This has been an unusual week. The first of the week was good. I have been feeling better (except for the nausea from the Lymes meds), walking better… getting things done, though not as fast as I’d like them to be done – and then on Wednesday, after walking around and taking pictures at the train station, the knee popped. I don’t know quite what happened, maybe another bone spur broke off in there, all I know is, it hurts. Imagine a thorn under your kneecap where there is supposed to be synovial fluid… but there isn’t much fluid there, so the thorn (bone) scrapes around as you move. Now the good thing is (always gotta find something good here) eventually if you keep moving enough (versus sitting on your keester feeling sorry for yourself) you will eventually grind this thorn down to powder and then you won’t notice the pain as it disintegrates. Sooooo, I was back to being reminded of my gratitude list of strange but simple things – I put my own socks on today, all by myself!
It is strange how when we are able bodied we just do not think about how damned lucky we are to be able to do simple things – walk to the refrigerator and get a drink of water, fix a cup of coffee for ourselves, feed the cats… (Which reminds me of why I do not have a dog… When I cannot walk, who is going to take the dog out?)
When Aunt Kathryn broke her wrist, she realized the difficulty of just getting her slacks on and off. Have you ever had to care for someone who could not manage getting to the bathroom themselves? Have you ever been in that predicament? I have. So on my gratitude list I put being able to go to the bathroom by myself. With that in mind, did you ever have to use an outhouse? In the winter? In the rain? In the summer with all the bugs to keep you company? In the middle of the night? What? No electricity? All things we so take for granted. There is nothing like a bum knee to remind one of these things. I remember having my pelvis broken… in 2 places. Now that hurt.
I was talking to a girl last week who had absolutely NOTHING to be grateful for. She had lost her job and had a number of other problems, but could see nothing beyond having lost that job and the anger of it. She kind of barked at me – “Name one thing you are grateful for!” after seeing me hobble into the room where we were meeting. She could see that I was having a hard time, I was in pain. “Go on, just one thing!”
So, I said, “Toilet paper.” She looked at me with shock, disbelief that I had said such a stupid thing, then you could see her mind playing with the concept of life without toilet paper… “Well, OK, yeah, but that’s not what I meant. Look at you. You can barely walk!”
“Well, that is true, but I did walk in here under my own power. My wheelchair is still in the barn gathering dust. But I am still on my feet. And you (she is a nurse) did not have to empty my bedpan. Toilet paper. And the fact that things could be so much worse… what happened to you can be corrected. You have a chance to make things right. I am allergic to metals. I cannot have a knee replacement. My knee can not be made right. But I can learn to live with it and focus on other things.
“If you want to do a negative gratitude list, you can look at the fact that you are not bedridden, you have not lost your family, you are not planning a funeral for any of your children, you are not in jail, you do not have to look for your dinner in a dumpster… Now turn those things around, you can walk, you can dress yourself, you have a roof over your head, you have a family, you have food…”
“Yeah, right, and I have toilet paper.”
Sometimes people just have to have time to think things thru. It is not always easy.