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Pain in the Ass.

Breadman's Daughter| Views: 870

In a recent “Girl Warrior” post was about pain in all of its manifestations – physical, spiritual, emotional. Feeling it. Dealing with it. Surviving it. And ultimately, moving on.  Over the past five years of writing and speaking to this remarkable Tribe, I’m more often than not, writing about life lessons that I also need to learn. Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a small book I read and reread in the seventies Writing about getting through suffering was one of them.

Since January of this year I’ve been hurting. Physically. But because human beings aren’t unconnected fragments, bits and pieces, shards and shavings that have nothing to do with each other, the physical pain I have been experiencing has at times mushroomed like some hideous monster into emotional and psychological suffering as well.  There have been times, far too many, in fact, where life had lost its color. Times when everything was murky dimly lit and shrouded in grey hopeless despair. There have been times when it hasn’t been very pretty.

The kind of pain I’m talking about is fucking ugly actually. And quite literally, a pain in the ass.  My sciatic nerve is being pinched or squeezed and the result is chronic relentless pain running from my butt down the right leg to my ankle. Thank God it stops there. But it’s debilitating. During my darkest hour, my worst days and fearful nights, it took every ounce of strength, grit and will to stand and walk. Even sitting at times was exhausting. There was just no relief. And this has been going on to varying degrees for months.

I’m not 100% sure what brought this on or why it still persists after eight months.  I’ve been on this medical odyssey that has taken me from my sweet and kind leprechaun-like family doctor, who prescribed two different types of drugs to help manage the pain. One to stop the messages from the pain in my ass to my brain and the other to help with inflammation.  The pain-brain pill I took once because it neither blocked the talking between my two body parts, it also made me feel like puking.  So the was really great because now I had all this pathetic chatter going on inside my body and I was still in pain and I was nauseated to boot. Good times.  I took this pill once.  The other I took for weeks and then I decided to do some online  research.  Needless to say, I quit those suckers cold turkey. They were useless anyway.

I went to my Chiropractor every Thursday night for two months.  He did what Chiropractors do best – manipulate, twist, pull, pop and crack. This was a lot of fun. At first it seemed to help, then it didn’t.  He recommended I also try deep tissue massage to supplement “the work” he was doing. This actually felt pretty wonderful during the 45-minute session where the therapist kneaded my ass like it was a lump of bread dough. I was like whoa, I want more of this. I left the clinic with this big dopey euphoric grin on my face but by the time I got home I swear to God I was crippled. I couldn’t move for 24 hours.  So I went back for another session because it felt so good while he was doing all that pummeling and rubbing and stroking. But by the time I got home I was crying like a snot-nosed baby. It was pathetic. As much as I wanted to go back to get some more of that ass kneading I just couldn’t do it. I had to move on.

Two sessions with a Chinatown Acupuncturist did absolutely nothing. Well not exactly nothing. In the middle of the second session, the doctor paused from using my ass as a human pincushion, and said “I think your husband doesn’t love you enough.”  Perhaps something was lost in translation but that’s what I heard.  Let me tell you I milked this for all it was worth. Afterwards, I told E what she said and trust me, this was good for several weeks worth of loving kindness, if you know what I’m saying. It was good while it lasted. But everyone has limits, even E.

I did all kinds of online research on sciatica, SI joint injury and piriformis syndrome.  All the “experts” agreed that these three were the culprits. The source of my worst nightmare, the cause of my grief and agony, the reason I was down on my knees praying for an end to this fucking misery. So I culled together the best of all their wisdom and advice and tried things.  There was a common theme to the exercises promoted online for the type of injury I had. I did those.  Once again, while I was doing the exercises I got some relief but as soon as I got off the floor and made any attempt at getting on with my day, much less my life, I was in agonizing hell.

I was miserable. I was angry and frustrated by my body’s betrayal. I was depressed. And consequently depressing to be around. I felt alone and isolated. Like no one truly understood the depth of my suffering. During the day, I put on my happy “work face” and soldiered through. On a good night, if I was lucky, I found a position that was comfortable, which was usually sitting with my back completely straight and upright, my feet flat on the floor. I would sit like this and not move, fearful that if I did I would trigger the pain messages.  This became the new normal for me. 

Sometimes I screamed. Loud and hard. Until the blood vessels in my neck vibrated. I scared the shit out of E and Mel. They did their best to console and comfort me. But it was pointless. Life was pointless. Hopeless. There were no words that could make this better. No words.

Then at the beginning of June, upon the recommendation of a colleague, I went to see an Osteopath. I didn’t even know what an Osteopath was but I was willing to give it try.  I met with the doctor on a sunny Saturday morning. She was an intense, direct, straight shooter who listened with her ears, eyes and heart.  She didn’t just see me as patient, she recognized me as a human being who was suffering.  And then she went to work.

For the first time in months I can see a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, I might get better.  Session by session I am seeing improvement as Dr. D works her magic.  I don’t know what she’s doing.  I don’t care. I only know I’m getting better. I have hope again. I stopped screaming.

They say everything happens for a reason. I’ve yet to figure out the “why” and I guess it doesn’t really matter.  But if I was to add a silver lining to this, it would be that my heart has been opened wide, wider than I could have ever imagined, to those who suffer. I have an enlarged compassion muscle. My empathy is on high alert and fully engaged. For example, in the past I have been impatient and annoyed with people who took their sweet time crossing the street, keeping me waiting.  I’d think ‘for God’s sake hurry up and get across the road already.’  But now I think ‘what is your story, dear one? Are you suffering?”

My heart aches. I feel your pain. I understand.