Friday, February 10, 2012


Um. Well. Week one of the Chronic Pain Clinic's treatment program has come, and (almost) gone.

And since some of you asked for the (gory) details, here they are. (Those not thrilled by gory details can skip this, though — truth be told — there isn't much gore.)

When they advised that this was a multi-disciplinary process, they were right on. For example, this week I've had time with the Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, the Psychologist, and the Nurse (a friend, who happens to coordinate the program). We've covered everything from where I hurt, how badly I hurt, what I do about the hurt, and what I hope to learn, accomplish, (and endure?). We also have exercise time, twice a morning, for half an hour at a stretch (so to speak). That's where we get bent into something, and not (hopefully) bent out of shape. They say, "Only do a little bit, don't hurt yourself."

So you know what happened to the Bear, don't you.


Back, bent out of shape, or something. Frustrating, at any rate.

I think it happened while the Physical Therapist was checking out my mobility. But by Wednesday, lunch time, Bear was uncomfortable. (They're going to claim it was self-inflicted; I'm saying the Physical Therapist told me to do it, and I'm sticking with MY story.) And I'm still not comfortable. Sigh!

There is also lots of time for "Self-Management." That's where you try out things you have been learning, on your own. That can mean putting ice on injuries, or heat, or reading up on what you have been doing but don't understand. Or practising some of the exercises that we've been shown (as if we didn't get enough of that, already).

BTW: putting something cold on an injury as soon as you can; that helps to limit the swelling, and pain. Put it on for about 15-20 minutes. Later, you can use heat, but first, the cold. And not cream or something in a jar. A frozen pack for putting into the summer picnic cooler is grand. So is a bag of frozen peas, or beans, or corn — that you won't be eating later. But double wrap whatever it is in a towel first. You want to cool the area, not freeze it.

Classroom stuff. Last event of the morning. Chronic Pain and Sleep (developing better "sleep hygiene" when you've got chronic pain — actually quite fascinating). Goal setting — what I want to accomplish while in the program. General Discussion, where we share our experiences. Relaxation. That was this morning's session. I got so relaxed I slept through most of it. Hibernation inside a building! Not quite what I expected, but, well, when it happened, I decided to accept it with gratitude. I got home, had lunch and slept all afternoon — which is what I've been doing most afternoons. (They warned us early on in the process that afternoon sleepiness was one of the things which might happen; I said, "YES!") I told you I'd be hibernating half days on this program.

If you want more details, ask away. There's nothing to hide (so far).

Please Bear with me; there'll be more next week.


Jackie said...

I've been waiting to hear about this. Sounds like a mixture of good and not-so-good. I'm so sorry about the back being out of shape (been there and done that and it hurts so bad...take care, please.)
I'm happy to hear that you got a jump start on your rest. Biiig smiles to see that you slept during your relaxation session. What types of things did you do/learn to help you relax. I would love to hear about them. Hugs and warm bear hugs to you...

Natalie said...

Sending you a gentle hug.((♥))

The Blog Fodder said...

Hope this pays off for you.
We went through lots of 2 kg pkgs of frozen peas when No. 1 son was playing basketball. You can only freeze and thaw them so often before you have to pitch them.

That Janie Girl said...

Dang. I'd wanna sleep through that!

I hope you feel better soon, Bear…xoxoxo

Lydia said...

Yea! Some hibernation time! You certainly deserve it, with all that is happening to/for you. I'm sending a gentle bear hug, and will take one in return because, although not anything as severe as you, I have developed some neck troubles in the last month. Finally got some relief today in my first chiropractic treatment. In my consult with him last week he told me to ice it, and today he asked if I've been doing it. I was honest and said no. I'm cold! But after reading your advice I will try it tomorrow.

Am scheduled for two appointments with the RN in his office next week. Evidently, she is going to show me exercises, etc. Now if I can just get some sleep! :)

Kristy said...

I hope you like this programme. It sounds interesting. I need to gently exercise more myself for the pain managment. It was suggested that I take up Yoga. Oh, I have no self discpline in the winter. I would be interested what sort of exercises they are giving you. I'm all for hibernating in the winter. May we get an early spring this year. I bet you don't know as a bear which way is up or down with this weird weather to come out of hibernation or not.

cheshire wife said...

Sleep is a great healer. I just hope that you are able to sleep at night time after you have slept during the day. Nothing worth achieving is easily done. Stick with it.


Diana said...

Wow I didn't expect to hear that you were hurting more after the session! I learned with my knees how important ice therapy is. It's funny because I really already knew this but was too lazy I guess to incorporate it. But now I use it whenever I feel the need.
I am hoping that you find some exercises that actually help (not Hurt) your back. That and the ice therapy may work. I hope. And pray Bear! You are a trooper but I would expect nothing less from a Bear. Love Di ♥

Anonymous said...

What cheek they had to interrupt your hibernation but hopefully the program will now help return you to previously scheduled sleep.

ReformingGeek said...

That's a lot of "work" for a poor sleepy bear. I hope you got some nice porridge and have slept it off.

Rubye Jack said...

I was hoping to hear they would have more to offer you Bear. I suppose something more innovative and groundbreaking stuff, but this all sounds like quite standard treatment. Do they have a class on mindfulness?
Well, it must have something to offer if you are able to sleep more. Feel better!

Rob-bear said...

Oh, my goodness. All this mail. Thank you, friends.

® Jackie: A minor miscalculation has caused a bit (or more than a bit) of uneasiness. But I'm all right for the shape I'm in.
Last night, I didn't sleep so well, but I'm going to work on that tonight. (I'm helping to lead worship tomorrow morning in our congregation, so I want to be ready to do that.)

Rob-bear said...

® Natalie: You know I love getting hugs. Thanks.

® The Blog Fodder: I understand about the frozen peas. In a bit I'm going to try that on my back, again. If that doesn't work, should I try them on my brain? (You don't need to answer that — I know your answer already.) Thanks.

® That Janie Girl: Actually, I wanted to sleep through the whole thing as well. I was advised I might miss something. I'm waiting for what I might have missed. Thanks.

Frances said...

Thank you for taking the time to give us updates on your experiences on the (hoping for less) Pain Clinic.

I'm sure that your congregation will have much to hear tomorrow.

Let me admit that I did have a chuckle when you reported on your naps. Hibernation is a force to be reckoned with!

Best wishes to you as always. When does the swimming come into ... play?

susan said...

I'll continue hoping you're much improved when it's time for springtime frolicking. The afternoon sleepiness might be the best part of the program.

Rob-bear said...

® Lydia: So sorry to hear of your neck problems. My problems began in my neck in the mid 1970s, and went all downhill (as in down my back) from there. I do hope you get more help.

And if you're using a cold pack, a sweater may help. As in, "Be cool, but stay warm."

® Kristy: The program is helping. There is a specially-designed half hour program of gentle stretching which prepares us for more "enthusiastic" (aerobic) activity.

Yeah, and I don't know who or where I am any more. The weather has been un-Bearable.

Hilary said...

Chronic pain of all kinds is so distressing. I hope you find the answers to your woes. It sounds like you got off to a rough start but hopefully with time, you'll be able to manage it.

Rob-bear said...

® Cheshire Wife: I don't expect to be well-healed by the end of this adventure. Some of this pain will be with me as long as I live. But I can learn, and am learning, different ways of accommodating it.


® Diana: I appreciate your kind thoughts. I also think you've been hurting a lot more than I am.

Glad to know things are improving in your life.

® lgsquirrel: All the pain has the capability to drive me nuts. (Yup; been ther before.) Which may be great for squirrels. Not so much fun for Bears, though.

Rob-bear said...

® ReformingGeek: Right now, can't sleep it off (except with meds that leave me sleepy for a long time). But I get porridge every morning, which is almost as good as sleeping. Almost.


® Rubye Jack: Well, the program starts at square one for everyone. The more sophisticated stuff comes later. But since I have yet to master the basics, this is a good start for me.

And, yes; we will get into mindfulness — I've already asked about that.

Thanks for your concern.

Rob-bear said...

® Frances: Thanks so much for the support.

As for the congregation, this is the first time that Brian, our Pastor, and I have worked together. I sense that we have very good complementary skills.

Play in the pool? I think not. More like aquasize, or something seriously similar. But we only get to do it twice. My thought is that it's not at all like swimming in a river or lake. But I'll Bear with whatever happens.

® susan: I, too, hope for more fun in the spring. Hope springs eternal!

And you've just given away the best-kept secret; the afternoon sleep IS probably the best part. At least for Bear.


® Hillary: I'm sure things will get better as time goes along. Thanks.

No matter how much pain, though, I can always go walking with you through the woods, through your pictures. Thanks for that, too.

Amanda Trought said...

Rob, lots of rest and tlc in order, sleep and laughter very good medicine, perhaps massage and aromatherapy might help? Have a blessed week, Amanda

Just Two Chicks said...

It sounds like you're learning a lot and sleep is so important for mental and physical health!! I'll be looking forward to hearing more!! Be careful with that back... those don't heal, as I'm sure you know.

About Last Weekend said...

What a nightmare! That is so much to deal with. I really feel for you. Hope it feels better this week


Therapy depends on the therapist more than the patient. Finding out your mobility doesn't require shoving you to the edge.

QUESTION: Is medical marijuana legal in Canada?Would you try it if you could?

I'd love to give it a try , but I'm not given the option.

I like options.

Gutsy Living said...

Bear, First I'm glad to see you're back posting. The back thing is a pain. I can't believe how many people complain of pain after a therapist has worked with them. I'd like to be able to go to bed and sleep, but not because of pain though. Just to relax. Hope you get back to respond to all your friends who care about you.

Snowbrush said...

I've only been to pain docs, and I hated both of them. If you want a pitiless SOB to be your physician, then go to a pain specialist. Multi-disciplinary is the right word though. I have lots of drugs, a TENS unit, ice packs, a physical therapist, and so on. Like you, it seems, much of my time is spent dealing with pain, always asking myself what I need to do next to reduce it, and what I shouldn't do next to keep it from getting worse. I wish you well.

Manzanita said...

For that week, you get a reward.... a big jar of honey and also for Valentines Day. Sounds good... surrounded by pretty nurses, except the bad one and afternoon naps. Way to go, Bear!!!!

Helen said...

Dear Bear,
I cannot count the number of times I have grabbed the frozen peas from my freezer! For everything from ankle sprains to knee injuries to facial skin cancer surgeries. Let's hear it for PEAS! Sending you big hugs and best wishes on this day we celebrate love and caring.

Rob-bear said...

® Amanda Trought: Thanks for coming to visit.
Massage. Why didn't I think of that? Tami is really good at helping me.

® Just Two Chicks: So much to learn, so little sinks into the brain of a sleepy Bear. But things are getting better. For which I am grateful.
The Girl "done good" today. Congrats.

® About Last Weekend:Not a nightmare, Jody. It all happens during the day. Sigh!

Rob-bear said...

® Beau's Mom: Therapy depends on the capabilities of the therapist, and the patient's ability to follow instructions. (Some people are dumber than a post; Blog Fodder could explain in my case.)

Medical marijuana is legal up here, but I'm not inclined to try. At this point.

® The Armchair Squid: Thanks for jetting on over!

® Gutsy Living: Hi, Sonia. When I have massage therapy, I sometimes feel much worse at the end. Then in an hour or so, things are much better. I'm also starting to experience that "delayed action" with the chronic pain course. As I said earlier, so much to learn (so many details). Takes me several times around before I get the hang of some things. (Uh, no; not that kind of stretch.)

Rob-bear said...

® Snowbrush: Sorry you've had such bad experiences with pain docs. Mine is a prince, and long-time friend of my GP. Pain doc thinks my GP has got me on sate-of-the-art drugs, and has only done some fine tuning.

The whole process is an amazing learning experience, as you say.

Rob-bear said...

® Manzanita: Oh HONEY!!! I should learn this winter to make mead.

Only one nurse, but other good professionals. I just need to learn to take more care. Something about more "mindfulness" and listening to my body. I think both of those are important.

Thanks for the support. I need all the help I can get.

® Helen: Ah, yes; peas, corn, whatever. You understand exactly.

Thanks for the hugs and wishes. Bear always likes hugs, especially from beautiful women like you.

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh dear! A whole lot of services and processes, with no real cure, eh? I do hope that spring warms you up, and more movement also would help, and that the drugs they give you work 100%.
So sorry to hear about your woes, dear friend.

Rob-bear said...

® rosaria: As they say in the ambulance service, "Things are picking up."

Sometime this weekend, I'll put up instalment two of this adventures, and you'll see things are getting better.

Lins' lleisio said...

What about yoga for relaxation, or would this be too hard on the back? And just two other thoughts; massage and meditation - both take you to another place temporarily. I am sorry to hear about your pain, it must grind you down day in, day out. But you are a wily and resourceful bear, and what doesn't kill you will make you stronger....