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"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012


Choir is over for the summer. If I go to church I have to sit with the congregation. My choice of seat is a problem. I want to sit with others but the best place, in terms of the pain, is in the back, on the left side where less people tend to sit.

Sitting there last week, I started to think about my choice of area. After all I complain about being alone and yet my choice of seating invariably ends up with my sitting by myself.

I pick a pew that is not parallel to a window. That keeps the light from coming into my eye which is extremely painful. The windows and way the seats are situated make sitting towards the back the best way to accomplish this. If I sit on the right side of the church there is a much better chance the sun will beam in towards me, even though it comes from across the room. Okay the left side still makes sense.

I sit in the back. Maybe I could sit up closer, even a pew or two.

Sally asked me to come sit with them. "You shouldn't be sitting my yourself." She doesn;t know all the intricasies (well, most don't, I think) that go into little decisions like where to sit and I did not want to go into it (and time did not allow it anyway) so I moved over to sit with her and her family.

It was not as bad as I expected, and also not a bright sunshining into the room kind of day. I also started to notice that I mostly kept my head down and tried not to watch what was going on in the front. Nevertheless I wondered if I had been too fearful of my sitting choice.

No. I was not.

The lights from the ceiling are in the center of the sanctuary, along the line of the pews, left and right side. There are none on the aisle sides. The farther away I sit from the center, the less brightness there is.

It hurts my eye more to turn them to the left then to the right. I am not sure why, maybe something to do with the pulling sensation. The left sided pew makes it easier to look when the minister is on the right side of the podium.

Sitting far back keeps me farther away from the lit candles. The movement of the flame hurts my eye. Not in the back it doesn't.

I do wear my sunglasses in the sanctuary but I do not when I go down to fellowship. It is just as bright, in fact brighter, down there but I have to use my eyes a lot less. I talk to one, maybe 2 people at a time. They are right in front of me, it is not necessary to keep moving my eyes. I do not have to do any reading like I do during the service, wanting to sing the hymns and say the congregational prayer.

There is even more minutiae involved with the choice but you get the point.

How much struggle do you go through to make the decisions that allow you to get through the day, to do the one, two, or many things you accomplish each day?

People with chronic pain deserve gigantic pats on the back that rarely come. Our struggles often look like anything but.

Bill Clinton used to say "I feel your pain."

Maybe we make it too easy for others to not feel it; by denying it or acting like what we are doing requires nothing more then simply doing it.


  1. So true. People really don't appreciate that every day things can take a lot of thought (and energy!) for people with chronic pain. We have to put so much thought into so many aspects of life. Oh, to be able to have a normal day. Just one would be good!
    Take care,

    (I did post a comment earlier, but it's not here, so I guess the Comment Eater has eaten it)

  2. I dont know why it does that. I think thats why not a lot of commenting here, it doesn;t take (and google has not replied when I asked them about it.)
    I know that feeling too well too ((*_*))

  3. I could feel exactly what you were going through Lee. People really have no idea. They can't see it on us, except maybe on our face. They want to DO something, but there's not much they can do except listen, be tender, and just care.
    I always wanted people to pick up the slack in my life with the kids, the house, the errands etc. I looked so normal that most people didn't think I was "that bad" which was REALLY insulting. Boy oh boy was it ever (bad)
    It is not for anyone to judge how bad our pain is...
    The final conclusion I came to was that if I needed help, or I had to sit down and needed a chair out in public, or was standing too long in a conversation, I HAD TO just SPEAK UP..which took tremendous guts at times, and stepping way out of my comfort zone..It took asking for what I needed. Otherwise I would never get it, and I would suffer big time.
    From then on, I was treated differently because I opened my mouth.
    Yes we do deserve gigantic pats on the back. I appreciate you saying that! I appreciated this post!
    Lots of Love
    Laura Morris

  4. Hi Laura
    It is hardto stand up for yourself, I am glad you were able to do it and be heard when you did.
    Thank you for your kind words, I can always use that pat. ((*_*))