Doctor Who || Never Give Up [HBD Margarita Life]
Never Give Up in a Life of Chronic Pain
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The other day I was down in our basement taking out the trash. Much to my surprise I was smacked in the face by a very long branch from a rosebush. It was about six feet in length, pale yellow with only a hint of green, yet still very thorny. I’m always intrigued by events such as this because they are so unusual. It seems that very old, extremely tall climbing pale golden rose that grows on the side of our house, had found its way through two boards on the side of the house. There it was, tiny leaves intact as it sought space, air and sunlight which it was definitely not going to find in a usually dark basement.
I remember something similar happening years ago when my children were young and we lived in a large double-wide mobile home. The skirting around the bottom portion could not keep crab grass from growing beneath the home, yellow white and gangly, as it also sought space. I never had crab grass come up through a floor vent, but I suppose it was feasible. Neither of these facets of nature could achieve greenness without sunlight and that old process we learned about in elementary school called photosynthesis. Interesting, as wise as nature is, it does not stop the growing process even when given the wrong conditions and just keeps on, keeping on.
I’ve seen that quality displayed in so many of you, the faithful who read this blog on a regular basis because you also deal with the scourge of daily, chronic pain. You just keep on, keeping on. Many of us face remarkable circumstances, many of which are indescribable and unexplainable to those who do not live “the life.” Many of you know I’ve had a year of dental work with four crowns and a bridge. Compared to all the problems I normally experience, dental visits alone are not that large a concern. I don’t love them but who does? They loom largely for me because I have trouble sitting, and reclining in a dentist’s chair. Bad sacroiliac joints make it a miserable experience that lasts into the evening and the next couple of days. During long procedures, I have to get up and move about to keep my legs from falling asleep which is usually an early sign of pain to come. One day at the dentist’s office, while we were waiting for something to dry, harden or form, I had to stand up for awhile and the young dental assistant asked me what kind of trouble I had. I told her sacroiliitis. She asked me how it affected me and I explained the pain, the numbness and then went a step further and shared with this kind, young woman that I usually have trouble going to the bathroom for a couple of days after and also couldn’t sit down without pain. She lumped the last two problems together and looked at me with great concern while she asked, “Well, how do you go to the bathroom at all if you can’t sit?” Some smarty pants in me got carried away and I said, “Well, I just open a window, turn around and point my rear end out of it.” We both started laughing so hard the tears were flowing as she had believed me for about 5 seconds then realized I was joking.
All of the dental work alone, you see, is not that bad for those of us who live with so much more. For me, part of the problem was the crown that did not fit, not just once but three times. To go through the shots in the jaw, the roof of the mouth, sitting in the chair and to know it was for naught, well that takes perseverance. To be told how unusual it was by the kind dentist who was totally and completely embarrassed by the event all three times was just another byline to add to my health history. I’ve been hearing how unusual various problems are with my body all my life.
I’m not someone who enjoys these differences, but I have come to accept them as normal, for me. Like many of you I have befuddled many doctors and been put down by many others. I do not suffer medical ignorance well. I care not that an ego is at stake as I am sitting on my sore sitter in a hard chair with my legs going numb listening to some inane explanation that will bring me no relief. It takes perseverance to return to the doctor…any doctor.
The ability to persevere is probably the greatest essential when you live with chronic pain. You need endurance to see a dozen or more physicians. You need persistence to achieve the big events in life, which most of us have discovered can still be achieved but in smaller increments. You need perseverance most days to get up, get out and not give up.
I’m often reminded of those great figures throughout history who achieved greatness by persevering. There was Thomas Edison who faced thousands of failures in his early attempts to invent the light bulb. The Wright brothers and all the crashes and courage they experienced as well as our founding fathers that started and sacrificed everything to establish a new nation. Everything that has been achieved in this world took endurance, time, determination and “stick to.” I’ve always loved the famous words of Winston Churchill during WWII which were, “Never, never, never give up.”
One of the methods that work well for many of us is to keep the picture small and doable. If that picture lying in front of us becomes too large, too panoramic, too grand; it becomes overwhelming. It’s just life, and life can be tackled one moment at a time. It doesn’t all happen within an hour-and-a-half like the movies.
Remember when you were a child and you had something you really wanted enough to save and work toward? Do you remember when each penny dropped into your piggy bank had significance? There were times when it took forever, times when you became discouraged but deep within yourself, you learned to hang in there. That’s when you sowed the seeds of perseverance. Certainly we stumble, we become discouraged and we often give in but those of us who are determined to control the beauty, function and achievements of our lives follow those famous words and we never give up. Just because life is difficult doesn't mean it is less worthy; in fact it has just the opposite effect and takes on a more significant meaning for many of us. Just makes me want to fight that much harder. How about you?
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