Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 - Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Being lonely and having a chronic health condition can travel hand-in-hand.
It’s not that we dislike having company. We love it when someone drops by for a visit. However, even talking with your friend can become tiring. You don’t want to hurt your friend so you just continue to visit, but when the pain you experience starts to rise and worsen it can become almost impossible to continue visiting.
How do we stop the conversation in an understanding way and then end our friend’s visit? This is a tricky road to travel down. And so, many times we don’t encourage visitors to see us. This is not just sad for our friend; it brings us sadness as well.
What we have to understand is that there is a real physical and mental drain on your body when you are with someone else. Because of this:
One thing that may help is to explain the road we are traveling to our friends. Some may back away from us, but some will also want to help and comfort us even more.
What are some ways that we can continue to have friends drop by even when our chronic illness tries to steal what little strength we have? One way is to keep the visits shorter. Try having your friends come by more frequently and for shorter periods of time.
Another question is how do we become a good friend to others with our limitations?
Themighty.com posts an article titled, “How to Be a Great Friend When You Have a Chronic Illness.” The article suggests ways to keep your friends such as being willing to forgive them because everyone messes up sometimes, and educate them on what you need.
Life doesn’t have to be over because we live with a chronic health condition that steals our strength and brings physical pain. We can still develop friendships and enjoy the company of those who care about us. Just as the Bible verses above talk about, two are better than one. So don’t give up on making life-time friends. There are people out there who won’t leave our side. If we should fall down, they will be there to pick us up, and we can also be there for them.
Psalm 55:2 - Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.
When living with a chronic condition there are days when holding your thoughts is just out of reach. This can be because of the medications you take, but more often it’s because your body can’t handle both your illness and your thoughts.
This can be difficult especially if you’re trying to communicate something important to someone.
Many people, regardless if they have a health condition or not, do lose their train of thought during a conversation. But what I’m talking about is not just losing your thoughts, it’s like as if the train left the station with you as its captive.
This can be disconcerting not only to you but to the one you’re talking to. They may see you as being drugged up, drunk, or a bit loopy, when you see it as just another time of feeling out of it.
This can bring you into a state of depression as you slowly start to close yourself off to other people. You can come up with a lot of excuses as to why you no longer seem to want to see a friend, but when in fact you just don’t want to hurt your relationship with them.
Another thing that you may need to look at is making decisions. It’s important when you have something to consider that making a decision isn’t what you should do if your mind is fuzzy instead of clear. This may seem impossible because you feel fuzzy much of the time. In this case, perhaps you could explain your situation to a close friend or family member and ask them if they can help you make your decision.
What other ways are there, if you are feeling fuzzy, to help clear up your mind? Developinghumanbrain.org posts an article titled, “Suffering From Brain Fog? What Causes It and How to Clear It Up?” The article discusses the reason why brain fog appears such as dehydration and lack of sunlight, along with how to clear up brain fog such as consuming less sugar and eating foods that are high in magnesium, vitamin E and D, Zinc, B vitamins, omega 3, iron and vitamin C.
And finally, remember that God hears our prayers when our thoughts trouble us and is ready to help you stop the brain fog train and go from a fuzzy brain to a clear one.
Psalm 41:3 - The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.
This past year’s flu season has been brutal. People are becoming ill more frequently and it lasts longer. Many end up in emergency rooms and are being admitted to the hospital due to complications from being sick.
Loss during the flu season can appear as sick days with lost wages, school days with missing classes and lost events with the ill person having to stay away from family events for fear of making others sick.
However, when you already battle an ongoing condition, such as chronic pain, the likely hood of catching the flu is more frequent than for the general population. It also will cause you to have a worse case of the flu with the aches and pains associated with the flu causing even greater pain than you already experience.
I spoke in previous posts about our immune systems and how it can be compromised by a chronic health condition. In this situation sometimes regardless if you take a flu vaccination or not, if you are exposed to the flu you are more likely to get it.
This is why it is important to care for your body during the flu season. This can include getting more sleep, taking vitamins such as vitamin C and staying away from places where you are more likely to be exposed to the flu. What are some other things you can do to prevent this illness?
Health.com provides a list of ways to prevent colds and the flu, in their article, “20 Surprising Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu,” such as getting a protein fix by making sure you get protein-rich foods throughout the day, especially fish, eggs and yogurt.
Though fear of getting the flu or another illness can be strong, let’s take our eyes off the fear of becoming ill and onto depending on God to sustain us.
Psalm 5:3 - In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
You look at your watch. Only three minutes have passed since you last looked. Isn’t it true that when you’re doing something you love time seems to fly by? But when something bad is happening every minute turns into an eternity.
That’s how it is with a chronic pain condition. Waiting for relief can take hours, or weeks sometimes and at other times, it never comes.
There are many methods of pain relief I’ve talked about in past posts, however, this post is going to center on how to endure waiting for a treatment or medication to kick in and bring relief.
For instance, I’ve recently undergone a procedure called Radiofrequency Ablation. The mechanism of this particular pain reliever is radiofrequency waves are used to burn nerve ends coming from the facet joints. This procedure can be performed on both cervical and lumbar joints. The idea is that burning the nerve endings kills them and will provide over fifty percent of pain relief coming from the area.
The problem is though that the pain relief doesn’t kick in right away. In fact, in many cases the pain gets worse as in the cervical facet joint nerves. Burning pain, like a deep sunburn, can last from one to two weeks and in some instances up to a month.
Another form of waiting comes as you wait for a scheduled procedure to be done such as a knee or hip replacement surgery. You know that many people have had this surgery and found benefits from it. And sometimes this helps you push through until the procedure is done.
A third way that causes us to wait is relief from prescription medications. If you are taking prescription medication where the goal is to provide you with chronic pain relief then you have to wait until the medication kicks in. This can sometimes take an hour or two before you start to feel relief. And then, the medication may start to wear off giving you a few hours relief and you’re back to square one with pain and you have to wait the full hours allotted between doses when you can take more pain reliever.
So here we are playing the waiting game and needing something that can help our focus turn away from looking at the clock or counting days on our calendar. What can help us as we wait?
Countingmyspoons.com has a great article titled, “Distraction as a Pain Reliever: 10 Ways to Distract Yourself From Pain,” such as making new friends online. There are many websites, such as mine, that provide encouragement, information and a way to communicate with other people who are also waiting for chronic pain relief.
Though having to wait can be difficult, just as the Bible verse above states, God hears your voice and the pain within it as you wait. And notice that the verse says that the writer waited expectantly. Expect that your waiting will not be in vain and that pain relief is marching towards you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.