On a bad day, Dr. Brasington has found himself saying to certain patients, “I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble following what you’re saying. My back really hurts today, and I just took some medicine, so I am really fuzzy headed,” he recalls.
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Coping with Chronic Pain
As someone with chronic pain, Dr. Brasington has had to come to grips with having a condition that will never go away. He suggests patients find some comfort in the fact that pain management medications can help them cope.
The acceptance factor is another component. “Although physicians tell patients they must accept having a disease, it’s a lot harder to actually do it. But I can say I understand, because I have a chronic problem, too,” he says.
But for Dr. Brasington, having to accept living with a chronic condition isn’t as difficult as dealing with a family tragedy that occurred more than a decade ago. To cope, Brasington has had a conversation with himself that went something like: “You have to accept that this happened. I don’t like it, and I can’t change it. But it has happened.
“The only way to move forward is to accept it,” he says. “And if I can accept this [loss], I can accept other things I don’t like.”
Editor’s note: Since publication of this article, Dr. Brasington has had spinal surgery scheduled for late January. We wish him a speedy recovery!
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Pennsylvania.