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Christmas Wrap Up From Lorimer

This year has been another excellent year for Pain Rev. We were back on the road again, this time to North Queensland. The Tour is such a special week for all those who ride or join the education team. This year was no exception. This year also saw an increased role for Grant, Abbie and Tanushka from Pain Rev HQ in the delivery of events and facilitation of seminars. What a stellar job they did: the feedback has been superb and the learnings supreme. Of course, the utterly INCREDIBLE Tracy Jones pulled off the event in her typically outstanding and unassuming way and Captains Steve Cunningham and Dr Dianne Wilson ensured all the riding and educational content was spot on. 

  

A couple of things were particularly striking for me at this year’s Tour: (1) When you get outside the big cities, the magnitude of the need for better access to modern pain care hits you in the face sometimes. Not that the need is all that much lower in the cities, but in the country, there are EXTRA challenges and inequities that are clearly challenging. There are people in every community who are suffering, who are no longer even engaging in the health care system because they feel like they are not taken seriously, or worse. It really struck me that the work that Pain Revolution is doing is Very Very Important Work. We NEED to build capacity locally in modern pain care and education. We NEED to support those trail blazing health professionals who are putting it all on the line to better help their communities. And THAT brings me to the second striking aspect of the Tour: the Local Pain Educators up North. What a fine bunch of people you all are. What amazing efforts you have gone to for your community. What respect you show for each other, for your town, for your clients, for your colleagues, and for your communities. What dedication to make your place healthier, wealthier and wiser! The work that you all did before the Tour was so clearly beneficial. Maximal respect your way North Queensland LPEs! 

  

As for me, I took 2 months off this year – travelling with my family and not opening an email for 6 weeks. My longest holiday since starting my PhD in 1998. I wonder if the Email Deleting Ceremony on return – over 11,000 of them – was more fun than it really should have been. I left with no worry at all for the welfare of Pain Revolution and this speaks volumes for the team – Di, Maddy, Grant, Tanushka, Tracy and Abbie. I am quickly becoming redundant and this feels excellent. Special mention here to Abbie who also took time away – not ‘off’ but in the culmination of her Women in Leadership program. She and a large boatful of equally impressive women travelled to Antarctica and it is fair to say that Abbie has come back even more Abbie than she was. And this is, I am sure all who know her will agree, like getting even more of an already great thing. 

  

We just got off a zoom call here in Pain Rev HQ to reflect on the year and to speculate on the next. Here are my reflections, in a nutshell: 

  • We do some things really well. We are actively committed to our values and our community. We support each other well, we listen and respond, and we constantly look for how we can move Australia towards our vision with our still rather meagre resources. 

  • There is lots we can do much better. We have learnt a massive amount this year, from our LPEs, our supporters and our critics – both those who find a soapbox and those who send a polite email or discrete phone message our way. 

  • Our work is attracting attention internationally, with several requests landing in our inbox each week. 

  • Our programs have been cited exemplar in the Health Professional Pain Education Strategy presented to government a few weeks ago. 

  • We need to keep an eye on excellence – we want our values to become our clearly recognisable trademarks. We want to be field leaders in finding that line between science and evidence based content that enables, empowers and enthuses people towards recovery AND make it cutting edge, eye catching and memorable. This will take serious work, innovation, collaboration, humility and courage. But along with our wider Pain Rev community (yes – that’s you lot) we have THAT stuff in spades. 

  

As I write this, North Queensland is getting hammered by the biggest rain in living memory. Our thoughts and wishes go out to those communities we visited in September, to those of the glorious mountains and remarkable beaches, of the cane fields and reefs. And saddening, shocking and bewildering events over 2023 have brought home to us the importance of open hearts, generosity, equality, humility and of immense courage, patience and persistence in the face of ongoing injustice and disadvantage, amidst immense grief and under psychological, physical and existential threat. Of course I believe Pain Revolution is doing great things and is an important entity, but it is just one such avenue to express our commitment to those around us. I whole heartedly applaud and honour all of you who are doing your bit for your community, whether it be bringing the hope of modern science to those in the depths of chronic pain, lobbying decision makers for change, putting a sticker on your car or a sign on your fence, providing food, shelter, a safe space, sympathy or encouragement for those in need, or donating hard earned dollars to a cause. My final reflection in today’s meeting was ‘Pain Revolution MUST be alright, because we seem to attract the very best kinds of people’. 

  

May the holiday season here in Australia bring you peace, joy, calories and sunshine – all in appropriate quantities. 

  

Lorimer 


P.S Need some Holiday Reading to spark some lively conversations? 

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