This episode is for those of us who don't suffer from chronic pain.
So, this episode is going to be for people like me; non chronic pain patients.
I want you all to close your eyes and go on a journey with me. A journey through your mind.
I want you to think about your every day lives. Think about how active you are in your life.
Do you have a job? Most of us do. How strenuous is your job? Does it require manual labor? Do you lift things? How much energy do you exert while you're at work? Or perhaps you work in an office, sitting in the same position typing and filling out forms from nine to five.
What about at home? What all do you do around the house? Do you cook? Clean? What about simple tasks like doing the laundry, or vacuuming? Dusting bookshelves? Things break down around the house, and when they do you have to repair them. Are you a do-it yourselfer? What about maintenance? You have to change out air filters in the air conditioner. Replace light bulbs. Mow the lawn. Perhaps you do a little gardening, too.
Do you have kids? What kinds of activities do you do with your kids? Maybe you like to play catch with them in your free time. Or go on an evening bike ride around town with them. Or play Frisbee. Or any number of activities kids enjoy doing with their parents.
And after the kids go to bed, there's intimate time with your spouses, or significant others, right! Can't forget about that!
And how about showering? All that activity. You're going to work up a sweat!
What about hobbies? Maybe you like to play a round of golf on your weekends off. Or some other sport like playing football or baseball. Are you part of a bowling league? Perhaps you like to hit the bar after work and play some pool. Maybe you like to go fishing on your days off. Maybe you and your friends get together for a poker night. Perhaps you're concerned about staying fit and like to go to the gym and lift weights. Or go jogging. Or even swimming. Or maybe you're like me and enjoy blacksmith work, a process of heating steel and shaping it with a hammer on an anvil. There's a lot of hard work involved in that.
Think about how active you are in your daily life. We are very active creatures, us humans. Are you sore after a day of activity, between work, time with family, and your hobbies? That's okay. We'll go to sleep after our long days, wake up refreshed, and start all over again the next day, right? For most of us, sure.
Now, I want you to imagine not being able to do all those things. You're inhibited. Not by time, or weather, or any other factor like that. But, by your own body.
I want you all to think about the worst pain you've ever felt. Have you pulled a muscle before? Or broken a bone? Maybe you've smashed your finger with a hammer. Or wrecked a bicycle. Maybe you've had a major surgery. Those are painful. Or, for us guys, maybe you've taken a shot to the nuts before. That hurts! I want you to think about that. What is the worst pain you have ever felt. And, don't try to compare it with something else. We're all different. We're all unique. Each of us has a different pain threshold and a different pain tolerance. I'm talking about specific to you, individually. What is the worst physical pain YOU have ever felt?
For most of us, we recover from pain. Perhaps its only momentary, and you can just walk it off. Maybe it lasts overnight. Maybe it lasts a couple of days depending on severity. But, imagine that pain being constant. For more than 100 million Americans, and more than 7 million Canadians, chronic pain is an every day part of life. Yes, that’s right. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Now, lets look at the term “chronic”, just to give you a better idea. Webster’s dictionary defines the term chronic as meaning “inveterate; constant; continuing a long time or recurring frequently; having long duration.”
In short, it doesn’t go away. It’s everlasting. It’s incurable. And it’s there forever. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. For life.
All of those activities we talked about at the beginning of this episode, most of us take those for granted. We do them without giving them any thought. In fact, we enjoy most of them! But, for a chronic pain patient, something as trivial as taking a shower, or doing the laundry, or cooking a meal, is a daunting task, requiring every last bit of energy they are able to muster in order to accomplish. The simplest activities are a battle. And, they are excruciating. Since we just did definitions, do you know what excruciating means? The origin of the word? It’s from Latin. Ex Cruces. Meaning of the cross, for the religious among us. It’s a word from the Roman practice of crucifixion. An extremely painful form of execution. Excruciating means exactly that, pain like crucifixion. An apt description for chronic pain patients. And, much like the ancient practice of crucifixion, the pain only ends in death. Tragically, many chronic pain patients have ended their own lives in order to end their suffering. Can you imagine that? I want you to try to. I want you to try to imagine being in so much pain for so long that the better option is to throw in the towel for eternity.
Remember that part about feeling rejuvenated after a full night’s sleep? That doesn’t happen for chronic pain patients either. Their pain interferes with sleep. Most chronic pain patients don’t get a full-night's rest. They sleep in random intervals. Some nights may be better than others. Maybe they get a full nights sleep on a rare occasion. But, more often than not, it’s a few hours here, a few hours there. That is until exhaustion takes over.
My wife is a perfect example of this. Just last weekend she slept for 15 hours straight. Overcome with exhaustion from not being able to get a full night’s rest thanks to nagging, insufferable pain.
When chronic pain patients wake up, whether from the little rest they get, or exhaustion induced crashes, there is no feeling rejuvenated. The pain is either as it was, or more often than not, worse.
Nearly one out of every 10 American adults suffer from pain so severe that it limits daily activities. That is an astronomical number. One out of every 10 American adults are categorized as High Impact Chronic Pain patients. High Impact Chronic Pain is defined by the CDC as pain that has lasted longer than 3 months and is accompanied by at least one major activity restriction, such as inability to work, go to school, or do household tasks.
So, think about that for a minute. One out of every 10 adults in the United States are totally disabled by pain. No hobbies. No jobs. One in ten.
Everything we do in a day requires energy. It’s a scientific fact. Sunlight provides energy to plant life on Earth through a process called photosynthesis. The various herbivorous species on the planet eat the plant life, thereby transferring that energy into their bodies. We, as humans, then consume these animals, transferring that energy into our own bodies. We even eat certain plants, too. Thereby getting energy straight from the source, along with valuable nutrients. The energy we get from our food, as well as plenty of sleep, is what powers us through the day. A day is 24 hours long. The average human is active for about 16 hours, only requiring eight hours of sleep to replenish ourselves and start again. The things we do in those 16 active hours slowly deplete us of our energy reserves, and we start to feel tired, perhaps sore as well, as our muscles recover from a day's worth of use. The point being that, for most of us, the things we do during our time awake is what depletes our energy reserves.
Now, I want you to think about this. Imagine that you don’t have a job. No hobbies. No kids. Just think of yourself as totally alone and isolated. You have nothing to do all day. Sounds great, right! You can relax in your favorite chair all day and play video games, or watch movies. No job to worry about. No boss nagging you. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? No reason whatsoever to expend your energy. But wait! Something is wrong… There is some unseen force that is slowly draining you of your energy, even though you aren’t doing anything! It’s totally invisible. You can’t look yourself over and identify the problem. You’ve looked in the mirror a thousand times, there’s nothing there. But, you can certainly feel it! And it’s slowly sucking the life out of you. You haven’t done a single thing since you woke up but you’re already exhausted. How can this be? That’s not natural! This can’t be right! You should be full of life! You should feel fit as a dancing bear! This is the life of one in ten American adults. It doesn’t go away. They can’t sleep it off.
And what about the mental impact of all of this? How would it affect you mentally if you were no longer able to do the things you enjoy? What kind of toll do you think that would take on your psychological state if you could no longer provide for your family? If you could no longer be a contributing member of society as a whole? If you could no longer even relax and enjoy your favorite hobbies? I’d think that would start to wear you down mentally after a while. How would you feel? I know how I’d feel. I’d be pretty depressed. There are a lot of things I enjoy doing. I told you about my blacksmith hobby earlier. If I could never be able to pick up a hammer and shape hot steel again. Or if I were to lose the ability to sit in this chair, behind this microphone again. Would you lash out on your loved ones in frustration and anger? If you say know, you’re only fooling yourself.
It’s happened to millions.
Let me tell you what it’s like for me, as a non-chronic pain patient, being married to a chronic pain patient. I love my wife very dearly. She’s everything to me. She’s the reason I started this podcast. She’s the reason I became an advocate for chronic pain patients. And she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. She’s absolutely stunning. She never fails to leave me breathless. But, because of her pain, she rarely ever feels beautiful. She’s very insecure. This is a very hard subject for me to talk about on the air, because I don’t see any flaws in her. Any faults. I love my wife. I love her for who she is and just the way she is. But she wanted me to talk about this to give other non-chronic pain patients a view into the world of CPP’s and what life is like. What it’s like to live every single day with chronic pain.
Anyway, back to the story here. My wife is a knockout! But, her constant pain and suffering has left her feeling very insecure most of the time. She hasn’t always been this way. When she was living in Las Vegas, she worked as the lead auditor for the Riviera casino. Do any of you remember the Riviera? Ever been to it? It was imploded a few years ago but it was a very famous casino in it’s day. The movie “Casino” starring Robert DeNiro and Joe Peschi was filmed there back in 1995. Anyway, my wife worked there as the lead auditor. While doing that she was also going to college and getting her degree, all the while raising her girls. She’s a very brilliant, talented, and motivated woman. When she lived in Montana, while she was on pain medication, she worked multiple jobs, cared for her elderly grandmother, and was an extraordinary mother to our beautiful daughters. It’s just part of who she is. She has a great work ethic and a natural motherly instinct. She’s an amazing woman. She really is. That all changed with the inhumane CDC guidelines. She was rapidly tapered off her medications, despite being a legacy patient. Legacy patient meaning she was on opioid pain medications for a long time, and it was working for her. It wasn’t jeopardizing her health, despite what that nincompoop, Andrew Kolodny, would have everybody believe. Despite what the CDC, a Federal Agency, whose primary responsibility is dealing with infectious diseases, would have you believe. Infectious diseases. You ever hear of anyone contracting CRPS from an airborne virus?! You ever hear of of fibromyalgia being sexually transmitted?! You ever hear of an Adhesive Arachnoiditis pandemic, as if it were the bubonic plague?!
Anyway, things declined after she was taken off of her pain medications. She was no longer able to work. She’s on SSDI now. She went from taking care of our daughters to them taking care of her. She spends most of her days in bed. It’s a daunting task just for her to get up and go to the bathroom. Her pain has crippled her. Not just physically, but emotionally.
I told you she’s a very wonderful mother, and she is. And she’s a very wonderful wife. I’m lucky to have her. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. The cockles of my heart, as they say. Despite her pain, she still wants to do motherly and wifely things. She loves to cook. Mostly, myself or our kids make the meals, but on good days, my wife cooks for us. It’s something she loves to do and she gets a lot of satisfaction in doing something like that for us. How many of you, my fellow non-CPP’s out there, cook regularly, whether it’s grilling up steaks or burgers, or cooking up a meal. You do it often, don’t you. We have to eat as humans. Remember earlier? That’s how we get our energy and nutrients. And making a meal for your family doesn’t take that much time. Half an hour, or an hour, or so, depending on what you’re making. In that short time, when my wife is able to do that, it totally breaks her down. She’s completely spent after that. On days she’s feeling well enough to make a meal for us, she starts off with almost a spring in her step. She’s happy. Has a smile on her face that could light up the entire city Los Angeles in the middle of a nuclear winter. By the end of it, I almost have to carry her back to our room.
Not just physical, but mental as well. It’s made her very insecure. She’s always, always, always afraid I’m going to get tired of this kind of life and leave her. Well… I’ve got news for you, my love. I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me, sweetheart. You see, when I drafted out the contract for our marriage, she must not have read the fine print. You’re stuck with this guy for eternity, Dana. (Hahaha)
In our Facebook group, “The Rapp Report Chronic Pain Crusade” my wife and another member of the Chronic Pain Community, Cathy Kean, were talking about their pain and what they call it, and a few other members chimed in. “The Beast” was a popular one. In the documentary, “Pain Warriors”, by Tina Petrova, at the beginning, the narrator called pain a “dragon.” My wife calls hers, “The Darkness”, because of both the physical and mental toll it takes on her. She takes medication for depression. She gets depressed not just from being in excruciating pain every single day, but because she feels like she’s not a very good wife or mother. She feels like a burden since we take care of her and she isn’t able to contribute often. Dana, my love, I have news for you. You’re not a burden, baby. Your love, your unending and unconditional love to me and this family is the greatest contribution to this family.
My wife and I are very close. Our family is very close. We have a very strong bond as husband and wife. As a family. For my fellow non-chronic pain patients out there with spouses, significant others, relatives, friends, or loved ones suffering with chronic pain, I have a tough pill to swallow for you. Love, sometimes, isn’t always enough. Despite how close my wife and I are, it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows here in the Rapp family. Being in constant agony is frustrating. Sometimes my wife lashes out. It’s not just frustrating for her. I lose my cool sometimes. I want to urge you all with loved ones who are continually suffering from chronic pain to try your damnedest to not take it personally. It’s not you they are lashing out at. I try and remind myself of this on my wife’s worst days. I am only human, though. I’m a flawed man. I get pissed off, sometimes. I deeply regret this character flaw in me. I try and remind myself that it’s just her pain. It’s “The Darkness” rearing its head. So I urge patience and understanding. Our loved ones suffering from chronic pain are already battling their own inner demons, every minute of every day. They don’t need to do battle with our demons, on top of everything else. Be patient with your loved ones who are suffering.
I also want to urge you, my fellow non-CPP’s to not be self-centered. I can attest to this, that is sometimes hard to do. I work my ass off. I work nights as a welder in an assembly line, mass production factory. I also do this podcast. I care for my disabled wife. We have kids that need parental guidance, care, and affection. And somewheres in between, I have to sleep. But, I love my wife more than anything. I try my best to put her needs before my own. As I’ve said before, I am nay but human. I sometimes fail at that task. Don’t be dismissive of their pain. I get it. You’re sore after a long, hard day, or night at work. You’re beat. You just want to kick back and relax. But their pain is as real as your soreness, and as I said, it won’t go away after a good night’s rest like our stiff muscles and joints will. It will be there. Their pain is omnipresent. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s not a head game they are playing for attention. It’s very real. Please, keep that in mind.
This next part is for people exactly like me. Non-chronic pain patients who are married to someone suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain can take a very harsh toll on married life, particularly as it relates to intimacy. Intimacy, especially physical intimacy, is an important and healthy part of any marriage. Here’s another tough pill to swallow; chronic pain affects your spouse’s sex drive, big time. I’m very much attracted to my wife. She’s one hot momma! But her pain rarely leaves her in the mood, or even physically capable of intimacy, for that matter. This can be very taxing on a marriage. Trust me. But, also believe me when I say you’re not the only one frustrated. Chronic pain patients, if I were to guess, are probably the most sexually frustrated people on this Earth. My wife tells me all the time how much she wants me, but her body doesn’t always cooperate. Your spouse isn’t “faking it” to get out of it. They want you as bad as you want them. My advice to you; Be intimate in other ways. Hold your spouses hand. Talk to each other a lot. Watch your favorite shows together. Give your spouse a massage. You already know their bodies hurt like hell. They will greatly appreciate those small gestures, and that bond with your spouse will become impenetrable. Your spouse, as a chronic pain patient, has already been abandoned by the nation, by the healthcare system, by the government. Don’t you abandon them, too. They need you more than they need a doctor. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, you can be the greatest pain relief they have. Believe me on that one. I’m speaking from experience.
As of today, chronic pain affects nearly 116 million Americans, and more than 7 million Canadians. That’s more than one third of the United States population, and nearly one fifth of the Canadian population. There’s a good chance you know someone close to you suffering from relentless, unending, chronic pain. They have been cut off from their pain medications and left to suffer due to extreme regulatory measures by our governments, no thanks to the small percentage of people that abuse drugs. It’s cruel and inhumane enough that our own governments are leaving people to die in agony like this. Don’t add to the cruelty by ignoring the pain of those you know that are suffering. I’m asking my fellow non-chronic pain patients to take up the cause and spread the word around. Share this episode of the podcast. Share it on your social media profiles. Let others hear and understand the pain and suffering of millions of people. North America is heavily focused on injustice right now due to recent events. Look into chronic pain patients and the CDC guidelines. Look into the DEA witch hunt of doctors trying to treat people who are in a constant state of agony. You want to talk injustice, America? We’re not talking about a minute fraction of miscreants and malcontents here. We’re talking about ONE THIRD of the UNITED STATES POPULATION. Pain reigns on the blue, the red, and the purple. Pain reigns on the just and the unjust. Pain reigns on the black, the white, the hispanic, the asian, the arabic, and the American Indians. Pain doesn’t discriminate. And pain is either coming or already there.
Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you for tuning into this episode of The Rapp Report. We hope you enjoyed the show. If you are an Apple user and enjoyed the show, please leave a 5-star rating, along with a review on Apple Podcasts and iTunes so others can find us and know what our show is about. We’d like to thank Podbean dot com for hosting our podcast. A very special thanks goes out to Mike and Izabella Russell at Music Radio Creative for providing our intro clip and music bed. You can find Mike and Izabella on their YouTube channel, on Twitter and Facebook, and at Music Radio Creative dot com. The Rapp Report can be found on Podbean, Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
We, here at The Rapp Report salute America’s heroes. Our great soldiers, sailors, airmen, and of course, our beloved United States Marine Corps. We salute our great firefighters, police officers, and EMT’s. And, most importantly, we salute you, the chronic pain warriors from California to New York. From the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Alaska and Hawaii, too. And our chronic pain warrior neighbors to the north in the Great Nation of Canada. We’ll see you next time here on The Rapp Report. This is Branden and Dana Rapp signing off.
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