For me, lately at least, my truly horrible moments seem to be when the pain, for whatever reason, escalates suddenly, out of nowhere. I live in constant pain and I'm on a bazillion medications. So I can deal with the pain. Except for the sudden onset escalations. Those send me into mini-panic attacks (because the pain alone isn't bad enough, stupid body of mine).
The triggers for sudden onset pain are typically sudden cold air/wind, when someone accidentally touches my tender spots too hard (pat on the back, squeezing hug on that side), when I fall, when I almost fall but catch myself with my left hand (stupid body reacting stupidly!), and finally the "just because it happens" trigger. I also have the mini-attacks from bad news/emotional pain.
I can't prevent any of these. But when they happen my slight familial tremor I inherited from my mom goes crazy and one body part shakes as if I'm seizing. Literally, if I'm in bed with the tremor, you'd think you were in one of those tacky old motel rooms with the vibrating bed.
In addition to the tremors, my reaction to the pain is tears. Duh, right? Kevin and my dad have gotten really good at identifying the onset by the look on my face (if they aren't by my side for me to just tell them). I clench my face, my entire body as well, but really squeeze my face, refusing to cry until I'm somewhere safe. A private room. The car. Just not in public, not in the middle of my grandma's 90th birthday party, or Opening Day for the Nats, or Easter at my cousins.
I know I need to be hugged. Held. Loved. Reassured. I used to be a "tough girl" who didn't want people to see me cry, ever. If I had to cry I would run away alone, lock myself somewhere totally private. Now when this happens, Kevin or my dad or whoever is emotionally closest to me at the event damn well better take me away. I can't be alone with these tears. I have to be held, so I can start feeling safe.
It is a slow process. It gets worse before it gets better. Once I'm in the private safe place to cry I let go of the tension and my tears come cascading out. My body shakes with sobs, even if the tremor doesn't kick in. My hair gets soaked by my own tears. Kevin's shirt gets drenched. I feel as if I can't breathe, I feel as if I can't possibly survive the next few minutes or hour. I feel like I'm going to die.
I am in that moment trying to rescue myself from drowning in my own pain. I can't possibly do it. When this happens and I'm alone, I inevitably cry and sob until my body is exhausted and I fall asleep. But the best way I survive this, is with Kevin in charge.
We learned the best technique on Opening Day. We were having a great time and it was my first game at Nationals Park. It was actually really warm, even hot, most of the day. I was loving every minute of the experience, sharing one of K's favorite things with him. Watching Bryce Harper hit TWO home runs on Opening Day. What a day!
The Nat's won and we were in celebration mode. Everyone was. We had to wait to meet some friends so Kevin could give them the shirts he made (very clever, about Pitcher Ross Detwiler, "Like a Ross"). Anyways, we were waiting, waiting, and it started getting really cold. And then windy. Double trouble for me. Kevin saw what was happening, and rushed through the exchange with his friends. I tried to smile and greet them nicely; he has wonderful friends.
We rushed to the car, which was parked reasonably close, but at that point it felt hours away for me. I failed my usual steely face and tears were streaming down my face as we navigated the crowd. I just kept my head down and trust Kev to guide me.
Once we made it back to the car, I was immediately relieved to be out of the wind. We laid my seat back and I let the waterworks start. Kevin held me, petted me, reassured me. He looked into my eyes and showed no fear of his own. He told me it was going to be okay, over and over. He said, "It's me and you baby, it's just me and you. It's going to be okay, because it's me and you. I'm not going anywhere. It's me and you."
Time passed. I calmed some. His parents came to the car to drop some things off for us. His mom reassured me and patted my hand through the window. His dad gave me a Nats hat, my very own! They understand remarkably well for me so new to me and my stuff. After they left, Kevin repeated those lines a few more times. The pain was still too much, but I was calm. I was back.
I told him, those words were the best comfort/reassurance I've ever gotten during any panicky times. Most guys I've dated ask me "what am I supposed to do?!" even when I'm halfway comatose after fainting. And once they see something like this, they run away. Men have always run away from me because of my health problems. Kevin is the first to stay. And being reassured, "me and you baby, just me and you," reminded me I'm not alone. I never will be.