Sunday, April 03, 2011

pain management

here's another picture from the economy series i'm working on.


“You learn how to deal with the pain,” says Tanya Ell, as she pauses in between sweeps of the vacuum. She leans against the bedroom wall in exhaustion.

“That vacuuming does a thing on your back.” She exhales. A moment passes then she says under her breath, “Whew.”

Ell, 56, of Norfolk, suffers from degenerative discs and faces almost constant strain in her back and her neck. She struggles in finding work these days, in part, because of her health issue. “I'm on heavy medication for my pain, which limits the jobs I can get, because you're seen as a liability.”

Ell has held many good paying jobs over the years before her health complications. “I used to bar tend, waitress, I even managed a comedy club. I can't do that anymore because I can't be on my feet that long.”

She needs to take breaks often to help cope with the pain, another obstacle in finding long-term employment. So, she cleans houses when she can to earn money. It affords her time to rest when she needs it.

She can't clean as many houses as she used to, either, which makes it harder for her financially. “It used to take me two and a half hours to clean a house, but now it takes me five,” says Ell. “I have to sit down and rest a lot. It's tough these days.”

“The painkillers take away some of the pain, but not all of it.”


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