The Dr's report on my x-rays wasn't surprising but it wasn't welcome news. Just a different response my body is making to the years of abuse and neglect through excess weight and overdoing the intake of spirits....not the spiritual kind. But, that was another day and time...only important to present day in the damage it continues to cause.
Jack and I were both working at our computers last Saturday evening and the phone rang. I noticed on the caller ID while Jack answered that it was Dr D and could hear his voice coming from the receiver when Jack held it to his ear. I listened to the conversational greetings and an apology for the late evening call waiting to hear what he called to tell us.
"I have the report on the x-rays Barb had taken, it's not real good news and explains the increased pain and discomfort she's had."
Jack's usual noncommittal reply..."Un huh...ok" ending the comment like a question.
Dr D continued, "she has severe arthritis in the lumbar spine and several compressed disks." I heard the 'several compressed disks' and wondered to myself how many were several..
I watched my husband's poker face while he continued to listen I heard something about "therapy set up with the clinic...exercise...no medication to prescribe to help.." Jack replying only with "uh hums and i see's"
"What am I...a lump sitting here...?" I asked myself as I listened to the conversation about my medical problems and what could be done. I watched my husband's left hand making notations on the back of a used envelope...one of his ways to save the trees. I heard myself do a brain chuckle about that and lost interest in the conversation and returned to my pc to scan my eyes over an email until the talking ended.
"Well, I could hear some of what Dr D said.....I guess I'll just have to live with this pain until I die." I mumbled as a fit of self-pity began to slip into my attitude. "The pain from the last sciatia attack was unbearable and I thought it was leftover pain from that. I wasn't expecting this and,"
Jack interrupted with his usual practicality that I'd just have to buckle down to the therapy and "the dr suggested aerobic swimming and the treadmill would be helpful. You can finally put that new treadmill that has set in the small bedroom to good use and get our money's worth out of it." Like I'm the one that bought the machine in the first place!
"Great." I thought. "I'm dying from pain and he thinks about saving money." I had another thought about how I had been begging for a treadmill for years with no results, UNTIL the newly adopted dog Riggs, gained weight after he came home with us and his former trainer/owner told Jack that Riggs used to get on her treadmill and walk to entertain himself all the time. A dog took precedent over my wishes when the vet said he was too heavy and needed to lose weight! I guessed I knew where I stood in the priority of things. Who is really the dog around here anyway?
Later that night we were in bed. Jack was softly snoring for the moment and I was reading from my Kindle. Pain and thoughts about pain kept interrupting my concentration with the book. My thoughts were stubborn about accepting all this and decided I would not go back to using the walker. I felt anger...but at who? My worst sins were only in not practicing moderation about some things during my life. But, God is allowing all the consequences to hit me regardless of how I had changed from all of that. I had been thin and sober for many years now...but my body broke anyway. I turned out the light and painfully turned over to face my husband whose snoring had increased in volume and was now snorting.
Closing my eyes I began my prayers which were more about complaining and telling God what I was willing to do and what not.... I remembered that Jack had repeated to me what Dr D had said about physical therapy. His nurse would arrange the therapy and I would receive a call soon with the details. Needless to say I didn't sleep well and limped around in pain preparing for church the next morning. I refused Jack's offer to get the walker out of the garage and put it in the truck. I couldn't believe this was happening after I had spent so many months learning to walk again after each hospitalization over the past eight years. I would not give in to this. I had many private tears in church that morning. I was in such pain that I wasn't able to stand for each hymn we sang or stand with the choir for the first hymns and affirmation of faith. I did stay on my feet to sing the choir anthem, but was so disconcerted by pain I wondered if the congregation could see my shaking legs and trembling hands holding my music. After the anthem, the choir always returned to sit with their families in the congregation. I was very grateful then and on other mornings that Jack also sang in the choir and would help me off the stage and back to our seats. We always had to race between the stampede of the kids rushing forward for the children's sermon.
During the sermon I had quite a hard time keeping my eyes open. The Tramadol medicine I had taken for my arthritis pain before church in addition to the sleepless night was adding up to not hearing anything the Lord would have me hear. When church was over, I was wobbly and off balance as Jack held my hand while we walked in slightly curvy patterns to the truck. I giggled to myself as I thought about giving the church members something to talk about. It would probably be a juicy rumor by Monday morning that I was drinking again. Ha, if only they knew how badly I wished I had.
(to be continued...)