Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Brief Word About Pain

Happiness has unveiled my chronic pain.

My stomach aches in both the upper and lower regions. When my doctor pressed on it yesterday, I screamed. She asked me to stop scaring her patients and then prescribed Levsin.

I can't walk in the morning now, because I have Achilles Tendonitis. Basically, that means both heels shoot excruciating pain throughout the backs of my feet. So, in order to get around...I hobble. If it doesn't heal on its own, I'll have to get casts on both feet...for up to eight weeks.

The streaking jets of pain in my back and neck are the result of a pinched nerve. When the masseuse pressed down on my right scapula, it felt as though I was being stabbed in the heart. As the knot on my left side was being worked over, I started to have flashbacks of my mom: Sitting with her in the beauty salon and her begging me to not leave her, not even for a bathroom break. Watching her cry out in pain when the technicians attempted to draw blood and couldn't find a vein even after three attempts. Slowly rubbing her forehead to comfort her. Feeding her canned peaches, because she refused everything else. Sobbing deeply, I had an epiphany in that moment on the massage table: I realized that I literally hurt everywhere...and I'm overwhelmed and tired of it.

Before we moved to Colorado, my plate was so full I was hardly aware of what was happening with my body. Now that I've had time to rest my mind, I've slowly become aware of all of the aches and strains.

How in the world did I carry on before? In the back of my mind, I knew what was going on but I took care of everything else first. My job, my mom, my house, my dad. Everything but me.

How can something so insidious become so obvious now? It's as though each injury or illness has crescendoed loudly and convincingly get my attention.

Pain is a constant part of my day. But it's all OK now...because I'm finally listening.