A-Z

Interview CP08

Age at interview: 53
Brief Outline: Back pain following injury working with horses 1999. Surgery: Discectomy, 1999. Treatment: Pain Clinic for epidural steroid injection. Current medication: co-codamol (Tylex), codeine phosphate, tramadol.
Background: Medically retired horse breaker; divorced; 3 children.

More about me...

 

Gained weight when he became less active but set himself walking targets and slowly worked up to...

Gained weight when he became less active but set himself walking targets and slowly worked up to...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
As I mean I'm not a person who has taken exercise because I don't need exercise if you have got a dozen horses, you don't need exercise. You're gonna get all the exercise you want, like it or not. But after the accident I couldn't really come up with a kind of exercise that I could do without really hurting me. 

I did things like setting myself a walking target. I was like, if I could meet the walking target, you know. Like halfway down the track first and back and then three quarters of the way down the track and back and then to the first bend in the track and back and that was, that was more like it, you know achievements sounds silly, but those were like achievements and there were days you couldn't do it. 

Tomorrow will be better, but I've got a gun dog and we both put an amazing amount of weight on because when you go from working a 12, 15 sometimes 18 hour day to doing nothing. I mean eating habits didn't change, it had nothing to do with that but I've been at 11 and a half stone for years and all of a sudden I went up to 15. And I thought, well I've got to do something and walking would at least keep the legs moving and it's a thing you can actually see the achievements. If you reach a point and manage to walk back, you can extend it and slowly things did get better. I mean I could walk the whole length of the track and back now. 

I would take a stick but I could still do it but if I like walk to the car no problem. The sticks in the car when I go out because I had to go somewhere, I mean I don't go anywhere without the stick. Where as I could walk down to the bottom of the track now with a stick and that would be just under the half mile. On day 1, I mean 25 yards was a major, major struggle, you know. 

But I have, after I had a couple or three diets, some of which have worked, some haven't and I'm on a diet now and it is working, I mean I'm down to under 14 stone like. Which is a long way from 11 and a half but I don't see myself getting back to 11 and a half unless I start mucking horses out again and riding and that's not going to be, that's not going to happen. But I mean the first time I managed the bottom of the track, I thought that was a great day, you know. Prior to that you wouldn't even have thought about that, would you.

 

Explains that epidurals can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. He found the relief minimal...

Explains that epidurals can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. He found the relief minimal...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It is' very easy. I suppose it's similar to the epidural that a woman gets when she has a baby, if she wants. It is just a rather large needle stuck in the spine. It's a production line thing. There is a lot of us lined up in the morning... you've got a choice of a sedative, which I declined because you can get out of hospital quicker if you don't. And you are basically laid face down on the operation table there's a local anaesthetic, then the epidural goes in which, its uncomfortable but that's all. It's not out and out painful. 

You've got a needle in your arm because sometimes it causes a very rapid loss of blood pressure, I don't have side effects from many things. You lay in recovery for 30 minutes and then you can go home. But they are happy if you got someone who can pick you up and drive you. So I told them I had but I didn't really, had two of those and I wouldn't bother with it again because the improvement is minimal and you slip back anyway so' I get on far better with the way I take the drugs and the way I manage what I do. That's the best way to do it.

 

Accepted that he would never go back to his work with horses and has got on with the rest of his...

Accepted that he would never go back to his work with horses and has got on with the rest of his...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It's... unless there is something to which you can see an end like now I've done the damage there is no end. The quicker you can come to terms with the fact that pain is going to be part of your life the quicker actually you can get on with it. 

Don't expect too much, but always look for that little bit more. I mean I can do most things so long as I don't do them too long which is why we stop every 20 minutes/30 minutes just so I could move and then I'm okay, you know. If we were walking every 25/30 minutes we would stop and have a rest. 

It's just, just don't do anything too long and you can get by. It isn't the way I want live, it's the way I've got to live now. I mean, nobody made me a horse breaker, I chose it. And but it's a higher risk occupation, horses are a high-risk sport. I don't believe in whinging about it. But its... if what we are doing is going to help anybody else, then great. But the important thing, well the most important thing looking back, is that, is the acceptance thing. 

How did you come to that?

Well, like initially I refused to accept that I couldn't get back to work. I mean I am not somebody who suffers illness and I have very rarely been ill and I have had, other accidents that have stopped me working for a while, but I always knew I would get back. And I'm not saying that I was kidding myself at the back of my mind I knew things weren't quite the same this time. 

And unfairly at the time I kept saying to the consultant 'When do you think I can get back to work?' because I, although I probably wouldn't have admitted it, I think I did know then that things weren't going to be the same. And in the end I said to him, you know 'we are not going to get back to work are we' you know and he said 'Well, I don't think so, I certainly wouldn't advise it so...' and that was him trying to be as positive as he could. 

But when it comes to accepting it, nobody else can do it for you. You've got to do that yourself, you know. And when you have accepted it and its sunk in you have got to think 'okay' works out the question 'Let's have a look at the rest of it' and the rest of it is to me is having as normal a life as possible.

 

Says you have to be ruthless on good days and do the things that you want to do.

Says you have to be ruthless on good days and do the things that you want to do.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well, firstly make sure it's going to be a good day and not just a good start to the day. If it is a good day, I mean I have got a whole list of things that I want to do. I fully intend to do. Some of them to do with horses, some of them not and if I think I'm going to get a good day then you've got to be pretty ruthless and not let other people get in the way because you can end up frittering your time away and do nothing you know just because of other people getting in the way. 

So you have got to be a little bit selfish, a little bit self-centred in that respect. Say if you say 'Right today, I'm going to, for instance, go to that Jack Vettriano exhibition' somebody rings up wanting to do something else it's got to be a 'No'. You get yourself to the exhibition and you always, always stay within your limits. I mean I'll see as much as I can but if that, that ache starts on the, in that L5 area then you know I'll call it a day but until it does I know I'll walk round the exhibition as many times as I want, I'll see what I want to do. 

But I did find out very quickly you've got to be quite ruthless with people. They don't know what you're doing. They haven't got a clue what it is your doing or why you're doing it. And I don't feel disposed to explain it to them. So if somebody says well you know 'Can I come over and do this'. The answer is 'No, I'm busy'. And I'll get myself down to the exhibition or I'll get myself to see this new horse or I'll go to an event or' I mean they are more than welcome to come along with me but I'm still going to do it, you know. 

Otherwise, you do fritter your good days away and I refuse to do that. If you're, if you plan for it, and you can be just a little bit ruthless then you're okay. I mean on a day, a bad day, people can come and see you then, can't they, when you are sat at home. That's okay if they can jump in their car and driver over here and I'll sit and talk to them all day. But a day I'm going out, then I'm going out. Sounds cruel but it works. You've got to do something like that.

 

Put off claiming benefits because he believed he would get back to work but now regrets using up...

Put off claiming benefits because he believed he would get back to work but now regrets using up...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yeah, after the accident I obviously couldn't work and I didn't really think about it that much. When I did think about it was when I ran out of money. I was using my own money but when I ran out I couldn't pay the rent and I had to go and do something about it. And initially I was on Income Support but after a while that changed to some kind of disability, Disability Benefit. The name of which escapes me but it is some kind of disability benefit. 

And it's barely sufficient but I shouldn't have waited that long, that length of time. I shouldn't have spent my own money' The Benefit System, Christ I've paid into it for long enough, the Benefit System is there to be used. But it was' I don't know maybe it was subconsciously I might have been thinking to myself that, if you start doing that then you're admitting that you're not going to get back to work and everything I was doing then was getting back to horses, getting back to doing what I was doing with horses. 

But with hindsight I shouldn't have waited that long. I mean I even got to the point where I was selling things to pay bills and, which is absolutely stupid and I don't recommend it to anybody. Seeing as how when I did, decide that I needed benefit, the people involved at their end were very helpful, really, really helpful people. And they even told me I shouldn't have waited so long but there's not lot they can do about it, you know. I did get some of it backdated but not an awful lot. I think I was nearly... about a year before I went and got any benefits, by the time I went and did I had no money left anyway.

 

Does not find commercial or American sites useful and suspects that no two experiences of pain...

Does not find commercial or American sites useful and suspects that no two experiences of pain...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Have you ever looked up information about pain at all, about back injuries on the internet, say?

Well I did in the early days, but so much of it is American based anyway and a lot of it is sponsored by Drug Companies so I was not that impressed. The thing that I have noticed about pain is no two people have got the same take on it. I mean my pain isn't the same as somebody else's pain even with a roughly similar injury and I mean pain itself is an intangible, like I can't remember  the last bad day. I mean I can remember the date of the last bad day but I can't remember what it felt like. If tomorrow is a good day, I won't remember what today felt like. 

I mean you can't remember pain because if you could women would only ever have one baby. It's a thing that everybody's got to deal with as an individual I think, and the same kind of pain means different things to different people and I think I end up dealing with it at the end of the day, it's 95% at least is going to down to the kind of person you are and the way you would deal with anything else. 

I mean I admit initially, I did, in a way let it get on top of me, but that's a lot to do with refusing to accept how bad things were, but once I did, it makes it so much easier. Don't get the idea that I like it because I don't but I am, I don't have the power to change it, nobody I know does either so I've got to deal with it. 

So, would you say that it was any of the information you came across'?

No, not really. No. It's... I am convinced it's one of those things you can't really generalise about. I mean if I were to put anything on the internet I would say that pain doesn't mean the same thing to two different people. And if it is going to be constant in your life, you, the sooner you can (a) come to terms with that and (b) find ways of dealing with it, the happier you are going to be and the quicker you are going to be happier as well. 

I mean, initially I didn't do that good a job but like I say it was tied up with this absolute determination not to accept that things weren't going to get better because I've been in this position before and things have got better but not from this injury they're not.

Previous Page
Next Page