I just got a call from the secretary of our practice. My eight-client day has been reduced to a seven-client day, and I don’t have to be there until 11. Nice. I’m all ready to go, but now I have an hour to catch up on some computer work.
This is my first day back to work after a two-week time off that was no vacation, believe me. Pain is my constant companion these days. The shots I got Thursday have helped a bit, but I can feel the pain building back up. I don’t get the second round of shots until the 21st, which right now seems like a very long time to wait.
Yesterday, I heard a radio interview of a soldier who was caught by an IED in Iraq. He lost a leg, and I think maybe a hand as well. He thought he was going to die, and was urging the medics to care for his men who, he felt, had a better chance to live. He said he really didn’t feel pain in those minutes following the explosion. He felt that his adrenaline and the shock factor worked together to keep his mind clear, and he was able to communicate with his men as well as the medics. It was an amazing story. Of course, the pain did settle in after a while, but his story continues to be one of victory, not whining.
Many years ago, probably 35 or more, my husband had a work accident that cost him the end of his pinky from the top knuckle. He, too, experienced the shock that buffered the pain for about half an hour. Back then, he wouldn’t take any more medication that he absolutely needed in order to be able to go back to work the next day. He continues to bear pain without saying much, but he’s older now and he doesn’t bounce back as quickly. The foot he injured nearly four years ago continues to hurt, 24/7. He doesn’t give in, though. He has to stop to rest, which is very hard for him to do, but he stays busy in spite of that pain as well as chronic back pain.
My mom had the same kind of pain in her back that I do. The difference was that she never, to my knowledge, got the pain treatment that I’m getting. She hurt all the time as her joints crumbled, pinched her nerves, and made her miserable. There were other things that caused her pain as well. Sometimes she’d mention it; more often, as she neared death and focused all her energy just on staying alive. She thought she should “do more for you girls,” meaning my sister and me. We were 65 and 67 at the time. I told her I thought we’d be okay 🙂
Pain is not a pleasant companion. You can, however, use it as a stumbling stone or a starting block. We’ve all known people who, burdened with chronic pain, let the whole world know all day every day how much they suffer. We also know people who are cheerful in their pain, and don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about what they can’t fix. I’d rather be around that person, wouldn’t you?
In fact, I’d rather BE that person. The problems in my back are not going to heal themselves. I’m very thankful for the shots, but I’m also aware that at some point the shots aren’t going to work as well and I may have to consider some other treatment. I could whine and cry and make everyone around me miserable, or I could–as a friend of mine who has cancer does–respond to “How are you?” with “Better!”
I have a cyber-friend who has ALS. I haven’t seen anything from him in some time, and I’m wondering if the disease has finally taken him to heaven. What I will always remember about him is his positive approach to his life with the disease. As it progressed and he became more and more helpless, he never cried to his readers. He rejoiced over getting a computer that enabled him to continue blogging even when he could no longer type or speak.
I hope he’s whole, now.
I never used to give pain a lot of thought. I’ve been healthy all my life, with very few physical problems. Knee replacement, both knees, was my first really major surgical experience, and that was 11 years ago, and my knees are doing great. I’m thankful to have had the energy I needed to rear four kids, teach, and be busy in church ministries. At this stage of my life, at almost 69 years old, I can still do most of what I need to do. I just have to accept that things are different, and that’s okay.
Well. This is kind of unusual for me, a ramble, I guess. I think I’m done now 🙂