When I was 20, a car I was riding in was rear ended on the freeway by a car who did not see that traffic was stopped. The resulting injuries to my back, neck and shoulders were excruciating. I had to take a quarter off of school and spent most of that time in bed, on the couch, in numerous doctors offices and physical therapist’s rooms. MRIs and Xrays were performed, measurements of disc compression, nerve damage, joints injured. Numbers were assigned, predictions made that my injuries would be a lifelong affliction. Mostly I remember (though mostly suppressed) the fog of pain. How inward it turned me. How I cared little about anything unless it was alleviating the pain even just a small bit. Pain is being in a room with a gigantic, annoying
scary clown that no one else can see. That invisible clown is pushing on your sore spots and torturing you.
Gradually, slowly, the pain receeded, little by little like a tide. Until finally flare-ups occasionally were the most I suffered. And I
forgot about that clown.
Until 6 weeks before my wedding and I fell out of my office chair after adjusting it wrong. Suddenly, the freaking clown was back, even
scarier than before, like Stephen King “It” proportions, because was I going to have to spend my whole wedding sitting down? Was I not going to be able to dance? After trying every last thing (physical therapy, accupressure, muscle relaxants, osteopathic medicine, rest) I finally was given an epidural two days before the wedding. Which, thankfully worked even if it was a somewhat extreme solution.
Now, 10 years later (there seems to be a pattern of 10s here) I find myself with the clown again, after tripping over a toy, and putting out my back. Of course, as always, the timing is awful, just days before Darcy leaves for a two week trip, my in-laws take off for a month-long vacation and my own parents are unable to come out due to my Dad’s delicate health. Alone, the sole support for my kids, when getting them into the car feels like knives digging into my back. The clown with teeth of razor blades laughs.
Pain is agony, it’s not being yourself, it’s facing your limitations. It’s awful.
Go away, clown. Please just go away and leave me alone.