Degustation: The action or an instance of tasting, especially in a series of small portions.
Information Degustation: Step 1 for a lasting relationship.
One day, determined to get to work despite unbearable pain, I blacked out in the shower. Luckily Johann was home to call the ambulance and explain to the doctors what was happening. Well so I thought…Johann wasn’t able to describe my illness in detail or any of my medications to the emergency staff. I was so surprised! Yes, high on morpheme too, but mostly surprised. As soon as we got home the next day I held an information evening, what we now refer to as an ‘information degustation’.
“Educating your partner should be the first step you take toward a passionate and lasting relationship.”
It sounds obvious, but have you actually described how your medications work and in detail, the real source of your pain to your partner? Our information degustation changed our relationship because Johann was then able to problem solve with me when he had all the information about my condition and abilities. This worked so well that we held an information degustation with our family. Their understanding of our situation and my limitations has been more than we had hoped for since that evening.
Please note: This tip is from the perspective of the person in pain so if you are caring for someone with ongoing pain, share this post with them.
How to hold an information degustation:
1. Book a dinner date with your partner. Arrange to cook or order a meal. The actual degustation will be in the form of information so no need to cook 8 courses! Make sure the meal is a favourite of your partner’s, after all, most of the table talk is going to be focused on you!
2. Develop a slide show of images about your illness (you can simply save a few screenshots of images from google on your phone) and a list of topics you want to discuss. Include causes, symptoms and treatments of your pain. It can be helpful to list what treatments you have had and what options are currently still on the table. Remember you have spent many hours searching the internet for information. Our partners often only hear about our pain from our complaints or an odd appointment they attend with us.
3. Describe your medications including how they help and the side effects of each. This will help your partner understand why you are too nauseous to eat their meal they prepared or dizzy to go for a walk.
4. List the best ways they can help you. What are the things you find difficult to do that your partner can help with? This is so important. Do not assume that they know.
5. Share what helps ease your pain. Is it heat therapy, swimming, ice packs, eating a certain diet?
6. Finish with a thank you! You could buy your partner their favourite dessert or make them a card that says thank you. It is a blessing to have someone in your life to listen to your story and help you cope with your condition.
Oh and last tip, make sure you have a bag packed or at least a list of items you want packed for you if you go to hospital. When I was well enough to sit up in the hospital (which was actually my workplace at the time), I was mortified to discover Johann had dressed me in the elephant print pyjama set I had attempted to sew myself from a piece of scrap material the week before. I wished I had completed the crutch.
Written with love and pain,
The Chronic Pain Couple
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Be brave and share in the comments below if you have already had an information degustation! Do you want to plan one for the future? If you know someone with chronic pain, share this article with them. It will make their day to know you were thinking of them!