Heal/Tell Dennis

I’m nothing but a number. There’s more than just the pain of the knee. It gets into your emotional problems of not being able to do anything. I want to exercise to get rid of my belly but I can’t. They’re telling you you’ve got to exercise, stretch. I do and the next two days I can’t do anything.

It’s always medicine. “You’ll hurt for a year, just take the pain medicine.” I don’t wish to take the pain medicine. I come from a family of alcoholics, and I’m always scared of being dependent on something. I found out early in life not to be dependent on anything.

I don’t understand how some people have their knees done and don’t have any pain. “Take this pill,” “Take this pill”—I’m taking 12 pills—I put ‘em in a bowl with some milk and blue berries. I tried to get them to put a grease fitting in my knee—it’s metal! They wouldn’t do it.


“Take another pill.” I’m not scared of dying. I’m tired of the pain.

I don’t want to get hooked and I’ve a lot of machinery down here you could lose your fingers on. I make teddybear rocking chairs—I build them nice and round so if they hit their head on it they won’t get hurt. I can do any kind of cabinet. But it’s hard to stand on my leg too long. It’s getting better over time. That’s what they tell me.

I’m always a happy person—I fool around and joke. I think that’s how I’m hiding my pain. I’m pretending I’m someone else.

Heal/Tell is a series of narrative and portraits by Cathy Plourde, Director of Add Verb Productions and Holly Haywood of the University of New England.

Please leave a comment – do you live with chronic pain?  What helps you?

Learn more about the 11th Annual UNE Interprofessional Spring Symposium: the Science of Pain and the Art of Healing, April 4, 2013, Biddeford Maine.

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