I’m the first to admit, I have a low pain threshold. How I made it through two natural child births still astounds me. The older I get the less I am inclined to turn to pharmaceuticals if I can help it. Acutely aware of my late grandmother’s own prescription pain killer addiction, I know my low tolerance for pain is inherited from her. I’ve learned to listen to my body and know my limits. But I also have to listen to Paul’s body. That’s a bit more of a challenge. So when I see my husband keeled over in pain, sweat drenching his sheets and the moans escaping his mouth, my own issues pale in comparison. I have nothing to complain about.
We weren’t any closer to finding out the source of Paul’s pain. By this time, I procured a handy contact who manufactured full spectrum cannabis oil. He gave me some wonderful, insightful information about cannabis and how to titrate the oil to ensure Paul receives maximum benefit. It worked for the most part but after a while, the pain took over and I was risking knocking Paul out completely. As it was, we had to stop physiotherapy and speech therapy. Paul was no longer able to engage and participate- the pain was too severe or the cannabis was putting him to sleep.
As an extra sprinkle of goodness to the mix, Paul’s continence nurse was looking ways to minimise some of the bladder issues that were going on. I went to the GP and got a referral to see a Urologist. After an unsuccessful renal ultrasound reading, the CT scan results showed none other than kidney stones! So here we were, massaging Paul’s back every night, rolling towels to put behind his back for support, repositioning him a thousand times for comfort thinking it was muscular pain. Nobody thought to check the damn kidneys!
We finally had an answer only to be told it would be 90 days before he could surgically remove them with laser treatment. 90 days? Perhaps he misheard me when I said Paul has been suffering with this for nearly a year? How do I bump up my husband on the priority list? I wished, at that time, I had the guts to make a big deal out of the waiting period. At the time I didn’t have the courage, energy or fight in me… the way I do now.
I really felt like an idiot. Why didn’t I think of that? Paul once even spelled out that he had back pain during a speech therapy activity. Not once did we stop to think it could have been kidney stones. The end of the 90 day waiting period could not come sooner. Paul was booked in for day surgery and everything went smoothly. It was over. But how could we prevent this from happening again? It wouldn’t be long before the Urologist and his clinical nursing team would familiarise themselves with Paul’s case. Welcome to team Paul! I finally stopped feeling like a lost child in a department store. I just had to be put in touch with the right people.
Pain is something that always has to be monitored closely for Paul, especially when he can’t simply express himself like the rest of us. Reading his non- verbal cues, sounds, involuntary body movements, asking him the right questions at the right time… this is all a skill developed over time for carers. It is a valuable skill especially as Paul continues to have ongoing bladder issues. For someone like Paul, a quadriplegic, wheelchair bound and unable to speak, the abundance of health issues are always going to be like that annoying person in your life that always wants your attention so you pretend not to be home but they come over anyway. You just have to find a way to live with it.
Check out my Facebook page http://facebook.com/thecarefactor.tbi
I’m on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/the_care_factor.tbi/channel/