High-Pain Day

Fall © 2015 Jane WatermanOn the high-pain days, the world seems to shrink a little smaller, and I am left with the dilemma of how to inhabit my body when it is such a source of pain. As if mirroring my inner world, as I learn to feel emotions long-suppressed, wave after wave of storm hits my corner of the outer world, confirming my helplessness in the face of disability.

I do not fret what seems to become inevitable, as I still have the use of my brain, and my fingers, and while I can skirt around the pain to use them, I am blessed. However, the inevitable settles deep in my consciousness, reflected by my environment.

Yesterday, walking our dog, I was aware of the storm to come, and yet when it swept through in a violent wind burst, we were still caught too far from home. The wind sang like a banshee through the high trees and there was the deep cracking of old souls bending before a force greater than their earthly frame. I felt fear, but it was for the puppy gambolling around my legs and walking stick, rather than for me. For if she were to run off, she would likely never make her way home, and I, restricted to feet and a cane would never be fast enough to catch her. I finally got us home in a burst of adrenaline, and then, tears.

It’s been so long since I cried so openly about nothing, but it seems that nothing is the safest thing to cry for.

Later that afternoon, as the physical body crashed into a deep sleep, I inevitably dreamt of having to use a mobility aid: something like a scooter. On waking, the spectre of this possibility overcame me. I couldn’t cry, I could only accept that perhaps, one day, I will not be able to rely on a cane and may have to progress to the use of a wheelchair. For now, however, I must focus on the now, and what I can do. And what I can do, is not so small, even though sometimes it feels like it is.

This morning, I dreamt of a conversation with my mother, and I was trying to explain the new limitations – the extent of the pain, the inability to do what I once took for granted as well as all that she expected and dreamed I could do. And for the first time it seemed, since falling into illness in 1990, she listened and she understood. It didn’t seem to matter that it had taken so long, and that there were so many others yet to understand…