My Tells

When playing poker, everybody has a “tell”. Some kind of tip off that they are lying or that they’ve got nothing. Maybe it’s them scratching their nose. Maybe they shift their weight or fidget. Maybe they laugh obnoxiously.

The same is true of chronic pain sufferers, when they are in a lot more pain than usual. Some of us sleep. Some of us cry. Some of us get super miserable.

I’m all of the above. Well, kind of. I want to sleep (but often can’t), I want to cry (but usually don’t, thanks to pure stubbornness). So instead, the miserable attitude comes out. And woah boy! I can be quite the b-otch about it. Grumpy, irritable, just plain old miserable.

It’s almost at the point where my husband doesn’t bother asking what’s wrong when I cop an attitude, he just hands me some T3s and sends me lovingly up to bed for a rest. Usually. It’s hard to be sympathetic towards someone who’s biting your head off because you didn’t do whatever thing she asked you to the moment she asked you, so I don’t really blame him for kicking my ass upstairs with firm instructions to not come back down until I’ve calmed the miserable beast within.

I suppose the problem lies in the fact that, since my pain has so greatly increased, my miserable attitude has too. I’m not miserable all the time, but when my to-do list is long and my pain levels are super high, I’m definitely angry. I’m angry because I want to be able to do the things on my to-do list with relative ease. I’m angry because I hate asking for help but have to. I’m angry because pain makes me angry.

I guess it’s not easy living with an angry person, especially when you yourself suffer from depression. So when your partner is an angry, also depressed person…the lows can get low. Matt feels frustration because he cannot help ease my pain. It doesn’t just go away or give me (us) a break. It’s there and it makes itself known. He tries to understand where I’m coming from, and I’m sure he does, but resentment can still grow. He feels like I should have gone years ago to get my heel looked at. Maybe I should have, but everyone knows that mothers are infamous for putting their needs last. Sometimes, it’s not even intentionally.

I would be just as frustrated with Matt if he didn’t go to the doctor when he needed to. I got a taste of it when he was experiencing bad abdominal pain from ulcers. I definitely wasn’t soft or gentle. I was more or less get your ass to the emergency room UNLESS YOU WANT TO DIE.

My problem was, and still is…I’ve dealt with this for so long, and I’m exhausted. I’m tired of fighting with doctors and doing the run around. I let my health take the back seat because it is just too draining to think about jumping into that ring of challenges.



The truth is, my health is detorating. My ability to stand and walk is just not where it was even 6 months ago. I am angry about it, too. Matt is too, because he worries about the future. He’s seen me go from functioning to…this level of not really functioning, not without a lot of help. I shouldn’t need help.

The frustrating part is that I’m either in a T3 coma or I’m dealing with all of the pain, no edges soothed.

My appointment on February 24th will hopefully provide some answers. It’s a pre-admissions appointment as well, so that all the paperwork is done and I can go on a waiting list for surgery. Hopefully that waiting list won’t take long.

In March, I have an appointment at the Chronic Pain clinic. I’m desperately hoping to find some method of pain management that doesn’t make me a zombie sloth or make me sick to my stomach. The balls are rolling, now I just have to be patient and hope that things will improve soon…or at least not get any worse.

So, as I was saying…my tells are exhaustion, emotional tears, and/or total irritableness.

If you know me in real life, and I’m any of the above…please don’t take it personally. Those are just my tells. If I bail out on a play date or coffee date or other such function, please don’t take it personally. It means I’ve used up my battery and have nothing available. I’ve gone into default function, the bare minimum function where in I just survive until bedtime.

Do you have chronic pain? What are your tells? If you don’t have chronic pain, feel free to share your poker tells…on the off chance we’ll play a game together. 😉


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in blogging, challenges, chronic pain, discoveries, health/medical, honesty, hurt, MHE, personal, struggles, telling stories, updates, verbal diarrhea, words and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Tells

  1. Verlene says:

    Warning, venting ahead! My tells are with a rare nerve disease (Small Fiber Neuropathy) plus Crohn’s, I hardly leave my bed because the pain, and especially the fatigue, is indescribable, just overwhelming. I feel like I am coming down with the bad flu every day. I venture out of the house only once a week because it takes all of my saved spoons to blow dry my hair….and on the ride over, I will become a total bitch, a raging maniac. My hubby knows this is the “tell” that I have way overdone it already. Or when I can barely drag myself out of the bed, he will interrupt my slow walk to go get my glass of water himself. If he notices I am overly quiet, he knows the depression has overtaken me and he will gently ask me if I want to take a drive or sit on the patio. And if I am really anxious, he comes and watches TV in bed with me. Just having the company sometimes takes the edge off the anxiety…until the next morning when the crazy train starts all over again. I’m sick of doctors, sick of pills and I’m even sick of myself most days.

    Thanks for letting me vent. That was a great post, Jess, made me think of all the ways my illness has affected my husband, too. Hope you get some relief soon. You might check into Cymbalta as it helps with both depression and pain at once without turning you into a zombie of epic proportions. Keep writing as I’m reading every day even if I don’t comment much!

    • Jess says:

      Thank you so much for this comment, Verlene! Your husband sounds amazingly supportive. I relate to what you said. I will look into that! If it’s approved by ODSP I will definitely give it a go. Thank you again!

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