Did I act appropriately - or was I just reacting to my pain?

A dilemma? One effect of my long term chronic pain is the inability to stand for too long, in a queue for example. I wanted to return an item to a local store. The 'customer services desk had 4 counters but only 1 person on duty, in front of me was an elderly lady in a wheelchair accompanied by a younger female. They were purchasing/swapping a tv, with the paperwork done the assistant then offered to carry the said tv to their car (some distance from back of store) This would mean me waiting considerably more than the 8-10 minutesI already had. I was fuming! The thought have having to wait longer and the sufferance I'd have to endure was not an option. For the 1st time in15 years I reacted to my pain - I asked the lady (politely) if being in a chair she suffered from chronic pain she replied, no! I can barely feel my legs at all. I replied, I'm sorry too hear that but unfortunately, I suffer from chronic pain and could not wait the additional time required and would she object to the assistant calling someone else to carry her item in order for me to be served. She looked very suprised? but agreed. The assistant appeared shocked until I told him that people with chronic pain do not walk around with flags above their heads and are often in considerably more pain thatn those you assume to be - so please process my item. Why did I feel so ashamed for stating my case? Should I have 'endured' or gone home unsatisfied? Why has pain changed me so much? Your thoughts welcome!

24 Replies

  • Hi

    Well done I say, we are all to polite for our own good, we let people tread all over us not only in our queuing and being abused by the system but by the whole system, we take it as part of life, we read about the bad things happening and we think thank god that was not me.

    Take care and kindest regards


  • I agree with everything you said people cannot see pain but we can feel it. Good for you. Xx

  • Thank you for making this post. I often find myself in a dilemma as you have described and it makes me very sad as I do not want to make a fuss and yet only I know the toll things like this can take on me. For me managing my chronic pain is a difficult and ongoing lesson.

  • I think the more we educate people as to what chronic pain sufferers endure, the more understanding that there might be. A number of supermarkets and shops fail to provide adequate seating. On one occasion recently, I sat on a stack of beer cases in a store and was asked by one of the staff what I was doing. I explained that I suffered chronic knee pain and they did not provide adequate seating for shoppers. They looked surprised until I explained that it was either me seating on these cases or me falling onto the floor. They could make the choice. They walked away!

  • Well some time ago, I was at a Computer Class and I forgot I was unable to carry cups of coffee for 4 of us. Went down in the lift, got to where to order the coffee's, as I fumbled to get the cash out of my purse, I have excessive shaking, I looked at the coffee's on the tray, and remembered that I could never manage to pick the tray up! There was only 1 person behind the counter, with customers waiting, and I knew she wouldn't be able to leave the till unattended - so I thought 'Don't panic' & I turned to a lady in the queue & asked her "Would she mind carrying the tray for me because etc etc. She was fine about it - so what you got to do - you got to do. Don't ask about computer classes when you have 'The Shakes'

    Also if out with my husband & I can't do any more walking, there's a coffee place were I get stashed (I love their baquette's) & a drink, & I quite easily ask if someone can carry the carry the tray for me because etc etc easy peasy.

    Now what you said struck a bell with me. I was stuck in queue the other day and I thought I would pass out (and in M&S they have moved the returns counter upstairs) Anyway I am going to pass a recommendation on to M&S about chairs being available for them that need it. I'll post it if I get a reply. All best wishes.

  • It's an invisible problem to many. Well done for speaking up and doing so in a way that wasn't whingey.

  • Maybe if it was a fit person in front but a disabled old woman in a wheelchair no way and I suffer from the Worlds most painful condition ad can barely wak 15 yds

  • Good morning all, Well I think you did the right thing and anyone who suffers from chronic pain

    (I do) would relate to what you did. most people in wheel chairs would have understood how you felt. I suppose if you had just stood there and then just went down in a heap and caused even more problems in the shop you would have been asked why didn't you say something and I am sure the old lady didn't mind she more than most would have understood your situation. The manager of the shop was at fault for not making sure all customers were catered for. Pain can turn you into a monster at times so stop worrying you have enough to cope with. There may be a time when someone will be in the situation you were in. Good luck to you talgarth.

  • Well done !, there is no way I can stand still because of severe pain,I am always looking for somewhere to sit down or lean against. I was in M&S to get some euros,I waited until the young lad in front of me was returning money from what seemed to be from all around the world, and then change what money he got into another currency ,by this time I was in desperation with so much pain and nowhere to sit. When I reached the counter and asked for euros, guess what! I needed a passport or ID which i did not have on me .I must admit I could hardly stop myself from crying I was in so much pain in fact it brings tears to my eyes just now thinking about it. Again WELL DONE

  • I think the biggest problem when we have chronic pain, is that it is unseen. Even in my own home, where the problem is under discussion at least once a day, the things that are expected of me physically are incredible. I just shake my head in amazement

    What you did in that shop was great. If you had approached me with your request I certainly would not have been offended. Just because a person is in a wheelchair does not mean they are in pain.

    Maybe we should have some form of badge issued to chronic pain sufferers. Or checkouts at the shops CPS customers only. Why should we not be accommodated? There is a lot in place for specific use of people with disabilities. Time for us all to " come out of the closet" It is enough that we have to suffer pain on a daily basis, a lot of people I know would collapse at the first fence!

    Well done for standing up for yourself and at the same time for all who suffer in silence. Ann

  • I too have been suffering with chronic back pain, having both a hip and knee replaced in the last two years. I too feel very impatient whilst queueing, but I have to remind myself that people cannot see this, although even when I stood with crutches some people were oblivious and carried on at the slow, which was probably a normal pace. I feel you acted courteously but firmly with your request, I only wish I had thought of it myself. Perhaps shops could have a dissabled checkout with a few seats?? I know I have wished for this many a time, I usually go through to find a seat and leave my daughter to do all the packing and paying.

  • Good on you, even today in this country if you can't see a physical disability then to a lot of people some doctors included just don't either want to know or have any idea what its actually like, so well done for standing up for your rights.

  • Thumbs up to you for voicing how you felt it is awful when you are in a lot of pain and waiting your turn to be served every second seems like an hour, then comes the panic mode of feeling you are about to collapse and there are never any chairs nearby. Well done

  • Well done my friend, it's something that takes some nerve, but it has to be done otherwise people will never understand our condition. I am suprised you did not ask sooner, I had a situation once I was waiting for a train and I got talking to a lady in a wheel chair and she had multiple schosis ( spelling apologies) and as we spoke me in a mobility scooter and her in her wheelchair once she realised how I suffered she turned to me and she said it make s me feel like the luck one as I don't get that sort of pain, and I have good periods and bad. But she said if I was in that pain day in day out I don't think I could cope at all. Cause looking at me she "said no-one would know there was anything wrong with you, cause without your scooter you look like everyone else" and there you have it in a nutshell....

  • Hi,I think you did the right thing but I myself would not have said anything,today in a store I put an item back because there was a que at the tills,I said to my hubby when I got home people that are able bodied take it for granted that they can stand in a que and wait and don't get me wrong I used to too but for us with pain its like human torture!!!x

  • Where's your spirit girl, I'm sure if we all even send our bloggs to people who would be able to help if they knew about the problem, it would start to get the courtesy & awareness what we need to keep going - onwards & upwards.

  • Well done! I am so impressed you were able to stand up for yourself and express what you needed, in a polite and tactful way. I wish I could be so brave! I find it really difficult to be assertive in this way. I hate that there is nothing visible about chronic pain – no one sees any crutches or broken legs or even bruises – there is NOTHING to show what going on inside. And I think that makes it even worse than many other illnesses, as it often makes others take it less seriously, or in some cases not believe it. They just have your word to go on. My dad, for instance, keeps saying, 'but you look so well!' And this doesn't help, as then you feel you are not being believed. Anyway, good on your for standing up for yourself. I hope we can all try to do the same!

  • Lets all send bloggs about such issues to different departments - I'm sure we could get some good support - cheers

  • Well done for standing up for yourself. You did it politely without moaning and should feel very proud of yourself. My husband has CPS which is mostly centred on his back and hip. When shopping at the supermarket he sometimes walks with his stick instead of using a wheelchair. Depends how he feels on the day. Once when he felt able to walk there was no queue at the disabled checkout so we headed there. We were immediately followed by a woman pushing her elderly mother in a wheelchair. This woman then spent the few minutes that it took us to put our shopping through berating at the top of her voice how inconsiderate people were who were not disabled, using the disabled check out and therefore inconveniencing her and others like her. That people, ie us, should know what it means to be in pain every day! I think the idea of a CPS badge is a great one as it is not obvious to anyone how much pain hubby is in. I was jolly cross but didn't say anything as I had respect for the poor lady in the wheelchair who didn't know where to look and added nothing to the berating. Well done and it definitely was up to the shop to put more staff on the counter.

  • I agree with all the above posts. I have a blue badge for my car but would like one to put in my purse to show to people when I am stood up on a full bus and there are young people sat down. Also to show when I am in supermarket queues and screaming and cursing inside. Sometimes I use my crutch even when not needed because people do react to that. Otherwise I am going to get a T shirt made with 'although I may look good and young I am a cripple so please let me sit down' (apologise if people are offended with the word cripple I use it on myself to joke my way out of my horrendous pain!

  • blue badge idea is brilliant! will you, or can I post it it on other HU forums and ask what others think? I'd credit you with the idea.

  • Yes of course x

  • Hi, Yes, of course, you can post 'it' where ever you deem appropriate. You may want to visit the website for further info on CHIPS wristbands. ucantc.co.uk. Thanks

  • Hi there, you were not rude. You politely asked them to meet your needs. There was no way of them knowing otherwise. They are under law to make their services accessible. Moreover they know if they give the customer what s/he wants they will get more business, and in fact it makes most people feel good to help someone. I have always done this and to my memory (chronic pain 9 years now) had few difficulties. In general people are very helpful if they know. "Excuse me, I am disabled" is a good opener. It has made my life so much easier. My pain used to be so bad I would find myself unable to stand, and several times asked if I could lie on the floor for a few minutes. They absolutely supported me. Good luck, if you don't ask you don't get!

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