Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pain to Peace

Let's just be honest here. I'm a slightly prideful person. But I have a feeling that everyone, in some way, has a bit too much pride for healthy existence. My husband and I seem to have a clear channel of communication even when our single selfish selves get the best of us. We come around, apologize, remember the days before we were married that we swore fighting could never happen between us. And I certainly don't have a lot of pride with my appearance anymore. The staff at work laughed at me on Friday because of my attire. I had to explain that the shiny black button up shirt was from a friend of my sister's five years ago, the pants were from my housemates sister, the tshirt was from a festival Josh and I went to, and the boots are a hiking staple bought back in 1998. But when it comes to putting my stress on other people by asking for help, it stresses me out even more.

The past six months have been really tough in that this healthy 28 year old has had to eliminate exercise beyond walking and deal with feeling shabby about 70% of my days. I've had the flu and a case of mono that just went on and on and on. I'm not sure if it was brought on by the late nights, getting home between 3-5am, or the gray, cold Michigan days, or the stress of lifestyle changes. But 70% of the past six months has been spent full of exhaustion, disbelief, and cold and flu symptoms. So this weekend, when I started to get a cold, I decided to amp up my vitamins, oregano, kumbucha, and sleep. Because I was so congested I boiled some water on the stove, threw a towel over my head, and stuck my head in the cavity made by towel and pot. I was really enjoying my own personal steam bath until I dropped my towel in the water and then decided to drop the towel directly on my leg. As a result I've burned myself. To what degree, I have no idea. I should just call my childhood best friend's husband who is a surgeon, but no, here's the pride I was talking about earlier. This morning, 15 hours after the episode, I walk around in circles in the kitchen, I call my father who is a family minister, my sister who is a veterinarian (and does know some things), my husband who is an artist, but I don't just dial Joseph the surgeon's number. But really, he's not my personal surgeon. It's not like he doesn't work 60 hours a week as it is.

So I'll call him. I promise. It's just rough when you feel like you don't have much to offer in return, like, "Hey! joseph! Give us a call if you ever have any questions about Robert Smithson or Richard Serra! Or if I can help you understand the difference between ales and lagers. We're your experts!" I suppose it feels like I'm asking Joseph to be responsible for the fact that we don't have health insurance. And that's not fair. But they always tell me to call, never worry, it's always fine. I should believe them. And I should move on to one more thought, the title to this post.

I finished another book by Paulo Coelho, the author of the Alchemist. This book that I read comments on pain and how if you avoid the pain, and if you don't allow yourself to live that pain through until the pain can no longer be felt, until you've risen about that pain, you can't have the value of peace that comes through the pain. These past months, as I've labored on in less then perfect health, there have been thoughts, processes that I've worked through, that I wouldn't have had time for if it wasn't for the pain. I have a long way to go, but I realize that I've been given the gift of a different perspective because of all this irritating sick time. I didn't succumb to hours spent in a gym or running (knowing that my body could handle the muscle recovery), and I didn't spend hours busying myself with tasks that swaddle themselves in lies about needing to get done. I simply stayed quiet and still and read many books in the time that I couldn't be rushing. And so while I hate that my immune system is weaker than any other 28 year old I know in my functioning society, and I hate the fact that I somehow pored boiling water on my knee, I can move past that. I can simply hate the fact that I don't have health insurance, yet embrace the fact that life has surrounded me with knowledgeable and loving people who as much as I hesitate asking for help, are always willing.

And I love the fact that when I feel most rushed and as though the world will cave in if I don't finish all those tasks on my list, but then am pounded to my bed by the weight of sickness or burns, peace kind of sidesteps in. And I think I'm just going to let it. And call my personal surgeon.

1 comment:

sarahross said...

Oh Sar,
Wish I could help...I could just tell you about rocks or GIS programs (or how to make a tutu). Hope your burn/cold/flu/mono is better. You are so sweet & honest--I wish I could hug you!