It’s been less than a week since surgery and Hurricane Elizabeth is winding up to a be catagory five natural disaster. Anyone within range of my emotional storm is encouraged to tape windows, gather batteries, and seek shelter. Fast.
I’m glaring tearfully and angrily at my hostile and traitorous reflection, in a paused moment attempting to dress myself. I have one good arm and one surgically enhanced, painful and stupid useless one that I am trying desperately not to move even a smidgeon as I pull and tug at articles of clothing.
Even the tiniest tremor sends sweeping nausea, electric pain and a cold, clammy sweat through my body. I’ve been at this for what seems like thousands of agonizing minutes and I’ve had it.
“That’s IT! I’m DONE! I hate this stupid arm, I hate these stupid clothes and I hate, hate, HATE EVERYTHING!”
I want to scream and cry and give up but the socially agreed upon minimally acceptable standard of attire for walking about outside of your home precludes me from leaving like this.
Wearing only my yoga pants, old flip flops, and a sling might get me to the front of the line at my local pharmacy super fast, but it will also get me a super fast ride in full restraints to the lock down ward at the hospital. As much as I would love to circumvent a long wait to pick up my medications, I do not relish a story of me losing it, loudly accompanied by a picture of half naked me going viral on social media. Not after last years Christmas card photoshoot. The kids are still trying to live that one down and there’s still a glossy poster size autographed one on display at the DMV.
(*note to self: swing by DMV for new ID picture)
This healing thing is frustrating and hard. I’m covered in bruised flesh and stitched together incision sites. A Rorschach series of blues and reds and purples covers my shoulder, wraps under my arm and across part of my back where a talented surgeon dug in, shaved bones, cut frayed tendons, mended tears.
I look like I lasted a few rounds with a prizefighter and lost. Still I am amazed at what doctors can do and what bodies can withstand in the name of healing.
It’s always been tough for me to admit I need help. It’s humiliating to have to ask someone to pull on my pants, to fix my hair, to help me lay down and sit up. It’s frustrating and humbling. It’s hard to let others love me in DEED. I would rather be the one in the red cape and bulletproof jammies, than the other guy any day of the week.
The reality is that we all struggle with this, but the truth of the matter is that we are meant to live together, to be in community. We are meant to help. It’s challenging and rocky and truly beautiful to learn to trust and fall knowing that you will be safe and lifted until you’re ready for the ring again, ready for the next round.
Healing takes the kind of time you can’t hurry along to suit yourself. It’s the body’s time to take the broken pieces, the worn out parts and rebuild. It’s exhausting . It’s necessary.
I’ll get my cape and super-suit back in good time but for now, I have to focus on the task at hand. When that day comes, I’ll be ready to take on the world and if you think I look bad right now, you really should see the other guy…