Unable to work and need some suggestions

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/10/2011 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,
I have been unable to work the last few weeks due to my pain (I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet, legs, and hands), and I'm going stir crazy from sitting around the house all day.  I am okay at night when my wife gets home from work, but I don't know what to do with myself when she's not around.  I've tried doing housework, but lately I've had to be careful because my pain is usually much worse afterwards, so that's not really an option unfortunately.  I've been reading this board and some other Internet sites, but that doesn't take up enough of my time.  I've tried watching TV, but have never really liked watching too much TV and the programs that are on during the day are uninteresting to me.  I'm thinking about asking my wife to take me to the library or a book store so I can get some books, but I was wondering if anyone else had any other suggestions for helping to pass the time and take my mind off the constant pain.  If there's anyone else that is unable to work or has had to spend a lot of time at home because of their pain, what types of things have you done to keep your mind occupied and help get you through the day?

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 8/10/2011 3:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Badger73, so sorry you are feeling this way. I understand completely what you are saying. I hate feeling in my head that I should be doing this and that, but physically its just not possible.

I can do short spurts of things so I dont feel completely unproductive. For example, cleaning the bathroom, I wipe down the mirrors and counter tops, and take out the garbage, the rest hubby needs to do. I can scrub the walls of the shower using a long handled scrubber while I am sitting on my shower chair, but I usually only get one wall done in a day. I may also get things out for dinner and start what I can. Just make sure everything is ready to go. Thats about all I can manage in my house.

I do alot of crosswords, reading, brain games and crafts. When my hands were really bad the crafts didnt work so well. I was always dropping something somewhere. Beyond that keeping mobile and flexible is very important. Anythimg that the dr will permit you to do you should be doing. Walking, stretching, yoga type activities for me are permitted as tolorated. I also do meditaion and some reiki type things. Maybe also, if you have any friends or relatives that you can make a lunch date with once a week, just something to keep you in contact with others.

You can try a new hobby too, drawing, painting, or even something a bit non traditional for guys such as knitting. I could do little bits at a time when my hands were bothering me, but it was just fun to do occasionally. When my daughter was laid up for a few months she sat there and made friendship bracelets, thats just knotting thread. Think about anything you can make for stocking stuffers for younger relatives. I started rock painting a few years ago, maybe alittle corny, but is easy if you get some instructions. Not to expensive either once you have some paints.

Just keep trying different things, I am sure you will find a variety of things you like to do!

DX: CRPS, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1, hardware removal and removal of scar tissue. SCS trial successful awaiting placement.
MEDS:To many to mention, changes every week it seems.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 8/10/2011 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Though I work, I do so mostly from home. But here are a few ideas:
- buy an ebook reader and download calibre (google it). The reader will cost $100 more or less, but will save you money in the long run if you use the public domain ebook sites (and can find enough titles of interest there).
- buy a tablet computer (Asus Transformer $399) and download free apps. I find this a great device when I'm in pain and am lying down. I watch movies, play games, browse the web, etc.. Given how much I use it, it is probably the best bang for the buck of all my attempts to occupy myself when in pain.
- try out some of the social web site (facebook, etc.). They aren't of interest to me, but my wife makes ample use of her's.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 8/10/2011 8:50 PM (GMT -6)   
If you like playing games there are all sorts of computer games out there you can pick up for little to nothing. If you like puzzle games, crosswords, card games and things of that nature you can get a CD with sometimes over 200 different games on them for under $10 at places like Best Buy and sometimes at Wal Mart, or check out eBay, which is where I buy 99% of my games from.

If you are into movies think about buying a Netflix compatible device and signing up for their instant streaming package. You can find devices like the Roku box or a Blu-ray DVD player set up to receive Netflix for under $100 now. I think Wal Mart has one for around $60. I have Netflix streaming service and love it. For $8 per month there are 100's of choices. You won't find real new releases on it but there are still enough TV series and movies on there to keep a movie buff entertained. Of course you will need a high speed internet connection, if you happen to be stuck with dial up for some reason it wouldn't work.

Find some kind of hobby you can work on when you feel up to it. It could be anything from bird watching to what ever.

If you have access to a car or public transportation during the day when your wife is at work see about volunteering somewhere. If you like kids see about setting up a reading to kids program at your local library. Many times preschools and pre kindergarten classes like to have volunteers to read to the kids or just to do crafts with them. Senior Centers and nursing homes usually love it when people come in and spend time with those who are there. Even if it is nothing more than sitting with the residents and talking to them.

Anyway, hopefully we have at least sparked some ideas for you.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 8/11/2011 10:13 PM (GMT -6)   
One can certainly understand your cabin fever! I have been unable to work for nearly four YEARS due to pain but I do teach private culinary classes when I can (only a few a month, on my own schedule) and volunteer at a shelter for abused women and children. I am thankful my interests are many and varied and it takes a lot for me to become bored. Reading is one of my favourite things in the world to do and I find my mind is growing smarter with the wealth of information I am soaking up. I find I must adapt a lot. I am a Master Gardener and of course most gardening is now out BUT my husband built me high raised beds so I grow lots of vegetables and herbs. It is such a pleasure to watch them grow, harvest and cook with the produce.

I have also found that taking the focus off me helps - one reason I volunteer. It truly is great medicine as well as gratifying.

Perhaps now is the time to make a list of projects around the house/yard to do. It really gives a sense of accomplishment and makes you feel better about yourself if you check things off a list.

Hope things begin looking up for you soon! :-)
Back injury 2007 with 3 herniated discs, IT band syndrome, myofascial pain, DDD.
Rotator cuff injury both shoulders.
Diagnosed with Celiac Disease February 2011.
Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia April 2011.
Insomnia forever but worse the past few years due to pain and discomfort.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9242
   Posted 8/11/2011 11:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Badger~~

I can see why you'd go stir crazy during the day. I too am unable to work and am pretty much a homebody by choice. BUT, I'm so busy I don't know what to do with myself some days. I'm not a TV watcher but there are things I enjoy doing.

There are some places, like here, that I enjoy visiting online. But like you said, you can only stare at a computer screen so long and then it's time to get your brain and body moving. Are there any hobbies that have ever interested you? If not start to thinking...think really hard and don't limit your choices. Rosie Greer is great at needlepoint and knitting. He has a book and a website. Here's the link for you. If nothing else he's an inspiration to those who divide hobbies according to sex. That is so 50's!...lol


Interested in trains, building things with your hands or whittling with a pocket knife. How about cooking? Men can make great cooks. Don't have to compete with any of those TV guys, just surprise your wife with a good tasting meal at night.Here's a site I like...Cooking for Engineers!


How about some community service? If you wife, or a local bus service, can get you to your local library to check out books, you might consider volunteering there as often as you like. They always need people to repair and clean books. Often, when I go to our public library there is a small table with 2-4 retired folks visiting and cleaning books. Easy work and a great way to make new friends.

OK, my hands are hurting from this darn arthritis so I've got to stop. When you run out of ideas just email me. I've got a ton of ideas.

Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a few other side dishes
Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
Mark Twain

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 8/12/2011 4:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I too can feel your boredom. I haven't been able to work since 2003 and at first it drove me bananas that I would get bored so fast. So I took action and taught myself how to paint (guess I had a little artistry in my blood). Also I love puzzles, so I download some from the internet.

Some other things I've tried that have worked pretty good.....hubby bought me a xbox and some cool games, crocheting, playing with my husband's new lab. With my back like it is, I too have to do my housework in spirts and sometimes I can get quite a bit done before I have to stop. But I usually pay for those days.

I am also getting a new puppy next Friday. She's a Bichon Frise and will need lots of grooming. So I figure I should be able to sit in my chair and brush her. She is also hypoallergenic, so she's ideal for people with allergys and doesn't shed. Which will be great since I have three dogs that shed like crazy. I could make ten doggy wigs with the hair I pick up around this house!


I live to "Tame My Pain!"

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/14/2011 2:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Cooking nice meals for myself and my husband takes up a lot of time and feels satisfying. I have a number of cookbooks, and I also find recipes on FoodNetwork.com. I like making things that are special - like zuchinni bread or limeade - to entertain and treat myself, my husband, and any guests.

Post Edited (luminescent) : 8/14/2011 1:50:36 PM (GMT-6)

Heather Lynn
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 8/14/2011 8:47 PM (GMT -6)   
When I'm not in the mood to watch TV, I listen to NPR or podcasts. I really like the shows This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Car Talk, and Radiolab. It's also nice to listen to while you do something else like cook or clean.

Another project might be decluttering your house. I've been going through my books lately. I sort them into boxes - to keep, to sell, to give away - and then my partner moves them when I'm done.
Fibromyalgia, low back pain/SI joint dysfunction, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, endometriosis, asthma
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