Everyday Words

Healing

March 15, 2004

At 19 I laid in the hospital, just having had my 7th surgery in 10 years. This time, the doctor took a rather large bit of bone from my hip and infused it into my right ankle. The pain I felt was unlike any pain I had ever had; it was intolerable.

When I mentioned this to the nurse, she took out a huge needle and stabbed my right thigh. Each time I mentioned the pain, she�d once again stab my thigh with pain killers. Several days of this kept me in a head funk and also keep me groggy.

I remember looking down at my thighs which were swollen, bruised and severely pricked from so much pain killer and being disgusted with what I saw. I�d been living in a daze, full of drugs, trying to ignore what the pain was trying to tell me: something was wrong I had to work through it instead of continuously ignoring it.

You see, there was a blood pack and tubing attached to my hip and my side wasn�t closed completely yet this caused me very little discomfort. My ankle, on the other hand, was a nightmare. The pain was there for a reason and I couldn�t numb it. I had to work through it.

The next time the nurse asked if it hurt and I said yes, I stopped her before she could inject me and I told her, �I am in a lot of physical pain and it�s not normal.� She fought me on this, telling me it was and I told her something was wrong. It literally took me a day of fighting and demanding for them to open the cast on my foot to find out what was wrong.

When they opened the cast, they discovered that the doctor had put a 6� metal pin through my foot, something he hadn�t told me about pre-surgery. This pin caused an allergic reaction which caused my foot to swell up and press against the cast. It was a mess and I had to have corrective surgery on this.

I thought of this because in January I received some devastating news. It was the biggest loss I had ever felt and I hadn�t had this kind of pain before. So I numbed it by trying to ignore it, taking trips, getting a massage, working like mad, visiting my favourite store often to pet pretty things, planning more trips, trying to keep busy with useless tasks. But despite my best efforts to numb the pain and live in a groggy state, I kept having little twangs of pain that weren’t going away. I realised that I would have to open up the wound and sit with the pain in order to make it better.

So I spent this weekend past grieving. I turned off my phone, set up the fort in the living room, read some books, sipped some tea, watched a movie, wept a little, sat with all the thoughts, gave in and just rested. This was my way of working through the pain, of accepting it so that I can move forward and start to heal. And no, things won’t be like before but I’ll adjust. Because if I can run with an ankle that can’t bend, I can surely walk from this.

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