17 November 2012


I was asked what number I'd rate my pain at the moment I said seven. The doctor said that's really high, close to unlivable. That I don't have much room to go on the scale. I don't feel as though it's unlivable, but when I am aware of every movement of my legs, every scrape of pyjama pant against my ankle, and every thump of pain, it isn't something I want to live with.

I have become so aware of my skin this stay. I think it's because of the painkillers. In the past it's been difficult to have more than panadol, as I'm allergic to codeine, and strong painkillers can make me feel nauseous. And so this time I am in hospital, the doctors have prescribed me a four step pain management plan. It's a cocktail which I'm not entirely comfortable with, but my body benefits, and it's physically comfortable. So I'm trying to forget my perceptions of being on a cocktail of painkillers and appreciate that they're needed, they're helping me. There's this strange perception I've got about painkillers - that I should be strong, I don't want to get addicted, and the media always reports on celebrities who died of a mix of alcohol and strong painkillers. Then I remember my doctors are the best, and they know what they're doing, and my body needs them right now.

As the painkillers set in, I can feel my legs lighten, like I have kicked off my heavy shoes for the day. And as they wear off, the thumping, stinging pain washes over my legs, and should I stand up, I dance on my tiptoes like a frail ballerina, shifting the weight from leg to leg. I went to the cafe in a wheelchair this afternoon, just to escape these four walls, and even the small bumps of the lift entrances hurt me. I feel so aware of my skin's sensations.

Sometimes warmth helps, being under my quilt, with the electric blanket on, but these heavy cotton blankets in hospital don't warm me like I want.

I feel sore, but not sick, tired but alert. I don't feel I am healing quickly, but I am getting a lot of rest. I will be ok soon. It's weird how the skin can determine your entire existence. People take their skin for granted.

Pain is hard to explain. How do you describe it?

Ps- if you're following along on Instagram or Twitter, you'll see I've been photographing my food. A big thanks to Sandra from $120 Food Challenge for the awesome hamper she brought yesterday. She made soup, pasta, green eggs and ham, biscuits, flapjacks and salad. So lovely, so welcomed. Thank you! The doctor said food should be medicine, and it is :)


  1. I hope you are feeling much better soon. Pain? I describe it as tiring. It's hard to put a number on it. It's just always there for me in some form. I just don't like to talk about it most days, seems easier for me if I don't.

    I love that Sandra came and gave you a hamper. So lovely. Take care and hope you are out of pain very soon. xox

  2. I'm so sorry to hear you are in so much pain. You are right to trust in your doctors though - they have your best interests at heart. So glad you are getting good food though! What a lovely gesture.

    K xx

  3. sending you light and love for a speedy recovery Carly

  4. I hope you are feeling much better as soon as possible. :)

  5. Really sorry that the pain is so bad Carly.

    I have central pain, widespread pain syndrome and chronic headaches. And no treatments for any of them.

    I describe my central pain as "burning" and the only way I can stop it getting really bad is to not overdo things, wear really loose clothes including no bra because clothes that are "pressing" too much on my skin is really painful, to not sit with my legs pressing on the chair (so i sit everywhere with a footrest or with my legs not presssed on the reclliner and my feet on the edge of the recliner foot/edge ) hard to explain but when you return home post a message that you want to see it and I'll ssend you a photo. Oh - an electric blanket helps disguise the pain since both are "burning" feelings.

    The widespread pain is really sore muscles and joints. Nothing helps except keeping warm and that's only marginally better. Daily headaches ..... nothing has helped that either.

    Oh - I forgot. 2mg of valium at night (5mg if I'm really bad) helps relax me because despite the fact that I'm "feeling" relaxed my body feels like electricity and doesn't feel relaxed. My joints etc are relaxed but my arms and legs feel "electric" and not relaxed. Only this week I called up the manufacturer to find out how much Valium I can take before I get accustomed to it etc. They said up to 4 weeks, and then when it stops working go off it for a few days then restart it. There's no long term damage they said.

    Maybe Valium would help you?

    Hope you feel better tomorrow


  6. I think you are so strong for saying yes to that cocktail. It's really hard to admit when you need help. I can tell you are as stubborn as I am. Keep up the good fight. I might join instagram just so I can see your food!

  7. I hope today finds that cocktail doing its stuff and you're feeling better or at least have the pain under control. You're right, how easily we (as in the rest of us) take our largest organ for granted.
    Pain is such a subjective thing it's very hard for the 'rate your pain on a scale of 1-10' to be accurate. One size most definitely does not fit all.
    The intense knife edge pain of childbirth compared to the grinding unyielding hammer blows of chronic pain of a prolapsed disc was a no contest in my book. I think the difference was...one was finite and the other unending and it's end uncertain. Mind games come into play with our ability to tolerate pain.
    You are a champion in every sense of the word. Hang in there.x

  8. Pain certainly is hard to describe. There are so many different types. Hot, sharp, dull, aching, throbbing, itchy, widespread, localised, hit-by-a-truck-hurt-all-over, the dull heavy ache that has me telling my doctor my legs each weigh a ton. Usually he says how would you rate this from one to ten and I say eleven.
    I'm sad to hear you are feeling so much pain this time and hope you feel better quickly.

  9. You seem to have many well-wishers via your blog. Now you have another. Living with pain is hard work. Take all the help you can get. Wishing you a speedy recovery from this episode.

  10. Pain is a funny thing, isn't it? When you don't have it, you can't imagine what it feels like; when you have it, you can't imagine its absence.

    I don't know what your skin sensitivity and pain must feel like — only that, over such a widespread area, it must be miserable and overwhelming at times.

    Those little knocks and bumps resulting in pain that you mention remind me of my own arthritic pain. I mainly suffer in my sacro-iliac joints (the ball-like joints that connect the spine and pelvis) and my sternum (the piece of bone between the breasts). Any tiny incidental bump sets off lightning bolts of pain. I try to describe it as a shards-of-glass sensation — like my joints are sharp and broken and piercing the tissues and sensations around them. At times, it's unbearable.

    But it's also interesting what people can learn to live with as their 'new normal'. Sometimes you notice the actual pain less, but the fatigue of living with that pain more.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Chronic pain affects so many, but we don't often talk about it.


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