that by the time I ended up in hospital, I received the news that 97% of my lower sciatic nerve was damaged. A few weeks later my doctor told me had I waited – I didn’t really have a choice in the manner, I couldn’t walk anymore, the chances for permanent paralysis would have been at a 100%. As it is, it took 6 operations and 2 years of serious lifestyle changes just to get back on my feet. That 2-3 episode was so severe that it essentially took me down to the darkest corners of depression, alcohol abuse and interpersonal destruction. Shit, anyone that knew me back then knows exactly what I am talking about.
Since then I have had some serious ups and downs. My lower back is never the best on good days and on bad days like this, I walk slowly, carefully and need around4-6 400mg of Ibuprofen to get through the day without pulling too much of a grimace.
A few years later I shattered my right elbow skating with jr in 3-4 places. That sucked, as I am right handed so there was no drawing, writing and so on. It took a good year of healing to get back to the point of being able to go back to boxing, drawing and so on for good.
At this point my knees and ankles, thanks to a solid decade of skating, really started being a pain in the ass. It’s not a constant pain, but on certain days my right foot only leaves me alone if I walk on the far outer edge of it, my knees click and crack at every movement and well walking isn’t all that much fun. However, for a good 2 years I felt strong, did some semi-professional fights, got way into skating and I didn’t pay much attention to the little daily pains. Then, a year ago, I dislocated my right shoulder during a boxing session, that in turn then caused my shoulder to break, tear my biceps across the shoulder. Stupidly, I didn’t look into it properly and went on a surfing trip to Mexico a few weeks later – I know, male stupidity on my part – long story short, everything got infected to fuck, nothing healed the way it was supposed to and for a period of a year I could only sleep on my back, I couldn’t lift, let alone push open a door with my right arm without severe pain shooting through my entire arm. Mostly, it felt numb and totally useless.
Luckily, I learned a little from my previous experiences and didn’t go down the rabbit hole of alcohol and medicine but there were certainly days when my local pharmacist was concerned about my intake of pain killers. It’s getting better though, to the point where I have started training again, slowly and quietly but today is a fucker. I have no idea what triggered it, it usually is stress related but I think it has been a combination of stress, lack of sleep and a bad diet that has caused my back to flare up again.
Let me tell you, I am sick to death of these pains.
If anything, it’s down to my stubbornness to not run to a doctor and complain but just to swallow it and work through it.
If there is a point to this story, don’t do it. If you are as lucky as I am to live in a country with good state sponsored healthcare, use it.

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