Monday, 4 June 2012

Pain - when to complain

Not a subject I had ever thought to blog about - physical pain, that is.

Having read a few articles/posts about pain from some of the bloggers whom I read regularly and whose approach I approve and appreciate, I thought perhaps it was time for me to use my normal open and frank attitude to describe my current state.

Generally not a self-indulgent individual and also a fairly private one, it has been 'normal' for me to skirt round physical difficulties, but this latest bout is sufficiently severe I think, to warrant an airing.

For the past forty or so years I have had diverticular disease.  For anyone unfamiliar with the term, may I suggest you Google it.

Prone to bouts of fairly fierce pain in the early days, I responded to the then perceived wisdom and changed my eating habits totally.

A vegetarian and I think, a pretty healthy eater, I nevertheless took the available advice and made further adjustments to my diet and for years suffered little or no pain and very few serious bouts of diverticulitis.

Since late last Summer however, things have changed and there have been a number of incidences of pain and bloating, which culminated in January with my having to be 'taken home' from St. Mary's by a lovely caring lay pastoral lady.

I saw my GP and was sent to see a consultant at the local hospital who examined me and said I needed a scan to find out what was happening.

This I had in April and since then the number of attacks of pain have increased at quite a rate and recently have included vomiting as well as pain.

While I wait for the consultant to advise me on treatment my GP has given me very strong pain-killers and anti-vomiting tablets for any attacks in the interim (the appointment is not until 9th August).

Last Friday I was unable to make the choir rehearsal and again on Sunday, the service.  Walking round and round in dizzy circles, unable to sit or lie.  Groaning aloud, not my choice of behaviour, and trying to talk normally to neighbours (the Jubilee shindig), while hanging on to the last shreds of dignity has given me a whole new perspective on what constitutes pain, but not alas, on how to cope with it.

Today I started without pain, drank two coffees then felt the usual alarming stabs which herald the arrival of the pain and decided rather than suffer in (comparative) silence, I would blog it.

If there is anyone out there with experience of this very distressing complaint who can maybe give me a tip or two on other things I might try, I would be very very glad to hear from you.


  1. Oh, Ray, I'm so sorry to hear this! I have a very good friend who has this very issue. She has had to have a couple of surgeries to remove a section of her intestine. Prior to the surgery, she's had to do rounds of pretty serious antibiotics. We do seem to be fairly surgery-happy here in the U.S., but is that a possibility for you?

  2. Ray I am so sorry to hear this and ashamed of my complaints about a bit of back pain!
    Your trouble is much worse and inwillmpray for you!

    1. Sorry about the typos. Still typing lying down.

  3. Oh Ray, that sounds awful, I so wish I could give you advice that could help but I can't, except to say, don't give up and keep nagging the doctors!

  4. Penny, the possibility of surgery was suggested some years ago and I fought against it since it entails having a stoma bag until such time as an attempt to rejoin the colon can be made. The thought fills me with horror and I am hoping that progress will have been made in the intervening years.
    For me, medication is only just about acceptable and surgery not at all if there is any alternative.
    Antibiotice may have to be an option.

    1. I'm pretty sure the procedure is more advanced now. I know my friend did not have to have a stoma bag. But different places do things differently. I hope that you'll get some relief soon. I know my friend is often in such intense pain and discomfort that she doesn't receive visitors!

  5. Jean , please don't feel any need to downgrade your pain. This is, heaven knows, not a competition and any pain should be taken seriously.
    What I am grateful for is the fact that you decided to write about it, which along with another very seriously ill blogger's openness allowed me to have my say.
    Let's hope we all improve soon.

    1. I'm whispering this but today is much better! I might be able to hold the baby at the blessing this afternoon!

  6. Fear not Jane, I will keep nagging. It's something I'm good at.

  7. Yes, I fully understand your friend's wish to be left alone when in severe pain.
    I think it has to do with our desire to be seen at our best, but pain takes away the control button.
    Sadly, it is probably when we most need people. I hope you are right about the stoma Penny.

  8. I do hope you can Jean. Try not to drop her or him.

  9. I'd just like to thank all those who chose to comment here and also by email.
    There have been a couple of ides worth trying so nothing venture.....

  10. I have no experience (in myself) of chronic pain and no expertise or advice to offer. It sounds like a really horrible condition you have had to learn to live with and so frustrating to have to wait so long for a Consultant's appointment. Prayers and blessings

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  12. Thankyou Nancy, much appreciated.

  13. Oh Ray you do have a lot to put up with. From my Nursing experience, Antibiotics are the way to go with surgery only for complications.But I have been retired a while.

    I expect you have tried heat pads or hot water bottles to ease the spasm, added to painkillers. I do hope this is sorted for you soon. Thinking of you, Jenni

  14. Hi Jenni, in the past I have tried heat but this current attack has been so severe and so long-lasting that strong pain-killers seem to be the only way of getting relief.
    When it is at its worst I cannot bear anything to touch my stomach, have to strip off and go to bed, without duvet.
    Anti-biotics have not been suggested at this stage so, since I am now mercifully pain free (two whole days) I will talk to the GP next time.
    Thanks for comment.