I know some of my readers will know that I am disabled as I have written about it often, and that the only part of me that does not hurt is my left hand, and sadly that is now being affected, but this is not a blog about feeling sorry for myself, but rather I wanted to write about a whole new concept and trial that I have been taking part in.

PMP or Pain Management Programme is something the NHS are using and this is online so that people can access the help during the pandemic. I have been now participating for 2 weeks and it is a 6 week course. I am with 5 other people who are suffering from various degrees of pain and disabilities and I actually feel it is a much better concept than going into the hospital for those days as there would be the stress of travelling, parking etc.

At the hospital there is always that white coat syndrome and with Mr Points of Sue being unwell we must spend half of our lives in one or another, so to actively take part in a programme that is 3 hours long, 3 days a week is perfect.

We start off by working with a Physiotherapist and they go through the exercises gently and no one is forced to do it, and coming from the comfort of your own home you don’t feel the pressure that you would normally.

We discuss how each and every symptom can affect us and Graham who is our Physio takes us through each and every exercise. You must have a camera to join in and I am already able to sit on the floor which is something I could never do. It is painful and takes me a while as I am both nervous and fretful but I did it and that is a great achievement.

He has showed me safely how to get on the floor and it has been years since I have been able to do that, and he doesn’t make me feel as though I am a disappointment and there is the support of the other ladies who gee you up so much and we are each others biggest fans. I am aching today because I managed to keep up the exercises, and whilst not as smooth and as good as Graham’s or indeed one of the ladies who never ceases to amaze me with her boundless energy, I have still managed it and feel so normal as I can do something.

Next there is the Psychologist and we discuss how the fact we are in pain feels and again it is not daunting, and we speak quite freely and nobody judges anyone else, and the love and support I feel from those participating makes me want to join in and that support is given back. We are very fastly becoming friends and they are an amazing bunch and they make the programme.

Today for instance we were discussing hoovers and how to use the lightweight ones due to back pains and it felt so natural to offer and take advice, and that is because the Hospital has put together not only staff who care but have put together a bunch of people who actually fit like a glove and that is the best part of it.

We learn how to understand our pain and the many emotions we are going through, and mine is mainly anger. I am angry at the young man who left me disabled through his stupidity in driving a car carelessly and hitting me, and I am more angry at myself for not being able to do things. It is almost like saying it is ok to be angry but do you know why you are angry, and it was so refreshing to know that I am not alone in this as being disabled and detached from things can make you feel that you are alone, and with this awesome bunch of people I know I am not alone and to share the pain and frustration is the biggest healer I feel as not being judged and not being ridiculed and tutted at is a healer.

It heals your heart and your emotions and then we have the OT who takes us through body and mind mapping and I am learning to take time out and meditate, although its hard when there is a cat fight going on just before bed but that time to learn to breathe properly and to know that it is alright to feel pain makes me realise that I have been too hard on myself, and that I am the worst critic of myself.

Week 3 begins next week and we are only the 2nd cohort to go through this and I think that Walton Hospital Pain Management Team have produced something that is bordering on a miracle, as they are saying it is ok to be in pain and it is ok to be angry and it is ok to want time out by yourself, but share it with your loved ones and don’t be embarrassed as that is what I felt the most. Especially when someone looks at my granddaughter pushing the trolley round the shops because I can’t and that it is ok to ignore the comments, or to explain if I felt that way and to get past my feeling that I am being judged.

It is brilliant to find out what is causing the pain and the way the medical people explain it, it can be frightening…for instance if your GP states you have a crumbling back it scares the norm out of you, and then to find out that there is no crumbling back only problems with the fluid or the bulges or the discs etc, and that you won’t suddenly wake up one day with your spine in pieces was very soothing….as that was the real worry but it isn’t now.

We set ourselves tasks each week and mine as silly as it sounds is to play connect 4 with my youngest grandson on the floor as getting down to the carpet is not something I could do before, and now I have managed it 3 times. I know it will take time and I know that there could be more failures to deal with in the future, but they are telling me that it is fine to fail but to not let that failure define who I am.

I cannot recommend this PMP Course enough. It is like spending 3 hours a day, 3 days a week with friends on a coffee morning and I don’t feel that I am cornered, stressed or judged, and that everything they are doing is for the benefit of myself and others and it really is one of the best things I have been on.

If you are offered the chance to attend a health course online then don’t be worried about it, as the health workers have put their heart, souls and knowledge in to everything they do and it can only result in a positive result and the guy at Walton Hospital Pain Management Team have achieved this already, and the service they offer is top star treatment.