Caring For Those in Chronic Pain: How Spouses Cope
Traditional marriage vows generally contain the words “through sickness and in health.” For some couples, chronic sickness in the form of a painful disease can come close to defining their lives. I set out to see how these caregivers coped with this change, chronic pain, in their marriages.
Research first led to Lynn Greenblatt, a family caregiver for her husband who was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in July 2008. I began by asking Lynn how she provides the care that her husband needs.
“My husband Seth has been in constant severe burning pain from shoulder to fingertips in both arms, from hip to toes in both legs, in his back, temples, parts of his tongue and mouth for almost seven years,” explained Lynn. “While he is on medications to treat his nerves and to curtail the pain, he regularly gets twitches and muscle spasms alongside breakthrough pain. He knows that the medications are working as best they can and have kept his CRPS from spreading more quickly. This is important because when his neurologist tried reducing the dosages, his pain increased and spread to other parts of his body.”
“The only thing that gives Seth a break from pain is sleep, which is erratic at best – CRPS takes away the ability to fall into a deep sleep, which is when the body truly rests and renews,” Lynn continued. “Because of this, I make sure that when he’s sleeping, nothing disturbs him. When he is awake and in worse pain, I adjust his immediate environment…
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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