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Living With Pain FREE TO VIEW

Sarah June Rohrs, BS Journalism
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “I wrote ‘Living With Pain’ to shed light on what it’s like to live with a loved one in chronic pain.” Sarah Rohrs is a 30-year newspaper reporter veteran, photographer, and poet.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.

Chest. 2015;148(2):566. doi:10.1378/chest.14-2801
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Pain, blipping lines on a radar
saying here I come again
today, this morning, any time. Furrows
on your face sag again as you
write in your pain log. It's a red day, up
from orange, a long way from green.
Birds stand alert on wires outside our
kitchen window, their shapes
notes on sheet music but no songs
come that sound relief. Lines go
over our streets and sidewalks, tunnel
under ground, the very rooms we're in.
I'm about to speak, more words that
come narrow and squiggly, or may
erupt in volcanic spurts again and
again rising in spikes and arrows
across the equilibrium we try to keep,
that might keep days whole and sane
from the pain. Damn it. Angry at
this hour's lament, a roaring shoot
of flames up and down your spine,
lightning bolts igniting more tendrils
of frayed nerve endings through
flattened, degenerated discs,
snaking deeper and deeper ever
intent to throw off guard, keep us
fixated on a light emanating somewhere
in this maze of tunnels, no straight
tracts here. More banging for voices on
phone lines. Now. Somebody please listen
and help. Line up a new battery of
pills and prescriptions. Lay flat along a
line of yoga mats with a Buddha at the
end of the room and wonder where
the mercy has gone, how we got lost here.




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