Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rules and regulations of the Pain Clinic.

More on yesterday's visit to the Chronic Pain Management Clinic--

There are lots of rules, it would seem, to keep in mind when participating in the clinic's program. One must not focus on one's pain and talk about one's pain. One will instead write an entry in one's "pain journal" once each hour, then let it go. We are learning instead to focus on other things about our lives of a more positive nature.

One will not socialize with other program attendees outside of the confines of the program. When socializing within program time, one will speak of hobbies, trips taken, gardening, and such positive and non-pain oriented topics.

One will not help another program participant--if another drops their pen, it is up to them to pick it up. One would not want to rob another of the victory of doing something for themself.

One will focus only on one's own self, not on others and their issues. These are some of the rules for Pain Management Clinic Program Level 3's 5 weeks times 4 days per week.

One will not give or receive gifts, one will not work even part time during the program. One will only be excused from program for extreme emergencies (i'm thinking death.)

Hubby says that behind every rule there is a story. "I wonder what happened to inspire that rule," he said when we were discussing the "no socializing outside of program" rule. The program being as old as my younger daughter, 27 years, there have no doubt been many stories.

"Well," i can hear the Don't Talk About Pain team saying to each other after married participant A takes up with married participant Q, "we better make a rule to put the kabosh on that. Didn't see that one coming."

"What else are we missing?" another team member says to the others. "Yunno, I'm really tired of picking up stuff for those lazy a** program people. Let's make a rule that says they have to pick up their own stuff! We can make up something about how it made some man feel victorious for picking up his own pen when he dropped it--" They all nod and grin and maybe exchange a few high-fives.

Honestly, i do get it. Truly, i understand that sometimes asking somebody else how they're feeling is a great way to ignore what's going on with me, i understand that someone who waits for other people to do for them will just get more and more deconditioned physically. i understand. i even know that in 27 or 28 years of the clinic they've learned a few things that work. But let's just admit it, one enjoys being cynical, doesn't one?

OH--lest i forget, the Skimmer's Recap:

Pain Clinic Program=No helping, no fraternizing. No gifts, no absences, no working. No pain talk. Rules=stories. Cynical=me.


Unknown said...

Since you are not allowed to receive gifts during this program you can just send me your Christmas gifts this year.....

I will oohhh and ahhhh and take pictures after I open them and tell you how wonderful they are, but don't you even ask me about my pain. My lips are sealed. I don't care how much you beg.... I AM NOT TELLING!!

Good luck girl. Sounds like they have some pretty strict rules to follow, but like you said the program has been in place for a long time and is still on going so it must have worked for someone. At least they aren't just handing out prescription for pain meds. They seem to have some structure to their program.

molly said...

hmm..I am interested your story. That's an idea, the part about journaling the condition every hour to help us move on.

julia said...

mckenzi, good to meet you! Are you a chronic pain sufferer as well? i'm curious to see how the 4 days a week program plays out--i think i don't focus on my pain anyway, i'd rather be doing something interesting, but i'm sure there will be lots to learn. ;-)