Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Questioning 'normal'

Can one define "normal"?

I thought that I knew what my normal was but I'm beginning to question it.

I've recently been challenged.
Just before Christmas I was literally stopped in my tracks by an acute episode of pain. That hasn't happened for a while. I'm extremely good at avoidance and denial. I know I am, but I still do it. If I can bury my head in the sand until it disappears I can almost convince myself that it didn't happen! This time though, as much as I tried my usual coping method I conceded and dragged myself to my GP. Lots and lots of tests and scans and specialists appointments later I had some investigative surgery.
This week I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon and I was questioned on the severity and frequency of the pain. During this discussion I began to realise that my normal is probably not quite what it should be!

I haven't thought about my response to the question "How is the pain?" for a while.
It is what it is. Part of life.
I just spouted out my stock response of :-

"I am so much better than I was...."

"It's not too bad now....."

"Yes, I think I can manage...."

"Medication works most of the time...."

The last time that I was challenged on this was quite a few years ago. A pharmacist had made a comment to me one day about the strength of my medication. It got me a little worried about what I was putting into my body so I went to see a Chronic Pain Specialist in a tiny room in the community hospital where I lived.  He was an anesthetist and also ran a pain clinic to look at alternatives to traditional medications. Over time I tried massage, acupuncture, reiki, yoga, physiotherapy, tens machine, homeopathy... Some worked, other didn't.

I have just adapted. I have more good days than bad and I really think that I am better than what I was.....

It's not all consuming anymore and I'm not frightened to plan things in advance with a chance of changing arrangements. Did I really live like that?

So I may have normalised my situation and consequently accepted a level of tolerance. I've been OK with it. I've been managing - but now it's been questioned again.

Someone has given me a possibility of a different normal. Not perfect, but potentially better. There are a few hurdles and hoops to consider and I'm working through how much of a jump I'm prepared to take but I am considering it all.

I'm keeping a detailed diary and an open mind. I'm trying to dispel ingrained beliefs of what's acceptable, manageable and expected and I'm trying to look at the real picture.

It's good to question things, it's good to be challenged.

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