January 18, 2010. Seven years ago.

The following has not previously been included in the posts in this blog on Laura’s story.

Tricycle Community Blog
Disabled and Chronic Illness Group on January 18, 2010 at 12:54am

I have a home health aide (LPN) two hours a day on weekdays, an RN who comes at least twice a week, and a social worker who is only coming for the second time tomorrow. The home health aide has given me some good respite and good tips on care, besides being competent, kind, and liked by my wife. The social worker wants to talk about whether we want to let my wife die at home. Not sure that I like them even raising the question before we do. We are geographically distant from family, but my wife’s colleagues from work have been providing great support, particularly when it comes to getting my daughter to all the places today’s 13 year old has to get to. Parents of her classmates have also been helpful. I went on family leave after Thanksgiving. One reason was the clash between the world of work and what was happening at home. Even though I am physically tired and sore, not having to think about work has enabled me to focus my energies where they should be focused.

Even though I joined this group as a caregiver, the physical demands of caregiving have given me more and more pain from the arthritis I have endured for years. My point is not to whine. It’s just that I realized this week how corrosive pain can be to mindfulness, or the term I prefer, present moment awareness. If you let pain take over the mind, then you lose awareness, even awareness of the pain itself. So, the first step is to become aware of the pain and aware of how you are letting it take over other parts of your body. Pain is definitely not all in the mind, but a mind aware of pain, instead of being pushed aside by pain, can then help the body stop grasping for more and more pain. I want to read more in the other discussions in this group because I’m just an amateur on the issue of pain from what I’ve read so far.

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I was never satisfied with what I wrote about pain in this post.  I never felt that it described what I was experiencing.  Physically, I found out later, I was dealing with a torn biceps and a herniated disk, but that didn’t explain how I was experiencing these sensations.  As I sat in an armchair a few feet from Laura’s bed with heating pads around my arm and back, I felt as though I wasn’t recoiling from the pain.  Instead I oddly wanted to hold on to it, to get more into it. I couldn’t understand what I was doing. Now, at the distance of seven years, I wonder if I wasn’t holding more and more on to living pain as I watched a life slipping away in front of me.  Or am I reading too much into just getting loopy?

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