If I Was A Dug You'd Put Me Down.
So in my last post I shared the struggles I've faced living with chronic pain the past couple of years. While I know that others will face much bigger battles than this, personally it's a massive deal and something I felt quite alone in.
Alone perhaps isn't the best word, lonely is maybe a better fit.
I've never been alone in what I've gone through, but pain can be isolating whether on purpose or through necessity.
Last time I mentioned that I was going for a treatment called Capsaicin Patches and that I wasn't too sure what id be facing.
I tend to throw myself into situations such as that without much thought or consideration, which is the complete opposite of my usual behaviour.
A chronic overthinker and dramatist, driving myself to a relatively unknown treatment doesn't really fit with my usual attitude.
In my flyer I was advised that I should probably bring someone with me to my appointment to drive me home, but when I had last spoken with the Pain specialist he reckoned I'd be fine to drive.
I've since decided that doctors should be consulted on medical matters and not road safety.
Firstly I arrived at my appointment an hour and 45 minutes early. Such is my way, either ridiculously early or always running behind schedule.
Desperate to settle my nerves, I picked up a caramel cappacino - not 'on plan' for any Slimming World pals.
I used my reusable mug I was gifted at Christmas, being able to enjoy a caffeine fix and save the planet at the same time is a win/win for me. Also, I do bloody love a Bourbon Cream.
I don't like to jinx myself, but Stobhill Hospital is the only hospital I always manage to get parked close to which is handy as prior to this treatment I had pain walking any real distance.
Once registered for my appointment I headed upstairs to wait and was surprisingly taken early.
In a world of missed waiting targets, the pain clinic could not be faulted.
True to the title of my blog, I had the usual confusion as I tried to explain the pronounciation of my name and eventually admitted 'I'll answer to anything if I'm honest.'
Jenny, the doctor carrying out my treatment took me to a cubicle and talked me through the process.
Firstly she gave me an individually packaged marker pen - do the NHS pencycle..? - and asked me to mark on my body where I have pain. She mentioned that I may have pen marks for a couple of days, but I'm now a week later and still covered in dotted lines, so I wouldn't suggest it if you plan to show your body off soon after!
Once I had turned myself into a bizarre connect the dots game, Jenny returned and explained how the Capsaicin patch worked.
Currently, Capsaicin Cream is available over the counter and is used for pain, strains and arthritis. These treatments have a Capsaicin strength of around 0.075% and can still burn if any reaches your eyes. The patches I'd be using had a potency of 8% which doesn't seem high until you consider how alcohol percentages work.
Jenny brought out the patches, which just looked like big sheets of cling film with a cardboard backing. I noted the attention paid by Jenny to not touching the sticky sheet as much as she could. She later told me that she accidently picked up a piece of backing paper without gloves and hadn't realised until she felt like her thumb was falling off.
Straight off I felt nothing, Jenny trimmed and moved sections of the patch across my thigh until all of the areas I outlined were covered.
This would be me for the next hour as I sat behind the fluttering curtain in my pants.
As the half hour mark approached, I began to feel something. A niggling feeling, almost a crawling sensation - but if the bug crawling on you was wearing their sharpest stillettos.
I busied myself on my phone, filling a shopping basket on shopping sites then chickening out and deciding I'd never wear the stuff.
I did buy some prints for my living room. We'd been debating since we moved in last year whether or not to commit to a gallery wall, however after showing Simon some of my favourite inspo accounts on Instagram such as flawsomehome and the ever-amazing The Frugality, he came around and we agreed to start looking for what we'd qualify as art.
No doubt I'll write about this at some point so I won't bore you with my purchases.
When I hit the 45 minute mark I really began to struggle. I think I had just presumed I'd feel some discomfort but instead what I felt was sheer agony.
The way I could describe it is very niche, so if it makes no sense to you, you're probably not alone.
If you've ever read the Stephanie Meyer book Breaking Dawn you may recall the section where the main character is being transformed into a vampire and describes the transition as if her body was on fire from the inside, out.
I've never felt anything like it, and with my usual luck, there hadn't been any ice packs in the freezer that morning so all I could be offered was a slightly chilly cool pad which took the edge off but by no means made me comfortable.
Five minutes before my patches came off I got a cubicle neighbour as an older man came in. I heard him chatting to Jenny and tell her about his nerves. It became apparent he was diabetic, the Capsaicin Patches can be used to treat foot issues suffered as side effects.
As I listened I made an effort to make no noise, I wasn't about to scare off some old man, though he had his wife with him which was a good decision.
When Jenny returned she removed the patches from across my thigh and groin and applied a cooling gel, though I felt no cooling sensation, just the incessant burning.
Upon leaving I realised why it was advisable to bring someone to drive you home.
Going from sitting to standing was pretty uncomfortable, I had been told it was similar to sunburn. I've had pretty bad sunburn before, so I guess that it would be equivalent to hanging out on the sun in tanning oil.
I got back to my car in a pretty large amount of pain, the cocodomal beginning to wear off and realised the struggle in getting back to seated.
It took me a good five minutes to get into my car and manouever my treated leg across my seat. In a panic I called my mum, as I had totally underestimated how painful the treatment would be.
Cut to 15 minutes later as I walked bow-legged from the nearby Farmfoods with two bags of peas clutched to my leg.
The 40 minute drive home was verging on agony but was eased slightly with the frozen veg balanced precariously on my legs. Never have I hoped so much not to be stopped by police, all I knew was that I had to get home and on to the couch as soon as humanly possible.
Days like that give me a renowned appreciation for the people in my life. As I had mentioned in my last post, the pain I've been suffering hasn't only taken its toll on me.
As I struggled out of the car with my cool packs and laden with frozen peas, my husband Simon appeared at the top of the stairs eager to help me in.
I had to hose off the area treated so while I did that, Simon did what he could to make my afternoon as comfortable as he could while he went to work.
I had a sweet setup, my laptop to work as best as I could, my frozen peas for the pain relief and a full Easter egg for the comfort eating. Syns don't count when you feel like you're dying.
The rest of my day was spent moping until Simon came home, beers in hand with the promise of a chippy.
I headed to bed armed with my ice packs in the hopes that I'd manage to sleep a full night for the first time in what felt like forever.
My treatment had been carried out with the advice that the pain may get worse before I got better, but upon waking the next morning I genuinely couldn't believe that I had next to no pain.
I now have to keep track of how my pain is managed over the next eight weeks before we decide whether to continue with the Capsaicin Patches as a means to keep me pain free and thriving!