You can read part one here: The Worst Things About Chronic Pain
This is the biggest, most important thing. I have gained such an understanding of people with chronic pain, but also people with other invisible illnesses and disabilities. I feel like I'm still only on the cusp of this discovery, and it has opened my mind so much to the extent of these human experiences. It's made me a better, less judgemental, more understanding person. I'm more curious about the human experience and I can more easily relate to people. This is the one thing that almost makes me thankful for this situation.
I have met so many wonderful people because of my chronic pain. Doctors and other medical professionals, their receptionists and assistants, and also other patients. These people have made my life more interesting and more fun, and it's an amazing thing to have such a large number of people who care about me and want to help.
I spend a lot of time around people in pain. I see them in waiting rooms and physical therapy offices. I find them at work and at parties (we sort of attract each other). And such a large number of these people are much worse than I am, and that makes me grateful that I'm not worse, that my pain is mostly manageable, that I can care for myself, that I can walk and bend and move my arms and legs. I have so many things to be thankful for.
My mom and I had a brief conversation at one point about what people with chronic pain or illness did hundreds of years ago. Well - they suffered/died. They probably ended up homeless and didn't live long. They didn't have pain medication or x-rays or surgery. So...it's a pretty good time to have a neck injury, historically speaking. Drugs are also nice sometimes, like when I need to have a big needle stuck into my spine. In that situation, I LOVE the drugs.
Netflix has saved me from losing my mind on multiple occasions. On the really bad days, I can't even read a book. The only thing I'm capable of is laying down and watching mindless tv. Enter Netflix, the king of mindless tv-watching. I can watch all ten seasons of Friends for the umpteenth time, or I can watch Mad Men, or Friends, or Gilmore Girls, or Friends. The possibilities are endless. I only wish it would stop asking whether I want to continue after a few hours have passed. The answer is always yes, Netflix, you should know that by now.