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Poetry Enco Jack Coulehan, Editor ‘Author's Commentary: | wrote “A Day Without Pain” to illustrate my embodiment of chronic pain. ! believe that creativity is what makes us unique- A Day Without Pa kristin Leigh Davis ly human. We can achieve fulfilment-and healing-through Kristin Davis @uct.edu the creative act. Working on this poem allowed me to work ‘through some difficult issues of ego, identity, fear, and pain My blood tests are normal. and, thus, was an act of self-healing. ‘ook just fine. Meanwhile | feel horrible | have experienced continuous chronic pain since 2002, when ‘And my pain is a nine. | first developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Physicians told me that my condition resulted from “brain dis- ‘When | have a day without pain organization,” which led to muscular pain, poor concentra- [eel that lim on the mend tion, anxiety, and other symptoms. in addition to the medical Yet tomorrow arrives... help that | received, including antivirals, antibiotics, pain med- ‘And the pain is a ten. ‘cations, and physical therapy, | discovered that natural meth- ods, like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing work wonders ‘My breath isso shallow for my pain. Calming the imonkey mindi is definitely one of lim lightheaded, woozy. ‘the most helpful methods for reducing chronic pain. Through S01 won't become sallow, ‘these methods live developed a sense of being in control of Tremember, Breathe deeply. my symptoms, and thus experience more pain-free days than | had early in my illness. Moreover, my pain levels are much ‘When faced with my lack lower (e.g,, 3, 4) than the excruciating 9s and 10s | previously Of accomplishments of late, suffered from every day. lim frustrated and angry ‘And just want to hate Healthy people often find it difficult to empathize with those ‘who experience high levels of chronic pain, Sufferers “look Itall: from my garbled brain fine.” Their medical tests are normal. Others are confused, and To neck and bottom aches. frequently skeptical, about these “complainers.” Yet, our suf- Barbed wire twists muscle pain fering is very real, and our inability to find sympathetic under- ‘And my heart breaks. standing from others only makes it worse. How can we help. them to understand? In fragmented fragility My present becomes my past, Poetry is an apropos way of vividly communicating the emo- Unchanged and changing rapidly, tions wrapped up in a painful existence, and of providing in- ‘And life as ! know itis cast sight into a problem uninhabited by a great many in our so ety. In this poem | focus on the theme of self-efficacy. Despite Instone with brittle edges frustration and anger, despite the inevitable setbacks, the Wrapped tightly in agony. poetis voice (mine) recognizes that change is a “slow process.” I travel these painful spaces Thope the poem will assist others in reframing their painful Seeking a different destiny ‘experiences in a less negative, more neutral, of even positive way by finding opportunities within the dark challenges of a yet, in a slow process of change, painful existence: “And | am finally free.” [find a way to relax and be, to live with a greater range. And lam finally free. 6 Volume 26 Number3,Fall2012 | BUILDING COMMUNITY, PROVIDING VOICE. SUPPORT MEDICAL ENCOUNTER A Publication of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare ATION Volume 26 Number 3 Fall 2012 AACH @ Communeston'nHeathcare BETTER COMMUNICATION. BETTER RELATIONSHIPS. BETTER