CRPS: How can one begin to explain chronic pain?
For those who have never experienced constant chronic pain typically seen in CRPS, it is a foreign language, always just around the peripheral but never omnipresent. It serves a purpose to keep us safe, but it is never intended to stay for long. The injury heals,time moves on and so does the pain. That is the way it has always been.
Until one day it doesn’t, instead it lingers and invades every aspect of your daily life.
There are two different ages in my life that I mark as before and after being diagnosed with CRPS. Before diagnosis, I could outrun circles around a circle. After diagnosis, I am lucky if I am able to put my own shoes on.
It is hard for people who have never experienced this constant nagging, burning pain to comprehend this.
So many times that I have lost count I have been told that “These things take time, you will be better by (time frame).” That time frame always comes and goes as a minor blip on the calendar and I am worse, not in any way better.
I was made aware of an interesting case of a woman who claims to have been injured by a wine bottle whilst out shopping. She claims that a result of this injury is that she has developed CRPS. She says that because the wine was not placed in a double bag that the bag tore resulting in her injury. As a result of this belief and due to the nature of the injury, she has decided to file a claim against the store for 8.3 million dollars.
I shared this story with friends outside of the CRPS community and got reactions in a large range. Many called her greedy and selfish and some commented that she didn’t need that amount of money. Some also said that she was making it look worse by complaining about the use of a crutch.
I will not deny for a lot of reasons we are a “sue for no reason” type of society at times, but this is the one time where this Author believes this is a justifiable number that covers the need.
Imagine that you are middle aged and you have been putting what little savings you have aside for retirement with the rest eventually going to your kids.
One day you do something you have done a million times before and go to the store. This is something we all do almost every week, only for this lady fate had another idea.
A wine bottle breaks through a plastic bag and lands on her foot creating a series of unfortunate events leading to the development of CRPS.
Suddenly all of your carefully laid plans are uprooted and dashed to the four winds. You can’t work, can’t care for yourself let alone others. A well provided family can turn destitute almost over night due to this disease.
Suddenly you have to account for paying for medications, doctors, co-pays and specialists that you never knew existed. Your days become a mix of taking medications for pain, having procedures just to keep minimal function, taking more medication for the side effects of the procedures and yet more medications for the pain. These are just the minor things and already the bill has steadily begun to increase, soon becoming very high indeed. Eventually you have to move on to surgical procedures that often stretch to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.
All the while there is still the family to provide for, but how is this even possible?
In today’s society we cannot go like our past ancestors and live on only one salary. More and more families now depend on having two bread winners to ensure stability in the home.
What if suddenly one of these crutches breaks?
Let’s do a bit of Math:
- Average Income of a Family in the United States- $51,939(1)
- “Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage $16,351 this year, with workers on average paying $4,565 toward the cost of their coverage” (2)
- Average Mortgage per year- $12,876 (3)
- Cost of Food (Low Budget, for One Year) – $7228– about $139 per week (4)
- Co-pays- Four Appointments a month (PT, GP, Specialist, and Pain Management.) Average is about $20 an appt.- $960 a year.
Let us start there. Let’s cut the average income in half since we are all for equality- $25,969.50
Minus Mortgage- $8528.50
Minus Food- $1300.50
We are left with $340.50
That is $28.37 a month and we have not even covered taxes, car insurance, utilities and other necessities.
Suddenly we can see the dire situation we are in and we are headed into the red pretty fast.
According to the article they say the lawsuit is:
“seeking non-economic damages for pain and suffering of $4.2 million, plus nearly $4.1 million in economic damages from $74,048 in medical expenses plus expected future medical expenses, loss of earned income and other expenses.” (5)
She is asking the highest number hoping to reach the stars below. I know I would do the same if someone asked me, “What is my life worth?”
She is doing the best thing that she knows how to do, with the ability she has left. Provide for herself and her family, it is just in a different way to somebody else.
What are your thoughts on this case and do you believe that the amount being sought is excessive?
Please leave a comment below and let us know your opinion as we love to read your comments!