I Shouldn't Be Ashamed to Call for Help When I'm in Pain

Tonight my pain is at an unbearable level. I’m choosing to write this to try occupy my mind, because what else can be done?

a woman's selfie of her frowning and leaning on her hand

I want to bring to light the feelings I am currently experiencing. Worry, fear, nervousness…all about this pain and how I’m going to take action against it. I would have usually taken Morphine by now but I’ve run out. I’ve run out of all my strong medication to try to combat these kinds of situations (not that they work). I have a pain diary, and I try to fill it in every day. I’m going to write here what I wrote in there and show you the main issue with my current situation.

May 7th–8th

My pain is very high today, and even worse now. My side pain is flaring, I feel sick and my back is in agony. I want to call a paramedic but I don’t want to waste their time. But I’ve run out of all my pain medication. I don’t want to be a burden on the hospital. They were here two weeks ago and now I need help again. I’ve almost overdosed on paracetamol in an attempt to make the pain stop. I’ve got burns from my hot water bottles. I need help but I don’t know what to do…

Now this is the problem. I’m in agony, the pain I’m currently experiencing I can hardly put into words, my right side feels like it’s in a vice, it’s difficult to breathe because it hurts and every single movement, the littlest shift in my body, causes the hottest, sharpest, deepest stabbing pain I’ve ever had the unfortunate pleasure to experience. I’m in pain; I should be able to easily contact a paramedic for help. That’s what they’re for – to help people who are in pain. But I can’t. I’m stuck on that fine line between “I won’t call them” and “I can’t call them.”

There are constantly posts on my Facebook about how we can improve the emergency rooms in the UK, and the amount of comments saying that they should turn people with chronic pain away or make them pay to use a bed…it hurts. It’s the deep, empty gut feeling that those comments are directed at you and me, even though we’re doing nothing wrong. We’re simply seeking help. If an animal was in this kind of pain and left untreated it would be considered animal cruelty. Why is it any different for a human? I shouldn’t have to sit here and wonder when my pain is “bad enough” to justify calling a paramedic. Well, now is too bad, yet here I am, unable to call because somehow I feel like this is my fault. That my flare-up is something I should be able to prevent.

We should be able to call for help when we need it and not worry about wasting people’s time. I hope there are people out there who are brave enough to call. Who say, “I need help.” So call for help. I hope they fight against the people who say we’re wasting time and taking up a hospital bed. I hope there are people out there who keep reminding hospitals and paramedics that our chronic pain is very real and needs efficient pain relief. I hope that can be me one day, but for now I will sit and struggle with pain until I can’t handle it anymore, until it feels like someone’s hammering railroad spikes into me, till I vomit and pee myself from the pain.

I need help. I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for it – none of us should.

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