Heal/Tell Robert: Part 2 of 3

Meet Robert, former Navy SEAL living with chronic pain.

A year ago I had some really bad thoughts and the horse heard my voice, heard what I’m thinking. “This person’s broken. I’ll get close and let him know I feel what he’s feeling.

I tell my wife I’m leaving, I’ve got to see the horses. They so set me right. I’m clear the rest of the day until the night when inflammation starts to set in my joints.

The entire left half of my brain is completely covered in scar tissue. This horse can erase all that for a moment—everything—the pain, the thoughts in my head—my mind is completely free and clear.

Vets are crying quietly in a room, thinking they’re better off dead than alive, just taking up space with all the memories.

Chronic pain and PTSD are sister and brother, you won’t have one without the other. I know nothing will erase my mind from the horrors but I can forget about them for two minutes—magic I can’t get in a pill.

I have a first name. Use it. I’m a case number, but it’s got to be beyond that.

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?

Prose Portrait of Robert: Part 1 of 3
Video Portrait of Robert: Part 3 of 3

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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