If you live with chronic pain and/or illness, I’m certain there are days when you have felt that emotion. Some days go from awful to hideous to worse and then, “Oh my God.” Anyone who lives with the constant strikes of the daily hammer of pain know the despair that can become part of your life.
I’ve had a particularly taxing past few days and have been inundated with negativity therefore I felt the need to share some positive aspects, humorous vignettes and wonderful moments that I have found as nuggets in the oft empty old gold mine that was once my life. I’m pretty sure when it comes to metaphors about old gold mines, I got the shaft.
Eventually, after years of suffering and having every aspect of one’s life affected, you either become bitter and angry or you find ways to find joy, meaning and some peace in the midst of it all. The road through that old shaft is steep and difficult to traverse, therefore it is the easy pathwhen you sit down and slide on your tush that is the simplest.Unfortunately, that road is the one of anger and bitterness. We all begin to ask why and are driven to find someone to blame. In the end of that personal thuggery, we can go in many directions but by gosh, someone has to be responsible. Well, guess what? That’s not the case.
When I can’t come up with an answer, other than blaming my parents, my genes, or myself, I usually face the simple fact it is my body. I do believe it is against me and if you lived inside this mess, well, you’d be forced to agree with me after this past week. I’m almost too exhausted to type these words but I am determined to have something uplifting to say today and it is what is spontaneously spilling out of my mind and heart. For purposes of clarity, I have divided my bit of what I hope is inspiration into three segments, therefore, let’s go.
Another source to prove I am not alone is a connection with others. I am interested in my fellow man/woman and always greet others with a friendly, open demeanor. Everyone has a life, a story, a burden and something which brings them joy. I like to talk to them in any and all situations and find everyone interesting in their own way. For instance, the four doctors I have seen over the last eight days have all been kind, intelligent and interesting. One, my oncologist has a 7-month-old that is crawling and getting into everything at home. I love to be reminded how wonderful little ones can be. There are so many memories that come alive for me.
Another doctor is contemplating retirement and the third was extremely considerate as he injected my shoulder with a steroid medication. Both doctors two and three saw me while also being teachers to medical students who were with them. I like the progressive side of that and teaching, being a former nurse myself.The fourth doctor was an emergency room physician and very courteous and kind for that particular specialty in which they are often adrenaline junkies. This fellow wasn’t. Everyone we meet in this life can teach you and I something and can return the favor if we get out of our own selves long enough to do that.
I met nurses and other medical folks with sick kids, heartaches at home and others highly educated and helpfully patient as they taught me something. There are so many fine and interesting individuals in this world. Do yourself a favor and get to know themand let them be enriched by your life. Always leave a good bit of yourself behind when you leave an appointment, or any other occasion, when possible.
One of those moments was a few days ago when I was in a vulnerable position, about to be zapped to cardiovert my heart rhythm in a room full of nurses, technicians and very young male medical students. Have you noticed how all of the new doctors look like they just walked out of Junior High school? Knowing I was going to be rendered unconscious in the room with all of this male youth, I said, “Okay you guys. Before you take off my gown and expose my chest, I implore you to be kind. My chest is one side of scars from radiation therapy and surgery and the other side looks like an old empty purse.” The smiles broadened, the feeling of tenseness dissipated and I feel asleep with a smile on my face. Awe, come on. You who have read my articles and blogs know I have a chronic case of sacroiliitis and much of my writing is about the rear side of my body. It’s difficult to be delicate about such matters therefore I just usually lead with my mouth and let the laughter fall where it may.
I saw a kind orthopedist a few days ago to have my right shoulder injected and had only seen him once before. He is a kindly man and has a reputation as a demanding doctor toward nurses and the care they give to his hospitalized patients. I told him last week I had heard about his stellar reputation and he asked me what I had heard. I told him, “I heard you’re a hard ass.”
He started to laugh, repeated what I said and I could tell, from his reaction he loved it. He replied, “Well, I guess I am a bit particular.” I smiled and replied, “That’s why I’m here. I love that in a doctor.”
Yes, laughter, a good true to life joke, a jovial remark and sharing a humorous incident evens the playing field and cuts to the heart of what makes us human, charitable and caring.