Margaret Bristow spends most of her time in her Ottawa apartment dealing with fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. Most days, such as on this Sept. 14, 2011 morning, her pain is a seven on a scale of 10, and there are days she can't walk more than a few steps. She has to survive on less than $10,000 a year in disability pension. She is tired all of the time.
As long as the pain holds steady, Maggie Bristow can function.
She can dress herself; she can tie her shoes and brush her hair. She can make a meal. She can walk more than 30 steps without the pain in her hips crippling her.
But even then, the 51-year-old Ottawa woman can't bear to have her arms or legs touched, and when the pain spikes, it feels as if someone has peeled away her skin, and every nerve ending is exposed. She can't even stand to have clothes on.