The Little Prince and Chronic Pain

As I held my newborn grandson, I smelled the top of his head and mouth. My fingertip lazily traced the outline of his ears and chin. Then dipped into the velvety curve of his neck. I released him from his swaddling blanket and  listened to him coo while he stretched. I counted his fingers and touched his newborn hand to my aging face. I was a grandma and I was reveling in the excitement of it. I kept undressing him so I could look at his little toes. They were still bright red and I had to be gentle with them because of the needle sticks he was receiving to check on his blood sugar levels.

Meggie kept giving me grief for taking off his clothes. She even said he didn’t smell like anything, but I disagreed. I couldn’t put into words what I was feeling, or what I could smell. There was a freshness to the top of his head, and the faint smell of Enfamil formula on his cheeks. He smelled new and his little hand clutching my fingers gave me the promise of better times ahead.

I visited my new grandson and his parents while they were still in the hospital. I had just been released myself after having a third reconstructive surgery on my right ankle. I was kind of hoping that the baby would make his appearance before my discharge, but this being my daughter’s first birth, he decided to take his sweet time. I had just settled into my private room at a physical rehab center when my son and his girl picked me up to meet our new family member.

While I was holding him, I thought about the last year and what I’d been through. The accident, the surgeries that didn’t work, and the chronic pain that had been plaguing me. There was so much depression that I had experienced. I cried every single day, but on the days that Meg needed me, I stayed as focused as I could on her, and her needs. It helped me want to stick around. There were so many times I wanted to give up and die.

I can hear you asking why? It’s only some ankle pain, how can you not live with it?

I want you to understand something, everyone with chronic pain has their own experience to deal with.

If someone in your life is dealing with it and they say they’re okay, they are not telling you the complete truth. They don’t want you to know how badly it hurts. And how tired they are from dealing with it.

Every. Single. Damn. Day. Of. Their. Lives.

The depression I’ve felt in the last year has been suffocating. You can not even fathom what I’ve felt, nor do I want you to even try. I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. I pray for normalcy every damn day that I wake up breathing. I’m not there yet, but I’m hoping this latest surgery brings me closer to it.

I wanted to go to sleep at night and not wake up wondering what my pain number would be when I stood up to walk to the bathroom. Most nights I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up at all. A crucial bone in my right ankle was dying, but I felt like the woman I was before the accident had already died. Unbeknownst to me, there was a little prince that was going to be born just after my third surgery that would totally change my mind.

I held him in my arms on May 15, and realized that yes, he was the reason I was still here. And he was the reason I couldn’t give up. I needed to be in his life, so I could smell the top of his head, and trace his perfect little ears with my fingertip. I also needed to be there for my daughter when she was struggling with sleep and new motherhood. I couldn’t have done any of those things had I given up.

The Little Prince is home with his parents now and they are all settling into their new normal. This Queen is back home in her second floor apartment and healing nicely. I’m so thankful that I didn’t give in to the sadness that came from the pain. Who knows, maybe my grandson and I will teach each other to walk.

11 thoughts on “The Little Prince and Chronic Pain

  1. Oh sweetheart I send hugs to you. Enjoy that new baby smell. It seems to fade so fast. My son lives with chronic pain so my heart is moved deeply for you. Keep smiling as you can ❤️

  2. Hey go Renee! I too just became a….something or other….let’s see…my brother’s fiancé’s daughter’s baby. Is there such a thing or am I just wishing so I can cuddle the little tyke and stake a claim on him 🙂
    Regardless, well done my friend. And those bundles of joy can heal anything. Let him sleep on your ankle…gently 😀

  3. hugs, sweet woman. it is often the smallest of things that remind us to live past the pain. Every day some of us silently battle and we are gifted from time to time with great reasons to keep on going. So breath him in deep. Take off his clothes and count his fingers and toes until the ache leaves for a few moments and know that this is truly what love and life is supposed to feel like.

  4. One of the funny things I’ve struggled with in terms of chronic pains, is the line of allowing myself to acknowledge it. My dad is a tough old Iowa farm boy and he plays hurt all the time. I think I’m always subconsciously worried that if I admit that I’m in pain, I’ll start to wallow in it and start to slow down. I always feel like I have to pretend it isn’t there and keep going full-speed ahead. I’m worried about some kind of snow-ball effect if I flip that switch. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining this, but as someone going through it, I’m sure you’ll understand.

    • I completely understand, and I agree with you to an extent. After my accident I never said my pain was a 10. I mean I had been given mega doses of dilaudid and my foot was gaping wide open before the surgery. There was bone loss, tons of blood, and all of the bones in my ankle had been crushed. But I was damned if I was going to say my pain was a 10. It was like I needed to save that number just in case it got worse.

      During my life I had always whined about pain. After the accident and two of the surgeries I tried my best not to. Since the third surgery and recovery, the pain is minimal. I’ve learned how tough I am, but I’ve also learned to convey my pain to those that really care for me.

      I’ve saved my 10 though. I’m hoping that I never have to use it.

      Don’t you be afraid to use your pain. Sit with it, but no it doesn’t define you.

      Love, Renee

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