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News that isn’t news: Broken bones hurt.

Untreated, these compression fractures hurt worse than surgical pain. I had been telling anyone who would listen, including Howard Center employees, for a long time. In those words. Over and over.

I am not a lightweight when it comes to pain. This has been kicking my ass.

I don’t know how good other people are at detecting pain in my posture and stuff, but this is a picture of me shortly before my hospital stay.

From left to right: Anne, Mel, and Igor. Several people have commented that we all have the same expression somehow.

I’m the one in the middle.

Anne said that the whole time, I was standing up to avoid the pain of sitting down, and that I was moving as if my entire back and torso was one unit, like not twisting or bending at all.

This was maybe a week or a few days before the hospital.

I was in a metric fuckton of pain already.

So just to be clear: This stress fracture shit hurts worse than surgery.

And it’s not just the broken bones themselves, it’s all the muscle groups attached to them and all kinds of other shit involving how you move your body. And it got much worse than the day the photo was taken. I kinda wish someone could just draw me out a good diagram of what is even happening inside me. Because it’s really confusing. I’m good at understanding the mechanics of things, I just need some kind of reference point and I don’t have one other than this hurts like fuck.

And it hurts in new ways. Things my body isn’t used to at all. Some of them come with warnings. I can’t understand sometimes whether the warnings are saying “Hey you broke your back” — the obvious — or “Hey there’s something still going on that you need to pay attention to with this broken back of yours” — less obvious and more important to pay attention to. I can’t tell which is which here.

I’m used to broken and bruised ribs. This is way worse.

I had a roommate in the hospital who was very open about expressing how much pain they were in. I’m not always so good at that. But it seems important to document that this hurts like fuck, it has been hurting like fuck, it will probably continue to hurt like fuck, and that without the amount of meds the hospital has me on, I probably wouldn’t be functioning half as well. And even with the meds, it hurts like fuck. The meds just dull it enough that I can function through it some of the time. But it still prevents me from doing a lot of things I can normally do. And I think because I’m not good at expressing it, people don’t get how much it’s affecting me unless they’re perceptive enough or know me well enough to just know how much this hurts by how I’m behaving.

So, like, Anne (the one in the picture above) can see perfectly well just by looking at me how much pain I’m in. But a lot of people can’t. So it just gets overlooked a lot or underestimated or something. This happens to me a lot. Even around well-meaning people.

The most I’ve expressed it is by the noises I make when I stand. I don’t make them as much anymore. But they ranged from grunting or screaming, to “Shitfuck,” a word that keeps happening in these situations for some reason. Some of the nurses are really amused by the word “shitfuck”. Not that I blame them. Yes, I know I have a foul mouth, where do you think this blog got its name? Cussing happens. According to a friend of mine, cussing even actually reduces pain. So maybe there’s a reason we cuss when things hurt.

Anyway, I’m used to having my pain underestimated, but you’d think the diagnoses and x-rays and such would speak for themselves. And I still wonder how many times I have to break my back to have a broken back taken seriously by everyone. Because literally everyone should take such a thing seriously in anyone no matter what. FFS. It hurts.


Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

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