Siege of Poor Health & Bad Luck

On February 10 I got the bad cold that’s been going around.  I had it for two weeks.  Then I developed an endless cough.  The cold was over, and there wasn’t any infection.  The doctor prescribed an inhaler that’s used for asthma, and it helped a lot.  But by the time the cough diminished, I had developed a muscle spasm in my right hip, and my sacrum was affected.  It hurt too much to walk far, so I had them deliver dinner to my room.  For which I’m extremely grateful.  I saw a woman, who is very good, for physical therapy.  She’s an independent practitioner, with an office up the road.  She said it made sense that the cough could have caused something like that, which was comforting.  What she did felt good, but it still hurt the next day.  She said it would take 3 days.  But the fourth day whatever was wrong with my sacrum suddenly got worse.  I could barely walk.  Back to my doctor, who prescribed a muscle relaxant and PT.  At first the muscle relaxant didn’t help — I thought it would help with the pain, but I also needed to take a painkiller.  Because I was having pains down the outside of my leg, I found it very difficult to sleep.  They gave me some patches that could be put right over the affected area.  Thank god, I could sleep! 

The woman from PT here at Kendal came to my room — again enormous gratitude that there’s someone right here — she did some work on my lower back, and gave me some exercises.  She also said I should be walking a little, and increasing it a little a day.  The first day I did the exercises once, and took a short walk outside.  The next day I did the exercises three times and did three short walks.  That seemed to help, so I did it again the next day.  But it must have been too much because the other side of my sacrum began to hurt, and again I could only walk very slowly.  My pattern is to push too hard and do too much, so I’m working on trying to discern how much to do.  Also working on patience and acceptance.  Very difficult.

I went back and read Ram Dass’s book Still Here, about his experiences after a stroke.  He had to learn a lot of difficult things.  He called it “fierce grace.”

This morning a young woman came to walk Mocha, and Mocha was impossible.  Barked and barked and ran away.  I have no idea what’s going on for her.  She’s been barking much more than she ever did, and I don’t know how to make her stop.  I feel terrible and frustrated that I don’t know what to do.  I actually sat here crying for a little bit.

I guess I just have to accept that I can’t handle this, accept that I can’t get Mocha to stop barking, accept that I have no idea why the other side of my sacrum is now hurting, that it’s possible that I pushed too hard — well, it’s just a really tricky balance.  I have to forgive myself for having difficulty, find some compassion for myself.  I’m doing the best I can.  It’s not good enough, but that’s simply got to be OK.  There must be tons of people out there who are also caught in this frustrating place.

From “Tattoos on the Heart”: “God looks beyond our fault and sees our need.” p52.  I see that I’m back with the “one false move” god.  I’m angry at myself for hurting, for not knowing exactly how much to exercise, for not being able to find compassion for myself, for being angry at Mocha for barking, and then angry at myself that I don’t know how to stop her, and hurt because she’s not spending a lot of time next to me, and she must dislike my energy…

I’ve actually gotten pretty good at hanging out with emotional pain, and finding compassion for myself.  At this point I have a pretty good idea where the painful feelings are coming from.  Physical pain is another story.  I have a very hard time with not knowing why things are happening.  Both lack of control and helplessness are major triggers for PTSD.  In this struggle with my body, I’ve hit the place where I don’t know what is going on and don’t know what to do about it, and I freak out.  I also think I’ve regressed to an earlier state and lost all my new and more functional coping skills.  I’m very grateful that I’m in a place where so much help is available.

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