back pain, chronic pain, family, life, retirement

306 Days

Let’s first explain the title. I am taking this rather random number based on my physiotherapist’s ramblings on how long it takes to heal a back that is herniated. Tah-dah a title is born. Of course, the number might be wrong as I was medicated at this first meeting. Or is it? This back disaster is my current state combined with vertigo. I got super lucky. Weeks later, I can chuckle a bit and feel a bit of pride to be the star of an EMT horror story of difficult patients. Let me explain, while riding in the ambulance after having my husband stuff me with a protein bar, because he thinks water plus protein cures all ills, I vomited everywhere. Everywhere. Several times. On a happy note the hubs scrubbing forced his hand to promise me new flooring. Of course, a request since year two in the house, but heck eight years later is great. Back to the story. So, this sweet EMT, who sported a training badge, kept rattling on with stupid stories, that were keeping me from killing all of them in pursuit of pain meds. Anyhow, he held my vomit bag the entire way to the hospital. At our goodbyes. I thanked the kid and grabbed the captain and asked him to sign his papers and pass him for the day. Or did I ask for meds? I don’t know? Probably both. The captain promised he would happily sign him off as he peeled my hand out of his and yelled, “Take her away.”

Currently, I am on week five or day 271 of my current holding position of rest, PT, and more rest. I am off all meds that caused me to forget what I read, watched, re-read, and re-watched during my time of bedridden status. With the pain away but in a wet- cement state, I wait. I wait to start my life again. I am on pause. I long for the simplicity of my life that I led. I teach. I miss my kids. I spin. I miss my Echelon/Peloton app life. I am stuck in the house because I can’t drive due to the back and the vertigo. I miss people. But with all the things I miss there is so much more I have learned in the silence of my waiting. Serious thoughts have come my way while crying in pain. Religion. The importance of family. Work and my need for my social and intellectual growth plus monetary needs. Along with the harsh truth that I am easily replaced, especially at fifty-nine. There were also thoughts that can be filed under the not so serious. Cue the meds folks. Days of reality TV nonsense, movie upon movie, and many attempts at new binge shows. Note. Not a Bridgerton fan. Probably the only human who could not get through episode 1. All I could think of was the pain the actresses endured with their corsets. While the mundane entertained my mind, it was the big thoughts, that truly got me through the day. Not my twelve orders of athletic wear to make dressing easier or the endless scrolling and the constant attempt to find anything to take my mind of the situation at hand. Nope. The big stuff. Religion, family, and work. Repeat. It made the struggle of each day and each small success sweet.

Religion became my anchor. I prayed, read scripture, and talked alot to the man upstairs. I felt his presence, cried, and kept praying. For the first time I felt his guiding hand. Truly, in the darkness of our room I was not alone. Ever. This gave me hope and a feeling that my herniated disc came at a time that had no reason, but had every reason. I renewed my faith and my belief that I am never alone if I just give my life over to him. I have. Completely.

Family. Oh my. So many days I have taken my family for granted and allowed the little stuff to aggravate me, but once you need them to walk you to the bathroom, there is a new respect. The little annoyances in life are gone. Who cares about the toothpaste or how the dishwasher gets loaded or not. Or my control issues with my son. My crew rallied to just get me through the day. They became my daily cheerleaders, my rock during bad moments, and my everything. Family replaced my long list of wants and it still needs some soul searching as to why my control issues and wants superceded my families love. But I will continue on this path much after my pause button has been removed.

Work. It has been five weeks since I have seen my kids. I can’t imagine their current state. I just can’t. But since this was an extended leave I was caught off from school until I return. I have turned over all things I control with fervor to a state of “you do you” and I will pick up the pieces upon my return. While, I do not think I am replaceable. I am. Perhaps, my replacement does not give the quality I gave daily, but another has taken my place. This hurts. But before I officially retire, the discussion did happen the day after my hospital grand entrance. A bit soon. But needed. There before me stood a man that gave me the world almost thirty-four years ago, and he was doing it again. He put aside all worries of money. All. I cried as I listened to our future together which requires my health not my teachers salary. There were no tears about the end date. Just hopes and dreams of a healthy life both in Neebish, Mexico and our time here in the valley. I thought even the the discussion of leaving the workforce would hurt. Nope. Just gave me a world of options. I want to leave healthy. Not stuck in bed. So while I will return very shortly, I won’t kill myself. I won’t. Just be the best teacher and let the other BS fall to the wayside. How did I get into this situation in the first place by killing myself. No more.

Today, the vertigo is disappearing. The back needs one more appointment and possibly shots along with a full drying of my wet-cement. But I am coming back to my status of Go, go, go but never forgetting this time of pause and what I am graced with in my life.

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