Day 4

I feel like it looks outside here. Steely and gray. Today is a day when my pain really rear its ugly head. Generally, the colder and wetter it is, the worse my pain tends to be. Well, it has been as cold and wet as it has been this season, and my pain levels have been correspondingly elevated. This morning I had to run after my wiener dog, Pompey, who had run off after a squirrel, or a deer, or a turkey or something. I got about twenty feet when my hip caught, literally seizing up mid-stride, causing me to have to hop on one leg as fast as I could so I wouldn’t fall. My hip pain has been particularly bad lately, but I have also had searing pain in my left shoulder, and my spine between my shoulder blades. Still, I have forced myself to walk down to the river a couple of times.
The river is rising. A few days ago I was rock-hopping between channels, still being able to reach mid-river without getting wet, but this morning there was no way. A channel that I had stood on two days ago, and was a good foot above water, is now completely submerged. In fact, the water level has risen close to half a foot since this morning.
I imagine if this rain keeps up, the river will continue to change dramatically. It is supposedly going to snow on Saturday, which is pretty early, but it might be nice to see some snow set down in our new place. I imagine the river is beautiful when there is snow on the banks.
Sometimes I feel quite swallowed up by my pain. I should be at school, I should be working and being productive, but this time of year it is often at its worst, and it is nearly impossible to be out of my comfort zone, much less among people when I’m having pain so intense that at home, I would be groaning loudly and writhing on the couch. Kind of hard to do that when your in class. Sometimes, the pain is so bad that if it did happen in class, I wouldn’t be able to stifle it. Luckily, so far that hasn’t happened. It has been close a few times, but I was always able to bite my lip or just close my eyes and wait for it to pass. I am certain people have noticed. They must have seen me massaging my elbows, rolling my shoulders, gritting my teeth. In fact, I have noticed people out of my peripheral vision when I am massaging my arm or shoulder, no doubt wondering what my deal is.
My dog Pompey just returned from being outside for a long time without us knowing. Talk about a drowned rat. He is soaked to the bone. Dumb dog. He is actually a mini Dachshund, and like any hound dog he smells something and he just takes off after it. A few weeks ago he took off after a deer, way down the river and I thought we might never see him again, but he came home that night.
Despite my complaints of pain and agony, I am truly happy with where we are. It is so amazingly beautiful here, and peaceful, which is what I need more than anything. Even when I feel crappy, I will go down to the river, I will spend a lot of time outside, hiking, climbing (when the weather gets better nine or ten months from now.), kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, boogie-boarding when it gets better and I am not in such intense pain.
I am so grateful for everything that has come into my life, even my pain. It has taught me so much, and humbled me even more. Yet, as I thought that, a part of me is sickened to give gratitude for such a thing, something so monstrous and torturous and unrelenting that it has left me, many years in the past, teetering on the verge of suicide. There were winters, back when I lived in Eugene, when my pain was so unbelievably bad that I really was ready to end it all.
Now, it just sucks, and makes me pissy, but I am still so grateful for my existence, pain and all, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure, I would really love to be pain free again, but I have to accept that it will never happen. I am content to know that my pain will last for the rest of my days, because even under less than perfect conditions, life itself is miraculous – absolutely, unequivocally miraculous. I am so astonished at the simple fact that I am alive, and aware of my life. So pain doesn’t matter. Not in the grand scheme of things.
So thank you Creator for my existence, and the wonderful world you have given me. I know I must complain a lot, but I really do appreciate all that I have been given.
Peace and love.

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