Eyecatcher For adolescents

12-year-old girl

My story for Datteln!

I was 10 years old then and had fractured my right wrist shortly after summer vacation. It took a long time for the break to heal. I believe I had my arm in a cast for six weeks. Shortly before fall vacation the cast came off and everything seemed okay. As the wrist had been in a cast so long, the doctor in charge referred me to physiotherapy for the hand. As school started after fall vacation I suddenly had pain in the wrist again. We, my parents and I, tried many things to relieve the pain. At first with salves and physiotherapy, but also with medication.  Although I managed to tolerate the pain for a long time, my consumption of pain medication kept increasing. My family was very worried about me and drove me to the doctor when I couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore. My friends helped me a lot then and supported me at school as much as they could. The teachers also helped and made sure I received the notes that were on the board. Many of the doctors I saw, and it was quite a few, said that I didn’t feel like going to school.  The specialist for accident injuries also said I just didn’t want to do any homework. “There’s nothing there, the arm is okay.” The pediatrician even said I was just imagining everything. The doctors couldn’t help me and doubted the severity of my pain. And that, even though my wrist was clearly signalling “There’s something wrong here”. The arm was reddened, there were swellings around the wrist and my hands were noticeably sweaty. My mother believed me and didn’t let go. Finally the pediatrician wrote a referral to a neurologist. After a few tests he made a definite diagnosis. I had morbus sudeck, a condition of the wrist that as a rule occurs with older adults. Although the doctors now knew what it was, they still couldn’t really help me. Meanwhile the pain kept getting worse and the pediatrician had me admitted to the local children’s clinic. There I received infusions for the pain and the child psychologist was called in. But they also couldn’t really help me. The help came from another place. At the same time my father was being treated by a pain therapist and spoke to him of my problem. This doctor spoke of a clinic in which adults were treated for morbus sudeck and gave my father the telephone number. My father called the same day. The clinic couldn’t do anything for me as they had no experience with children with this condition, so they referred my father to the Vestische Children’s and Adolescents’ Clinic in Datteln. While I was still being treated in the children’s clinic we got a first appointment in Datteln and seven weeks later I was admitted as an inpatient.

The time in Datteln did me good. I was finally taken seriously and no one laughed at me. I learned how to deal with my pain there. After Datteln the pain wasn’t an issue anymore. I had no more pain and everything was fine again.

In the clinic I learned how you can turn your pain off and make it worse again. If I expected to be in pain, I would be. After learning the method, I felt that turning the pain off was much easier than getting the pain. In Datteln I learned two methods for turning off my pain. With the first one I used the alphabet. I thought of a topic, like for instance “animals”, and worked through the alphabet. You had to think of an animal for each letter of the alphabet. When you reached the last letter you had to turn around and go in the opposite order – harder now to find a suitable animal! When I reached the start of the alphabet, I had significantly less pain.

I found the second method better. I thought of my dream place. Everybody has one. The trick here is to put yourself in this place, to be right in the middle of it and feel the air there. Along the way you quickly forget your pain and you feel as if you were in paradise. This method works best if you find yourself a quiet place because then you can concentrate better and won’t be disturbed. I have tried out both methods and both helped me. They didn’t help equally well, but that wasn’t so important to me. What was important was that they helped at all.

Since I’ve been better I’ve never had this kind of pain again. Through this experience I have more self control. And I have found out something else. I can use both methods for other kinds of pain. For example, these tricks work well for abdominal pain. They distract you for a time.

Today I’m almost 13 years old and I am well.