A birthday party and chronic pain….A day in the life of a chronic pain parent

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So today was the BIG party. My best friend has three daughters whose birthdays are all within a thirty day span. So it was a big birthday party festival.

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Not many people realize what goes into this kind of active day when there is also chronic pain. Not many people would understand that I HAD to rest this morning. What seems like a good idea to others, really isn’t. I had stuff to do around the house, dishes, laundy, sweeping.  Someone without chronic illnesses does not realize how energy draining these tasks can be. Its just part of their day.

I had gone to bed early the night before. I knew I had to stay in bed as long as possible before the party as well.. I had told her I would come over to help decorate. This woman is one of my friends that just gets it. She has seen me at my worst. She has seen me at my best. She has also yelled at me what did I think I was doing! Sit down this very second I got this! She has saved me from many flares and helped when I flared anyway.

I did a small load of dishes before leaving. Did not even stand there ten minutes. I know fifteen minutes is my max! we grabbed the presents and realized we were now missing some as they wondered off into the kid’s room. All by themselves! Imagine if we had gotten that on video! So quick trip to the dollar store. Then we get to her house. I medicate myself mainly with supplements and over the counter pain meds. We get started. Stuff the pinata…check, make goody bags…check, Blow up balloons…..Okay I really didn’t do this as unlike popular opinion I am not full of hot air. It was really pathetic. So Tape up streamers and attach balloons. Check…Rest, Relax, party will start soon.

I am pretty much exhausted at this point and just glad to have a cola and that the kids are all playing contentedly. I can relax a bit while I get caffeinated back up. At this late in the day I am typically on water only but its a party. I am gonna need it.

The guest arrive there is lots of talking lots of grazing on fruits and veggies and my favorite…Spinach dip! I even had a beer. It was nice to talk with other parents. There was little need for adults to intervene with the kids.

What the others don’t see is my joints are starting to stiffen up and even protest over movement. What the others don’t see is I am more and more gritting my teeth in pain. What the others don’t see is the huge weight of fatigue that has settled around me.

We carry on. We get so used to it we don’t even acknowledge it most of the time. We have sandwhiches and presents and cake! Time for the pinata. Oooohh a totsie roll? Don’t mind if I do. Hey I will take my sugar rush where I can get it at this point. Its now nearing five pm and its starting to show on the kids. We are starting to have meltdowns. We are starting to have heads run into noses. Time to wrap it up.Pull myself up out of whatever chair I have landed in this time. I help a bit throwing sodas in the recycle bin. My friend shoves some extra cake in a tinfoil wrap to me.  Five minute leaving warnings are issued,which we all know is more like twenty minutes with all us parents talking.. Just so you don’t think I would ever approve of drinking and driving its been two hours since the last of my beer. We finally leave its near six pm now.

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Luckily I live about three miles from my friend. Its a short ride and its automatic and on back quiet roads. We get home. One hyper kid one exhausted and in lots of pain mommy and one daddy who is probably as exhausted.

Showers are a great way for our family to transition into bed. No dinner tonight. All that munching on fruits and veggies and juice boxes and Cake….No way. Get the kid in the shower. I take meds and hope they kick in quickly tonight. Pj’s and brushing teeth and hugs and kisses and last minute stories that simply must be told before bed. Its now close to seven fourty five and this mamma is running on fumes.

I take my melatonin and crawl under the covers…..only..to have to pee.. Of course! Pulling my acheing screaming whining body out of bed I go to the bathroom and as I shuffle back to bed. I realize.I will hurt tomorrow. My muscles are letting me know that right now! Don’t have to guess about that one. What seemed like and appeared like a simple thing of getting up on a step stool and attaching streamers. My thighs and hips and knees are letting me know was no simple task for them.

At the end of the day though my thought is only that….its worth it. To help a friend….its worth it….for a fun and exciting party for the kid to enjoy.

I bet if you asked any of the other parents there if they knew I was in pain or uncomfortable they would say no. Its not something I advertize. Its just a part of me.  Before you jump to judge a parent for not jumping up the minute her kid screams. Think. Maybe that parent can’t get up quickly. Maybe that parent knows that a friend who is with her will be quicker. But don’t you dare for a minute think those screams or cries from their kid doesn’t pull on their heart strings in more ways than one. That it kills them that their joints don’t allow for a quick stand up from sitting. That it kills them they can’t be there right away to be the first to soothe the hurt away.

I don’t write this to make anyone feel bad. I don’t write it for sympathy either. This is just a quick glimpse of what other parents deal with. Its not even all the thoughts that I had that day. Take it as you will but this is my life. I am good with it now. I wasn’t always and at times I still struggle with it. Its not always easy but its always worth it.

 

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