Tuesday, December 6, 2016

When Pain Becomes Like an Old Friend

You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you
will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses,
and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain and
learn to accept it, not as a curse or punishment but as a gift
to you with a very, very specific purpose.

Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

When I retired in 2013 one of my goals was to sleep as late as I want.  Freedom meant no longer no more alarm clocks waking me at the break of dawn.   Oh, how good it was going to feel.  After 50 years living by the clock, I could now lounge in bed until noon if I wanted and not feel any guilt.  But, even the best laid plans can fall apart, because although I no longer had an alarm clock, with elderhood came the aches and pains.  Like clockwork some part of my body begins to ache... and ache enough to wake and rouse me from sleep, and I've found that fight it that I may, the longer I lie in bed, the harder it is to climb out.

I never know where the pain is going to hit.  Every day it seems there's a dull irritating pain somewhere in my body sometimes the pain is pretty sharp. My elbows occasionally ache, and don't get me started on my knees.  Fortunately, though, since I lost over 50 pounds my knees no longer hurt like they once did.  Only on occasion do I feel a throbbing which wakes me from sleep.

This morning it's my shoulder blade.  I know I am perhaps too much at the computer.  I love playing games, and I do have my essays to type.  I know I have to stay away for a couple days, and keep promising myself I will, but that promise really doesn't last long.  The next morning, bright and early, I'm up and checking out Facebook.  After all, I do have to know what's going on in the world....which friend has snow, who's finished with their Christmas shopping, what so and so made for dinner.  All very important stuff I need to know.

We all get stiff after an extremely heavy exercise bout, but as we grow older we get stiffer more and lying around just makes it worse. Climbing out of bed in the morning has become a momentous affair.  No more bounding out of bed and racing for the coffee. Nope, as one grows older slow and easy as the way to go as a slowly hobble to the kitchen. 

One thing I have found is that when you reach a certain age, doctors seem to write off your pain.  Maybe not all doctors, for sure, but Medicare does not allow you to see the very best.  Back when I mentioned my knee pain to my doctor, his response was, "Osteoarthritis.  It's part of the aging process.  Not much can be done.  But, it would help for you to lose some weight." This was when I was 223 pounds.  53 pounds lighter, and I realize he was right.  But, I only wish he hadn't been so nonchalant about it.  A little sympathy would have helped.

Yes, pain has become my old friend, but I have learned to pretty much ignore those mysterious aches and pains that strike without notice.  I have discovered that many of them will go away on their own, some within minutes. And, I have come to expect pain somewhere all the time.  It's become a fact of my life.  I know my lower back pain is a direct result from the hairline fracture of the spine I suffered in my youth.  Arthritis has set in.  And those other various pains are probably not only a result of the aging process, but also from not listening to advice when I was young.  I had always been warned of future problems from carrying heavy shoulder bag or wearing cheap shoes (I was always of the mindset that I would rather have three pair than one pair).  Heavy lifting, not eating properly, not exercising throughout my life hasn't helped either. 

But, I don't dwell on my pain.  Instead I open my eyes in the morning feeling blessed for another day.  And I keep going.  I don't sit around feeling sorry for myself.  I stay active and fight through all those aches that threaten to ruin my day.  For, despite all, life is good and I am glad to be here.  I am thankful for another day.

1 comment:

  1. Like yourself I looked forward to the 'freedom' of retirement and, to a degree, I suppose we have it .. If I have an appointment booked (oh, those endless appointments) and the weather is bad I just call in and re book. No alarm clock anymore yay. However, I'm with you on the aches and pains. The hip is always with me. Today it's the neck as well. By tomorrow it will be something else lol. At lease we can still get out of bed and dress ourselves. Hang in there.