I reach sideways and pain once again shoots up, down and through my arm. It is not a quick pain but one that drops me to my knees, then down in a heap on the bathroom tile, lingering in its red raw burn, deepening before regressing. I press it gently close to my heart chastising myself. Will I never learn? My Pt guy assures me this sideways pain has always been there but wasn’t noticeable before because my inability to reach up beyond my head was more prominent. I’m not so sure. Are things worse or better? I sit crumpled on the on the cold linoleum and have reached a wall.
I slept better that night, most likely because, though a slow learner, I have finally, more times than not, have learned to keep my arm movements in the small circle of motion my shoulder can handle without inflaming it all through the night. And with better sleep, I am cognoscente of how hard this is. No, not as hard as what my friend Sue suffered, that long slow death as cancer ate her body. Not as hard surely as even Samuel, who limps and sometimes almost falls as his hip gives out.
Comparing my constant pain to others gets me through day to day, powering through. But I have hit a wall. As I gimp up to a standing position and finish undressing, the tears keep falling. In the shower I sob. Surely Samuel can hear the sobbing through the hall and as far down to the kitchen, and I don’t care. I keep letting it up until there is no more. Except there is.
Once dressed my morose face makes me cry some more, so I sit with a heating pad on the couch and weep off and on till it abates. The cat looks up at me curiously. Samuel tries to interject his idea of compassion and I manage to blast him as far away from me as I can. He skitters off to the basement like a frightened spider, and continues installing the new water heater before the old one’s rusty bottom completely gives out.
Ahh, that’s it. Cry when you hurt. Why not. Who fucking cares. My entire body feels better once it’s out, depleted of swirling emotions, emptied. And though I had more sleep than I’ve had in weeks, I’m exhausted. Cleaning out my insides does that.
I feel better, though every second must remember how I can move my arm and where, and for me that is hard and I detest the restrictions. I bake to ready for Samuel’s birthday brunch this morning with my son and his family; kitsch and healthy apple cake along with homemade sausage without salt. Samuel’s been on high blood pressure medication for a long time and salt for him is out or very limited. And there is such a thing as a healthy cake; whole wheat flour, a small amount of brown sugar and fat with lots of fresh chopped apples. None of us needs sugar or excess fat.
I slept better again last night. There is a lot to work on; taking care of myself and paying attention to my own needs. What a novel idea, and it seems to be paying off. It is not something I do, putting my needs first, nor something I’m good at, but I am trying.