It's a painful business
Pennie Latin tells us more about It's a Painful Business.
Can making a programme change your life? Well just possibly... I really wasn't sure how I would feel about fronting this programme. For one thing my working life exists very comfortably on the other side of the microphone - I'm a radio producer by trade not a presenter - but more than that presenting a programme about pain when you'd been suffering from pain for the past couple of years sounded a bit too close to the bone. Believe it or not work tends to be one of the places I can try to forget about pain for a bit and distract my brain with other more interesting topics so it wasn't without a strange combination of nervousness and intrigue that we set out on the journey of making this programme.
As a formerly very active person who's been floored by chronic sciatica following damage to my spine (possibly following the birth of my daughter) I've been plagued by all manner of questions about pain. Why is it so difficult to deal with psychologically? What gives it an ability to change even the strongest of characters even to the extent of wanting to give up on life with the people you most love? How and why does pain leave you feeling so worthless and useless to others? Surely there must be a way to beat pain psychologically even if you can't physically beat it? With these things spinning round my head the programme producer, Suzy Beaumont, and I set off on a whirlwind tour of Scotland.
In Dundee I learnt all about how the brain perceives pain from a fascinating conversation with Consultant Pain Specialist Jonathan Banister; in Inverness a wonderfully welcoming Pain Association group proved to me that I'm most definitely not alone in struggling to come to terms with my pain; then it was off to Stirling to meet Moira and Alyssa. Three year old Alyssa suffers from an incredibly rare condition which means she can't feel most pain and her mother Moira now describes 'pain as a gift'. When you hear what she's been through I think you'll agree with her but after my own rollercoaster ride with pain could I ever really start to see it as a gift?
You'll have to listen to the programme to find out where the journey did bring me to but one thing is certain after making 'It's a Painful Business' I'll never feel quite the same way about my pain or other people's again.
It's a Painful Business is broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, Wednesday 28 July