When Hannah was born I went to Tim and Ai Ai’s house for a week. One day Timmy hauled a tall ladder into the living room and said in a funny voice, “Who’s going to help me?”
Ai Ai disappeared with Hannah into another room since she knew things were likely going to start falling from the ceiling and she was not going to risk anything hitting the baby. I was the one who helped Timmy while he fiddled around with the ceiling fan.
It’s taken a long time but I finally figured out why I was so upset when I got discharged from The Place. I used to call it getting “kicked out.” One day I told my Eye Doc that “I got kicked out” and he was like, “What – were you acting out or something?” Well, no. My ability to exert myself was weaker then, so the “acting out” was largely mental. But now everyone knows what I was thinking then since I like to write it down.
I was upset because I was instinctively panicking – I was being cut loose and thought, “Who’s going to help me?!?!” I was even less self-aware at RIO and wholly unable to verbalize such a feeling, but my insides felt raw because I couldn’t walk yet and wasn’t sure what the future would hold. When I left The Place my left leg was starting to worsen and I was worried that A(6) wouldn’t be around to stretch it out for me and give me advice on how to address the situation. After things got worse but several doctors said my joints looked good I felt out of options. I started reintroducing a little bit of exercise (3 minutes on the treadmill, a little ride on my recumbent bike), but things were not improving. One day I came out of my bathroom after a shower and made it three steps to Mom at the washing machine – and I just held on to her and cried because I was so frustrated. I didn’t know what to do.
And then I started Traditional Chinese Medicine. I started going to CMD bc I figured I had nothing to lose. Sometimes I wish I had started TCM sooner (the sooner treatment starts the better), but I figure I was maxxed out with a full Therapy schedule, and I probably wasn’t ready for the poking and the flames. Now, especially since I understand the reality of regression, I try not to be such a sissy and try not to whimper. (Side note: it doesn’t hurt most of the time, promise. It’s just that some of my limbs are pretty far gone and the weaker the body part the more intense the “waking up” sensation. Plus I’m a big baby now. It’s a blessing that I was asleep for the worst of it after surgery.)
I’ve decided that TCM is not something I can skimp on. I originally tried to “get by” with one treatment per week since Medicare doesn’t cover acupuncture at all, but the damage is so extensive and the improvement so marked last year when I was going 2-3x/week that I’ve decided it will be well worth it to go twice a week now. CMD always does her best to treat as many symptoms as possible during each visit, but I’m confident that I’ll feel better if I go more often.
The pain has resurfaced occasionally and now includes my right side, too. M(37) would stretch me out when she felt sorry for me (!) and Trainer D does the same now. Over the past few weeks, though, as I’ve realized that my physical condition is shifting and I need to be concerned with both sides, not just my left, I’ve been nervous. “I’m scared of being in pain,” I told Mommy. Hence my new heating pad (LOVE!) and that mesh back support thing I put in the car as we drove to Rise Up in TN.
One of my NeuroPsychs told me that it’s the anticipation of pain that really gets you. I can see that. I have lived so often in a permanent flinch because I have forgotten that the Lord says My burden is easy, and my yoke is light, whereas I have chosen to submit to a harsh taskmaster built in my own head on things I learned from the world, not from scripture. But physical pain is my most urgent conundrum at present. It’s so frustrating to have a condition that yields no diagnosis. “We don’t know what it is,” is really code for, You’d better settle in bc you’re going to have to get used to it for a while.
Which is not to say that if your docs tell you that they don’t know what the root of your trouble is that they aren’t trying hard to find out. It’s okay not to know in my book – but I appreciate people who can help you manage the symptoms so you can function day-to-day, even if they can’t give you a pill or a shot (tried both :/) to make things better.
But for me, everything goes back to the question, “Who’s going to help me?” I’ve learned stretching techniques and pain management tricks I can use on my own so I don’t feel as helpless anymore. The most important thing, though, is for me to remember, “The Lord is my Helper” – and to be content. I have been truly frustrated during this process, but I have never been let down. Because I’m trying to live by faith, not by sight, I have the option to ask for help and the privilege of claiming my right to things like a sound mind (2 Tim 1.7) and resurrection power (Eph 1.19-20) working in me. It is His prerogative to remove the thorn in the flesh or to let it stay in place, but it’s His promise to give me the grace to accept that decision.
Psalm 28.7 The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusted in Him and I am helped.