Saturday, January 15, 2011

Balancing Act

I am learning that managing severe pain is a balancing act.  Right now, I don't just do anything; I weigh every action, by how much I want/need to do it vs. how much pain it will cause.  I want my living room to be cleaner, but is it worth the stretching and lifting that will be necessary to make that happen?  Not so much.  I want to take a shower, but will it be worth the stabbing pain of moving my arm to wash?  Thus far, the answer has been yes.  I want real food, but is it worth the hassle of trying to cook one-handed?  Can you say "delivery?"  I'm stir crazy and need to get out of the house, but is it worth the intense discomfort of sitting on restaurant chairs or barstools, and the inevitable increased ache afterward?  Last night, yes, but only up to a certain point.  Then the balance shifted, pain won, and I went home.

Yesterday was a pretty good day on the pain scale, so I did a lot of things.  I went to see "True Grit" with my roommate (I have things to say about this movie, but maybe later).  I hard-boiled a bunch of eggs (something fairly easy to do one-handed), and made egg salad with some of them (not so easy to do one-handed).  I started my car, because it hasn't been started in a week and it's been COLD here.  I more or less brushed the snow off of it, albeit somewhat awkwardly with my dominant hand in a sling.  I decided to see exactly how bad an idea it would be to attempt to drive my car (bad...I managed to shift it into first gear and then could barely get it back into neutral to shut it off).  And then I got a friend to pick me up and spent a couple of hours out, seeing people again.  

But pain is exhausting, and today I'm paying for all of that.  Ah, the joy of balance.  Today you can find me on my couch, where my greatest effort is trying to find a decent movie on TV, because, you know, the pain scale says that it's not worthwhile to get up and put one of the gazillion movies I own into the DVD player.

Pain slows down the whole process of life.  It takes longer to do everything, and for me, there's a lot more time spent sitting still than usual.  So, I've had time to reflect a bit on this balancing act and its applications to the life I someday hope to have again, in which I am not in constant pain, and can occasionally have a thought that is uninterrupted by consciousness of my right shoulder.  

Some sort of balancing act is happening in every decision I make; it's just that I'm not always conscious of it.  I'm not always thinking carefully about the priorities involved in my decisions.  So, I end up spending a lot of my time haphazardly, going with the moment and not thinking much about the possible results.  

In an earlier post, I wrote about wanting to be more intentional this year about the way I live.  This injury isn't really the way I would have chosen to be made more aware of my daily decisions, but come to think of it, I've always been hard-headed.  Maybe it takes literally having my head cracked to slow me down enough to get there.       


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