Those who know me will know that I've spent the past few years fighting with some problems while trying to get a degree. The course material has been great, life however has been less so.
About 2 years ago now I injured my back. We're not quite sure how but a couple of my ribs popped out of place. I spent a lot of money getting it treated by a chiropractor and for a while things were good. Unfortunately, when a bus i was travelling on did an emergency stop I hit the seat in front of me and felt my ribs pop out again.
It's slowly been getting worse and now I'm unable to continue with my studies due to the pain. I was barely coping by taking ibuprofen in lectures and codeine while at home, but the ibuprofen caused me to get ill and I had to stop taking it. Now I'm stuck with the only effective painkiller I have being codeine, which leaves me feeling very fuzzy.
This leaves me unable to study or work. If I'm sat for more than an hour I'm in extreme agony. The only way I manage to visit friends is to take a lot of codeine and sit in a lot of pain. I try not to let it show when I'm with people but the pain is unreal. I feel like i need to leave the room and find somewhere quiet to cry it hurts so much.
So now, my life is in a sort of limbo. I have no reason to get up each day and often find myself in tears i'm in so much pain. I don't seem to have anything to fill my days with. There are several activities I like, but many reasons why I can't while away the hours doing them.
I love to read, however between the codeine and my dyslexia I find that I can't focus on the words very well.
I also love to knit, but I have developed problems with my knuckles which pop out of place as I work causing a lot of pain and making it hard to grip the needles.
Crochet isn't so bad, it puts less strain on my knuckles so I can do it for longer stretches. However, on days when my back is really playing up, my ribs press on my shoulder which puts it out of place and causes inflammation to flare up down my arm so I can barely use my right hand some days.
It's hard to find words which explain just how painful it can be, my back hurts constantly and spikes with every breath. My shoulders are always a slowly building pain which then explodes when the joint cracks before calming down to begin the process anew. On the worst days it doesn't calm with the crack and just gets worse and worse. The pain radiates down my arm, I get a deep pain in the middle of my upper arm, which any movement or pressure really exacerbates. My elbow feels like the bones are coated in sandpaper as I move it and my wrist feels like someone has injected acid into it. It feels so swollen and the pain burns. These days are getting more common and they are lasting longer.
I hate taking codeine because of the way it makes my head feel. I don't take it everyday, I can't stand the stronger drugs so I'm trying to just develop a higher pain tolerance so that the codeine is more effective on bad days. I find that I take more codeine at night than any other time as laying on my back is unbelievably painful. Laying on my front is the least painful position, but also one which is impossible to sleep in. Every other position fills me with pain.
So yeah, I'm struggling quite a bit at the moment. Just got to wait and see what happens, hopefully I'll have housing benefit and ESA soon to help me live while I hope to get better and get back into life.
I just wish the NHS didn't treat me like a statistic. Either telling me "At your age it's unlikely your ribs have problems" or "it's because you're a student so 'obviously' have bad posture causing the problem" without even examining me to find out what's going on. I spent long enough getting someone to believe me I had problems with my knees. After having both operated on I still get medical people telling me that people my age don't have knee problems. I'm not a damn number on a computer and I can only hope that some day soon I'll find someone who doesn't treat me like one.