Sunday, January 6, 2008

More thanks

Thanks (continued) Warning of graphic material below.

Pain is an amazing mechanism God gave us to highlight problems in our systems. It is motivating and challenging both as a tool and an obstacle to over come.
While my leg was on fire with infection it pointed out the problems and areas to focus on, but it also formed a wall between me as I was and as I wanted to be. I can distinctly remember four separated areas and flavors of pain in my lower appendage. It felt to me as though a freezing cold steel railroad spike was being driven through my ankle, with a slow pulse of electricity underscoring its aching presence. The second area was an intermittent cord of searing pain felt like a smoldering wire coat hanger climbing up the bones of my calf. The third and most intense of all was the outer layers of skin. From the top my foot to the calf muscles my skin was bright red, hot to the touch, and swollen. Inside it felt like a form fitting clamp had been heated cheery red and branded to me. Lastly, almost as an after thought a small egg of discomfort rested to the inside of my right knee. Tender to bending and movement, both of which I was trying to avoid, it was the most forgettable of the inflictions.
And why am I thankful for this?
It illustrated to me the seriousness of the infection, and it gave me a personal challenge to maintain dignity and grace.
As my closest of friends know I have an incredible tolerance to pain and painkillers. In fact most painkillers do not work on me. Every doctor I meet gives me the same jaundiced eye when I tell them about it, and until they try to work on me they quite frankly think I am lying.
I took it as my challenge to remain pleasant, to remember please and thank you as part of my vocabulary, and to try and call each of my nurses and aides by name. It is Really really difficult smile and say hello when throbbing red hot nerves are crawling like ants all over my leg, and even more so when narcotics have dulled my IQ to that of a carrot.
Even in the aftermath of all this I am still glad for the mechanism of pain.
Ollie our tabby shaped poop factory has endeared me again to him. Even though he came to us under dubious circumstances, Ollie has taken to me more than most of our animals. I am hardest on him, and most likely to yell or swat him when he misbehaves (yeah ok so it is a compliment to my cooking when food smells so good the cat tries to steal it from the daughter), or hold him accountable for his behavior. Ollie will sulk for a couple of hours then come back to make up. He has been a constant companion to me, seldom leaving me. He loves the fact that I am prone and still. His number one place to sleep is on my chest (as close to my neck as possible), and the close second is between by knees, in fact on the pillows propping up my knees curled up in a tight ball.
Secondary to that of course is the cuddling and purring. Ollie will jump up to the bed, cautiously walk the edge until he is entrenched in my left arm pit. then nuzzling his face towards mine he begs to have his ears scratched, face rubbed, and spine massaged. A low grade rumbling purr can progress to an all out chain saw like cacophony when cat heaven is achieved.
I am also thankful for Ollie.
More again later, Mike