The following post originally ran on the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy’s (PAINS) website.
For many years, my passport was stamped in the land of the well, but a poor response to oral surgery in 2013 cancelled that document, leaving me in the land of the sick, the suffering, the other. While I was a well-one, I’d hear stories from that other country—and listen as best I could when others told tales of their visits– but I did not know what it truly meant to live there all the time.
Learning to live in another country is hard work. There are unfamiliar customs to understand, a language to learn, awkward situations, foods and beds and places that do not quite feel like home. The currency may not convert.
Once you become a chronic pain patient, as I have, you discover how much of your life is no longer your own. (more…)