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Interview CP05

Age at interview: 57
Brief Outline: Head, neck and back pain following injury at work in 1998. Treatments: Physiotherapy after injury. Pain Clinic. Pain management: One-to-one psychology counselling. Pain Association Scotland Living with Pain course Current medication: co-dydramol, ibuprofen.
Background: Medically retired maintenance plumber; married; 2 children.

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Feels it is important for him set and achieve small goals each day.

Feels it is important for him set and achieve small goals each day.

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Well goal setting is another thing. To set yourself a goal that each day you get up and try and go for a walk, or try and just go out in the garden. Its all about... I think its all about getting your mind occupied, to set yourself a goal. And that when you do it, pat yourself on the back, give yourself a wee treat or whatever. 

But each day that you get up just set yourself a wee target, like I'll try and walk, I'll try and walk up and meet my wife just coming out of her work, or try and go up to the Co-op and get messages. Different wee things like that, that won't mean much to other people but to me its another target that I've set myself and its another goal, which I have achieved. 

 

Was bitter with his employers but the psychologist helped him realise that he needed to accept...

Was bitter with his employers but the psychologist helped him realise that he needed to accept...

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How, how did you feel when you were told you were going to see a psychologist?

Well I thought, the first just sort of reaction was they think this is all in my head, they think I'm daft, so I said. 'So why am I going to a psychologist', they said 'Well they can help you speaking about your problems and all the rest of it'. And I wasn't too keen at first and then my wife said to me 'Look go and see what can be done, see if it helps you'. 

After, I don't know if I was going there a year I can't really mind. But after a period with her of actually just speaking she gave me, she gave me time to explain how I felt and then she gave me different sort of ways of just sort of looking at myself. And the first thing she said 'The only way you're going to over come this is by accepting what's happened to you, accept it that you've actually had a bang on the head, accept its done and dusted, and just get on with your life'. 

So at first I was a wee bit reluctant because I didn't want to accept it because I heard that the man whose workshop I was working in was still working and he was by his retiring age. He was still working and I was just lying about in agony, in pain. I felt bitter but after a while it sunk in and I said to myself well its happened, lets get on with life, lets see where we can go from now. Its took a long, long hard road, its been a struggle, its caused a lot of heartache but as long as I can do and say and actually to my family is I'm trying to make up to them all the hurt that I caused them.

 

Says pain made him aggressive although he didn't always realise it and is now trying to make it...

Says pain made him aggressive although he didn't always realise it and is now trying to make it...

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The thing about, you see the thing about the aggression never went away I can't get rid of the aggression, sometimes I'm so quick tempered its out before, its out before you realise it and the thing is, that hurts me, you're hurting the people that actually have done a lot for you, your wife and your family, you're hurting them. 

I reckon they'll be hurt even more than what I have in the accident because they've been more the mental torture of me going through all these different phases. And I think if anything, I think your family deserves a bit better than, than what I gave them. 

But again I didn't realise I was doing it, there's no, there's no good me saying that I did know I was doing it, I didn't know, it was just the way I felt at the time. Just the way the pain was actually affecting me. 

And not being able to work that was the killer, that was the bit the killed me, not being able to go out and do your normal days work.

What advice would you give to somebody about how you are with your family?

Well the only thing that you can do is just actually, is just wait until you're better and actually you've just got to make it up to them. Because sometimes actually when you're in pain it takes over, it takes over your mind itself because you are actually too self centred in your pain, you're too just sort of conscious of your pain to bother about anybody else's feelings. 

You become self centred you become just me me me, deal with me. If you're getting that way and you're able to walk and you're causing a lot of bother, just get up and go for a walk, just go out the house and go a walk. Because its not all families that will stick by you actually when you give them abuse. But I think I'm one of the fortunate ones that had a good family that understood what I was going through and they've helped me through it. And its now my turn to pay them back.

 

Was annoyed because his employers seemed to make no effort to help him back to work and he felt...

Was annoyed because his employers seemed to make no effort to help him back to work and he felt...

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Well I.. well when I finished up work it would be year after the accident, about a year after the accident, I actually got called in to see the works doctor. In fact I had been to see him quite a few times. And again him and I just didn't seem to hit it off I don't know if it was because of me being short tempered and everything but I didn't seem to get on with him at all. 

And then in the November, was it the November I can't mind whether it was the November or not, that the work sent me a letter to come in and see them and just see the works doctor they had a report from my own doctor and the doctors report from there work, they both said that I wouldn't be able to do that job again. 

So I was paid off, and again that made me bitter because I actually worked hard for that firm, I actually went into the place, and I practically re-piped the factory I worked a lot of hours for them and I thought 'You've not gave me much of a chance to get back on my feet', one year and then I was out the door. And then from then I just didn't know what to do with myself, you're used to having '300, '400 wages and you go down to '72 a week. 

I just didn't know how to get over it, I just worried about my mortgage, my house, I've had it all these years, I've only got 5 years to pay the house and things like that. All this added to the burden and it must do it to... I think it must do it to everybody because it destroys you inside, it destroys your independence. 

Because you know that your wife has got to go out to work to keep you and I found that really hard to accept, I found that really tough. But still as I said I have a nice daughter and son who actually helped us through bad times, they were there all the time and if I needed anything they gave me it. They bought us a new TV, they bought us different things, my daughter always made sure that I had money in, I had to make a payment on my mortgage which was a great thing that she did for me. But I found that really soul destroying it really pulls you down because you think that you're useless, you're no good for anything, you can't do anything.

 

Talks about litigation process after his injury at work and explains he had to pay back his...

Talks about litigation process after his injury at work and explains he had to pay back his...

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Well the outcome of the course case was I won my case and it was settled out of court. So actually before I got a penny the social security took back '20,000. And that to me I thought, I says 'So why are they taking this back?' Its I think its some sort of law that every penny they pay you sick pay and if you get a settlement they take all back off exactly what they've paid you.  

You think it, how did that make you feel when, did you think it was worth going through the court case?

Well I you see at times there I was that down, that I just wanted to forget all about the court case. And it was just, and it was just with people speaking to just friends said 'No look, you've suffered because of this accident you are very nearly there just go and get it over and done with'. And even that day of the court case I actually spoke to my QC and that I was ready to tell him just to scrub it but he said 'No, we've came this far we're going to see what we can get'.  

But with what money I did get, just don't get me wrong it will get me through for a quite a while. But still I would rather have my health than have all the money, I would rather be still working than actually having this pay out. Actually when you pay your lawyers excess fees and you're paying the Social security there's quite a lump comes off it, that's before you even see any money, but still as I say its all over and done with but its quite scary, its quite scary to think that folk can actually can delve into your personal life and there's nothing you can do about it, they follow you everywhere, doesn't matter where you went they followed you.  

I actually even tried as I said at the start of the interviews there I tried voluntary work to help other people. They tried to make out that I was earning money from that, and believe me I never, I never take a penny of anybody, anything I do for people its voluntary. 

And these people are trying to make a case out of me getting money for this and it was that bad that they even came into the place where I was actually doing the voluntary work under pretences, that they're wife just wasn't well that they needed treatment and asked could they get the treatment, so they were put down on a waiting list and they gave a mobile phone number and after a wee while somebody phoned the mobile number because they hadn't turned up for that appointment and that's when we found out it was the investigators. 

But its really hard, actually when, I find it hard when you're trying to help yourself and try to get better and to get off the system, you are trying to get off the sick to do something with your life and these people are trying to make out that you're a thief a ponce or whatever. They're actually trying to make out that you're earning money.

 

Went on pain management courses, gained confidence and started to read books.

Went on pain management courses, gained confidence and started to read books.

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And I think from then onwards getting taught different things, like I got put on pain management courses and how to cope, just how to cope with your pain, and I found that very, very helpful. It didn't take your pain away but it gave you better insight on how to cope with the pain.

Again it took me quite a long while to get rid of the depression but that lifted and I started to take part in different things in the association. Topics and anything at all they came up with, I always took part in these things. And I wasn't one for, I'm talking about even before my accident I actually wasn't that type of person who would actually get up in a meeting with a group of people and speak. 

In fact I wouldn't even speak on the phone, but then when I started going to the pain association I began to get more confident. I then started to speak at meetings and then gradually I began to actually pick up the phone, answer the phone and also just sort of phone other people which was to me a great thing on its own, because I never, never phoned, I never actually picked the phone up I wouldn't speak to anyone on the phone.

So from that day onwards I thought well there must be an alternative to this and I started to do something that I had never done in my life was read books, I started to try to read books. It was hard because of my concentration, because I could go over the one page maybe once or twice until it sunk in but it still I just kept at it.

 

Recalls finding mainly women at the support group but eventually talked to others and found that...

Recalls finding mainly women at the support group but eventually talked to others and found that...

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I went to the Pain Association, when I first walked into the meeting it was just all women and it was a shock to my system, 'I'm not sitting here with all these women'. But no, once the meeting started and they started speaking about their pain because they spend one hour on different topics, like how to relax, just relaxation techniques, they have got different things about how to move on after your pain and after your accident. 

And I was just sitting taking things on board. And then it was that night that this other gentleman came in, and once he came in I began to relax a little bit more. But I didn't speak that night at the meeting, in fact I don't think I spoke in the meeting for about 3 or 4 meetings. And it was after that, I begun to pick up confidence and actually talk to different people about my symptoms and they were saying 'Well that is what I had, I had this, I had that'. 

And the thing about it is each person helps you through all these different parts and its good to have somebody that can actually, that's went through it all and knows just what they're talking about and also the beauty of it is that you could just sort of relate to that and it helped you it helped you to know that it just wasn't all in your head, it just wasn't you imagining it.

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