The Medl in News
Of course, I can’t be going 24/7. In the moments I’m at rest, I take the opposite approach. Being able to meditate on the pain— sitting with it, accepting it, and letting it go — is an important exercise. I’m far from a zen master, but in the 38 years since my injury, meditation has certainly helped me move forward. All this took time, though. Like many who have been critically injured, I went through all seven stages of grief, and not in rapid succession either. The event left me in shock, and I had plenty of denial and anger to deal with in the years that followed. But the stage that was most pernicious was depression. There are few things more isolating than unrelenting pain. No matter how sympathetic the people around you are, the daily struggle can wear you down mentally and turn your mind into your own worst enemy. Thankfully I sought help. There are plenty of great support groups out there for people facing chronic pain, and I can’t recommend them enough. The opportunity to talk to others who know what you are going through and have your voice is heard makes all the difference in the world. And then, of course, there’s my daughter, Nadia. Raising her with my wife has been one of the great joys of my life. At the time of writing this, I just got back from the library with another stack of books for her. We finished reading “Treasure Island,” and we’re both excited to start another adventure. I can’t wait to watch Nadia’s own story unfold, and no amount of pain is going to get in the way of that. It’s no accident her name means hope in Ukrainian.
My Life With Chronic Pain
While I’ve made reference to it in past editions of our newsletter, I feel this story deserves a full telling. When I was attending law school, an unstable person with a firearm shot me in the back. As you can tell by reading this, I survived, graduated, and passed the bar. While I’m fortunate to have my life and the career I’ve built, the pain of this event has stuck with me to this very day. Many of the personal injury claimants we work with know this feeling all too well. The gunshot wound left me with a permanent disability, which affects the way I move. But the most debilitating ramification by far is the chronic pain. I’ve tried everything under the sun to live with the condition, with the exception of painkillers. As tempting as it is to dull the pain with drugs like OxyContin, doing so would make it impossible for me to do my job. Knowing myself and the clients who rely on me to have a clear head, pharmaceuticals have never been an option. In my own life and experience in the personal injury field, I‘ve seen that each person has their own way of managing pain. I want to share my own experience with chronic pain. Obviously I’m not a medical professional, so I can’t say the way I address my pain will work for you. But I hope reading this will show you there is hope. It may take time and experimentation, but believe me when I say this pain doesn’t have to define your life forever. Honestly, what works best for me is to stay busy. I’ve always been something of a workaholic, but in the years after my injury, productivity became an essential part of my life. It gave me something to focus on and kept me from dwelling on my pain. From legal work to cycling, being able to challenge myself helps me momentarily break free of those aches.
If you’re struggling with chronic pain, please knowyou aren’t alone,
– Gary L. Medlin, Esq.
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