8 Comments

  1. I think you covered this beautifully. As I have seen both sides of this situation first hand. First I had to learn to respect the dignity and choice of my mother as the pain sufferer. She would get so frustrated and angry – in turn so would I. I did not understand then what it was like for her to go from healthy to trying to recover from serious back surgery that put her in a wheelchair. I did way too much of the “don’t” with her. Later in years as I began to suffer from illness and pain I suddenly saw things different. That constant push I was giving to my Mom, others were giving to me.. or worse constant sympathy. And everyone has a solution – NOT. It only adds to frustration in yourself for feeling like you are letting others down and even letting yourself down. We want to get better, we don’t want to be in pain. We would love to do all the things we did – But we can’t! I hope many listen to your advice. I wish I had, had it many years ago!

    • Hello Christina,
      I’m so honored by your heartfelt response to this post. I have seen a lot of pain sufferers been frustrated because they felt they had no say in how THEY wanted to conduct their lives. I hope that this post gives them a voice. Thanks for checking in.

  2. This is great information for people trying to understand the person that is in pain. I am so glad I came across this as I have a friend I have been trying to help and it sounds like many times I am more of a problem than a help. You really have a way of opening some ones eyes to how the pain sufferer may feel. Thanks for this and I will definitely change the way I have been trying to help my friend.

    • Hello Dena,
      Don’t feel bad. Understanding how to help people in pain, especially those we care about, is not an easy thing to do. It’s a work in progress and we get better at it as we gain more information from the pain sufferer’s perspective. I’m glad you found this post useful. Thanks for checking in.

  3. When my Dad was still around, I did my best to engage in activities he enjoyed. And what he enjoyed most was going downstairs to the neighborhood coffee shop, and have a cup of coffee. He would sit and watch the world go by.

    While he was still able, I would do my best to accompany him there. One day, he told me how much he enjoyed these sessions with me. Sadly, as he became more bed ridden, we were not able to spend these times together.

    My Mom is as healthy as can be. But her eyes, has glaucoma. I tried to get her to see the eye specialist. She resists. Said she saw one over ten years ago, and there was nothing that could be done.

    I answered that there are always medical advances over the years. And today, I heard there is an eye drop that can help ease and slow down the effects of glaucoma. She is still resistant.

    I take note of this article’s advice to respect her choice. But I would like her to take the medicine and get better. So, I will wait for an opportunity to convince her to see the eye specialist.

    Now, to my generation. I have frozen shoulder syndrome. It is painful, and sometimes keeps me up at night. I am grateful when I tell some people, and they understand, and do not expect me to do things that require stress on my arm.

    But there are those who would not understand. They see me as a healthy man. A frozen shoulder is not easy to notice. It is something I experience when I try to carry things that are heavy or when I try to stretch my arm to reach for something.

    It is a teacher’s ailment, my doctor told me. Too much stretching the arm to write on the whiteboard has caused my right shoulder to ‘freeze’. There is a medical term but I forget what it is right now.

    Thank you for this article.

    • Hello Tim,

      It looks like you spent a lot of quality time with your dad and I’m sure he appreciated it. Thank you for sharing that story. As for your mom, it’s good to respect her choice but things become more complicated when it comes to a matter of safety. I think where the pain sufferer’s choices are a matter of lifestyle, personality, and methods of coping with frustration, one needs to step back and respect their wishes. However, when it comes to safety I think it’s okay to be persistent in trying to help the person become safer. So I think it’s okay for you to keep urging your mom to see an eye specialist. As you say, you can wait for an opportune time. However, your instincts are correct in this situation.

      As for the frozen shoulder, I understand how close-minded people, especially non-pain sufferers, can be about such things. It’s good that you are aware enough so that you don’t let people like that bother you. Thanks for checking in.

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