What happens now?
But for all intents and purposes, I’m back!
The question is, what happens now?
Bucket List: Revisited
Every once in a while I review my bucket list. There are a ton of items on there that I feel have been on hold for some time now. They were either things I couldn’t do because of my pain, or things that had a prerequisite I couldn’t accomplish because of the pain.
And now it’s time to start rethinking everything. Yes, when you’re used to lying down in pain all day for so long, it can feel impossible to break out of that mindset. But it’s not the only pattern of thinking I have been stuck in for way too long.
So it’s time to break free!
It’s time to think about how and how much I limited myself this past couple of years, and all the fears that accompanied me every single day.
About a year ago I took a plane ride to the States. By the time I arrived, I was in insane amounts of pain. On the car ride from the airport, especially when we got stuck in traffic, I felt the most acute levels of pain I felt along this journey.
And the pain just stayed with me the whole time I was there.
My whole trip was marred by pain. And every day before and since. There were opportunities galore for me to do everything from road trips to fun excursions, all put to the side out of fear of suffering. Real fear.
Life After Pain
And now it’s time to take everything back once again. Or at least to start thinking about life after pain.
To be sure, some days are still pretty rough. And I often have just a dull uncomfortable feeling in the spot of my injury. But the level of improvement is uncanny, and the hope it instills is off the charts.
For a couple of years I have avoided any type of gathering where people sit down, be it lectures, the movies, or even synagogue. Every time I stand in the back of a place with plenty of empty seats, I dread that moment where a well-meaning individual wants to show me that there are plenty of places to sit.
I hate explaining myself. I hate that look of skepticism on their face when I say I have an injury. And I hate that part of my brain that contemplates how they’re assuming the worst of me, like I just want to stand in the back so I don’t fall asleep (also true) or so I can easily sneak out if I get bored (OK, yeah, that’s also true as well).
Life Post Worry
I tore my right ACL when I was a teenager. I never got it fixed and it tore again many years later. So I’m no stranger to what it’s like living with an injury.
One of the most complicated parts is the constant worry. Is this an activity I’m allowed to participate in? If I dance at this wedding, am I risking collapsing to the floor and ruining the experience for everyone?
I’ve been living that way for more than half my life, and it only intensified with this recent injury. Every single day and throughout most of the day I’ve needed to consider my every action. How will the car ride impact me? Can I go with my son to that activity? Will I be fine doing that, or will I pay for it later with a boatload of pain?
This was even a consideration for my own wedding, where I had to load up on a whole lot of prescription pain killers just to ensure that I’d be able to enjoy the evening mostly pain free.
And trust me, whatever pain I did not experience that night, my body did not let me forget about it the very next day.
And now I get to finally start contemplating a life post worry.
I am on the threshold of a life where I can sit down to watch television with my amazing wife and son and I won’t have to panic that I’ll pay for it immediately afterwards. I am so close to being able to go about my day without a constant, lingering fear that something will go wrong that will totally destroy my day, and probably make things pretty uncomfortable for those around me as well.
I might even be able to put all that wasted mental effort to better use throughout my day. Who knows? The possibilities seem endless!
Yes, I am so excited that I might be pain free. And I’m ecstatic that I am so close to a life with reduced anxiety and fears.
To Sit Again
But more than anything, I cannot wait to just sit down. To sit for an extended period of time without grabbing my leg in agony. To be able to hold a long conversation with someone across from me without having to shift every few seconds, or stand up, or to wonder when would be the polite time for me to excuse myself so I can walk around a little.
It’s almost comical. We all have the mental picture of the iconic figure shouting that he can walk again or the wacky miracle videos where people rise from a wheelchair. And here I am, fully able to stand or walk, begging for the day that I could sit once again.
Cherish What You Have
If you can sit without pain, you’ve probably never thought about it. But please know that each passing second is a blessing. Cherish every moment!
It’s those simple, little things that make all the difference. Don’t take for granted, not even for a second, that the simple things in life, whether they be sitting, breathing, or just strolling around, might be excruciatingly painful for someone else. They might hope for just about anything to come along and end their pain. Appreciate every moment you are able to enjoy the simplest parts of your life! I can’t wait to do it with you.
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