Friday, November 02, 2007

Anatomy Lesson

Various things I’ve learned recently:

That if someone cannot walk two steps on their toes or heels without trembling or falling, something is seriously wrong with their back. (Seriously.)

That if someone’s spine is crooked, fluid-filled, and riddled with bone spurs and if their disks have slid far enough in the wrong places, the pain can radiate not only down their legs and into their feet, but it can also inch up towards their head. (It’s equal opportunity!)

That when crawling seems like a reasonable option, probably that person’s quality of life could improve. (A modest request, really.)

That it is possible for the body to have learned to tolerate far too much pain for far too long. (And the rest of us are wimps, no matter what we’d like to believe.)

That even if someone takes the right medications, does the right exercises, and makes many accommodations, the body is a sneaky, shifty thing that does not bend to mere wishes. (And MRIs do not lie.)

That when doctors talk about removing parts of someone’s vertebrae and fusing other parts of the spine together, they intend to do so with pieces of that person’s own bone. (Because at first we thought it could be some random person’s bone, and that seemed sort of gross.)

That even though someone can look so small and vulnerable on the exam table and their shoulders might even quiver a bit, their eyes can still be fierce with a strength few people possess. (I mean fierce.)

That watching someone you love in excruciating pain makes you feel incredibly frustrated and completely helpless. (But then you compare your discomfort with their pain, and you realize it isn’t about you.)

Later as you stretch, or when you bend down to pick something up, or walk from the bus on your own two feet, and you don't feel a tingle, not at ounce of searing pain you know exists for someone else, you cannot help but think, I am lucky.

5 comments:

Christen said...

Wow, I don't know whom this cryptically refers to, but I hope that everything works out for your loved one! Now, I'm off to walk on my toes, just to check...

Dayna said...

I just found your blog today, I'm hanging out on the couch with my three year old who is feeling rather punky today, having puked most the morning.

Your blog is very interesting to me, in part, I suppose because I have three chronically ill children. Maybe a bit, because I, too, am a writer.

I'll be visiting again.

Alicia said...

This is a great reminder, Laurie, for us to sit back and occasionally be thankful for all the parts of us that do work properly. I get so fixated on the few bits of me that don't! I really hope your loved one gets relief and soon.

Dayna said...

You've been tagged for an Thinking Blogger Award over on my blog. Head on over and then nominate away!

Never That Easy said...

I'm sorry that someone you love (and you!) are going through this, and hope that things are moving towards the better side, as quickly as possible.

 
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