I am supine on the cold table and something is beamed at me and takes pictures of my insides. The technician is very friendly and conversational, quite professional. I am subdued because I have been enduring medications and procedures that are not especially fun, although I am struggling not to retain a poor attitude. My children are in the hallway, clean and neatly dressed, reading to themselves. After I get my pictures taken I dress again, gather the kids up and get them a bubble tea to share before we head to the specialist’s.
After review of my results they tell me a series of little reports, mundane to their field of expertise, but each one a blow which threatens me into a smaller and smaller corner of myself. They recommend a procedure that will involve general anesthesia and intubation, have a device installed within my body, and then wait two weeks where I must rest while likely enduring chronic pain that cannot be corrected by medication, during this time which among other restrictions I am recommended to not lift more than ten pounds. Two weeks of very likely chronic pain. This sticks with me and the fear threatens to consume me. Then after this time, the removal of the device, a procedure which also hurts, lots. When a doctor tells me it hurts, I know it hurts more than they say.
Today I am not in much pain, but I am in some. I am not in as much pain as I will be, so I take that time and enjoy it. But what to say when people say, “I hope you’re feeling better”, and things aren’t better? We assume those sick improve, but not always so. I should know this acutely watching my father go through cancer (and, worse, cancer treatment). Sometimes there is no “better”, or better takes time.
Attending me I have a loving family, competent (as far as I can tell) medical personnel, some medical insurance, and most of all, my sobriety and spiritual practice. Indeed these last two are the only things I can rely on, these practices. I can tell you without them I would be consumed, eaten alive by fear and misery.
â€œThe whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.â€
i hate you having to go through this and know full well the pain and frustration of people assuming you are getting better because
1. you saw the doctor.
2. it’s been x amount of time.
3. you look fine.
4. they are uncomfortable with your ill health and don’t know how to interact with it.
5. interest whatever here
you’re doing fine … marching forward and holding on to Spirit and my advice (unasked for i know) is that focusing on the smallest joy while enduring chronic pain can be a lifeline, a tether to the here and now and, even more so, a tether to the future where i must imagine a better, calmer, more peacefully acting body.
sending you hugs — gentle and long lasting hugs.
I am so sorry, Kelly. This all sounds so,so hard, my friend. Take your comforts wherever you can find them and hold on to the courage and self-possession that illuminates these lines you’ve just written.
You are beautiful.
Thank you for rendering so eloquently expectations and assumptions we often make about those ill. This is quite the learning experience for me and I am resolved to treat those with illness differently than I have in the past (not that I was unkind, but I’d like to think I’m learning a new way.
Thank you ladies for your comments. They are appreciated and very helpful!
oh kelly, i wish you to be better and not having to suffer ill health. I know pain, it’s not easy to deal with, a loving family helps, but does not make it go away.
in our western society, people assume everybody can get well, otherwise you’re not working hard enough at it, not positive enough, or you have not taken care enough. it’s not true. sometime you have bad luck, and things are just that.