Physical Pain and a Wake-Up Call

This post is about my physical health, however, I am going to keep my issues vague because I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give advice. I’m just curious if you’ve had a similar experience.

A few weeks ago, I was having a lot of pain in my knee and my coworkers noticed I was limping around the office. My boss said I looked distressed and asked me if I was okay. I ended up calling off work a couple of days before finally going to the doctor. 

I did receive a diagnosis but unfortunately, because of other health issues, I am unable to take pain medication. I didn’t know that. I knew I had a few small problems physically, but maybe they weren’t as small as I thought.

This was a wake-up call.

After thirty years of an eating disorder and twenty years of psych meds, it’s probably no surprise that I have a few health issues. The line between physical health and mental health has blurred – they’re intertwined and now both require my attention. 

Could it be that after forty years on this planet, I’m finally going to take care of myself?

My concern about my knee bled into other areas of my life. I am taking doctor appointments more seriously. I’m doing well at work and I appreciate my coworkers’ concern and support. I’m also addressing issues in therapy I’ve never talked about before. I am actively recovering from a destructive youth and toxic people while also healing my body.

Older and wiser? Maybe. A little scared? Probably. 

This may sound weird, but having knee pain – while it sucked at the time – may have had a good effect. I learned more about my body and looked at my health as a whole. Also, if this hadn’t happened I still wouldn’t know that I couldn’t take pain meds. Now I can prevent further damage to my body.

My knee pain has subsided and I’ve really thrived in the last few weeks. I hope it continues, but if it doesn’t, I know to ask for help.

I would love to hear your stories. Have you ever had a wake-up call? What moves you to take care of yourself?


  1. Katydid says

    So glad you’re focusing on your physical health. You’re absolutely right–physical health can affect mental health, and vice versa. The body needs nutrients and if it doesn’t get them, it will let you know one way or another.

    So, here’s my story; I was always very active–ran a few marathons as a teen and young adult. I was never close to winning anything, but I loved the challenge, loved the rush of achievement. After I had kids, I got into triathlons–running, swimming, and biking. That combined three things I like. About 20 years ago, I listened to all the people around me saying “Go vegetarian! More energy! Healthier!” So I talked to my primary care doctor about it, he told me about the team of nutritionists at the local hospital, and suggested I work with them to make sure I was getting all my nutrients.

    So I did. And over the course of a couple of years, I noticed not only did I have less energy, but I wasn’t feeling well. I told my doctor, who said it was all in my head. I told the nutritionist, who said I just needed to “try harder”, eat more whole grains, etc. etc. Dr. Google told me I was diabetic, but my doctor denied it, saying “we never see diabetes in someone your size”.

    One of my coworkers was alarmed enough to make me test my blood with his test kit at work…my fasting blood sugar was 300. I was diabetic. The carb-carb-carb nature of vegetarianism pushed my body past its ability to cope with it. I found another doctor, demanded testing: I was also anemic and low in B vitamins even though I took a daily multivitamins; a lot of people simply can’t get their Bs unless they eat meat and eggs and dairy.

    That was my wake-up call to stop relying on people who say they’re the experts, and to listen to my own body and what it needs.

  2. Oggie: Mathom says

    About 10 years ago, I was lying in bed reading. And my chest started to ache. And I started to sweat. And the pain radiated up to my left shoulder and down my arm. And my breath was short.
    I, at the time, was not only certified in CPR, AED and First Aid, I taught it at my park. So I knew the warning signs. So we called for an ambulance. They gave me nitro, which alleviated some of the pain.
    At the hospital, I confused the hell out of the doctors. My blood had none of the toxin markers for a heart attack, but my cardio graphs showed a heart attack. And the odd rhythm disappeared. I got a cardio CAT scan which showed far less plaque than normal for someone my age.
    On advice of my doctor, I dropped about fifty pounds (getting me down to 240) and, believe it or not, was ordered to eat more eggs. My cholesterol was down around 60, but the good and bad cholesterol were out of whack. So I got my cholesterol up to 80 — the good increased, the bad did not.
    I’m now 57 and my heart is in really good shape. My lungs have some minor damage from two COVID rounds (yes, I get the vaccines). And taking care of my heart means that when I dislocated my neck, the surgery was safer.
    So now I am retired (disability) but my heart is good and hopefully will stay good.

  3. SailorStar says

    What the two examples is showing is that bodies can be very, very different from some half-mythical “standard”.

  4. anat says

    Oggie: Mathom @2: ‘Good’ cholesterol is no longer a thing. The only lipid number that matters for cardiovascular risk is considered to be ApoB, but in the absence of this measurement the best approximation is non-HDL cholesterol (the only reason to measure HDL-cholesterol is to know what to subtract from total cholesterol). I doubt anyone would have given you the advice about the eggs today, though dropping weight is a very strong protective factor (and if eating more eggs improves your satiety then that could be a good thing).

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