11 March 2013
Pain is a strange thing. Once it's gone you can't remember it, although you know it was unbearable at the time. If I'm in pain now, I always compare it with the pain of being in labour. Is it worse than being in labour? It can't be. Surely labour pain set the bar at an all time high? The pain of pneumonia and pleurisy was pretty awful. Added to this I was holding so much tension in my shoulders that I had muscle spasms. I certainly couldn't sleep because of the pain.
In hospital I was given morphine in A&E, but once on the ward I must have been marked down as only give pain relief if required. With hindsight this was a mistake. Pretty soon I needed all the pain killers, one after another, until I was left sitting in bed just blinking. The pain was still there, but I was so out of it I had drifted away and been replaced by Zombie Sandy. I'd stopped screaming and crying anyway.
I saw doctors and an amazing physio. The physio reminded me to how to breathe using my diaphragm - not my shoulders. I was given regular pain killers and the option of morphine at night, when the pain was unmanageable. I took it. The early hours of the morning were worst.
After five days in hospital my blood test results showed an improvement in the sepsis and pneumonia. During the day I was fairly mobile, once I'd come round. The doctors dangled the carrot of going home, but only if I could manage without morphine. I was desperate to see my children. Then I remembered a pain management technique I had been taught. Mind over matter was worth a try.
This was the point I contacted Dawn from Think It Change It. I was her guinea pig when she was training to become a Cognitive Hypnotherapist last year. I asked for a reminder of the technique that she had taught me to help with my slipped disc. She dropped what she was doing and rang me. I spent the rest of the day practising. I repeated this mantra and used it throughout the night:
My muscles are completely relaxed. My back and my shoulder are as comfortably numb as my leg.
Mumbo jumbo you may say, but it got me through the night. It wasn't easy, but I managed the pain without morphine. I slept for three hours too. In the morning I was able to text Andy "Fruit & Fibre for breakfast" and he knew I would be coming home that day.
I can't thank Dawn, or recommend her services, highly enough. She has also helped me to remove the mental barriers that were preventing me from losing weight. At some point I'll do a ta daa post, as I am a fair bit smaller than I was last year. Dawn works from her therapy room in Dundee, but also offers downloads and online support. Check out her website to see if she can help you with phobias, pain, weight, smoking and more. She has also written a book about her personal transformation, again details are on her website. I'm proud to call her my friend.