Friday, January 18, 2008

Pain and Me by Kathryn Magendie

In nights of physical pain, I lift from my body, hover above, and watch my weakness with disdain. I dream without sleeping, float in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I write beautiful words in the dark; they are slender threads of silver and gold, pulsing with meaning and truth. Pain purifies thoughts, sharpens the senses. In the night hours, I pity the part of me that demands attention to the fiery current racing down my spine and legs. I toss, turn, and wish it would stop so I won’t have to take more of the white pill. I argue my case, and pain argues back its own. One night, Pain opened up to me and said, "At times, I’d rather be called something else, like beauty, or hope, or joy. Do you think it's easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do. Who told you life is lived without pain?" I answered, "Do your worst! I am strong!” And I lay there, and I felt Pain, and thought, who would I be without Pain? It’s become a part of me, attached to me as if an extra body part. It's mine. And I can take it. I am strong.

In the quiet dark, I think how one day I will be a very old woman. I’ll walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and holding the cup with trembley hands, I’ll shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock and think about pain and me and how we had a long good life together. I’ll wonder, did pain take away or did pain give insight, and empathy? I will drink every bit of my strong black coffee and I'll be grateful for its taste and heat, and I'll say, "Come on pain, today we will write, and then we will rock some more, and then we will read, and then we will rock some more. Life is good." And it won't seem but a minute that I am on Earth, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute.

7 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Go away, Pain! That's what I scream to myself every single time my back flairs up. Have never thought of making peace with it, accepting it as a part of my life. I guess that's my luxury since nothing I have yet has been labled "chronic." I hope Mr. Pain goes on a little vacation and leaves you be. Is it worse to be free of him for awhile, then he returns?

Kathryn Magendie said...

He never leaves...he only rests a bit, but, he's always there - hey! notice how we make Pain masculine - ha! laughing....

Barbara Quinn said...

I've been thinking a lot about the mind-body connection and pain so your post is timely for me. Sometimes, I've been lucky with that, with embracing the pain and having it dissipate, or working through it by exercise. But that's for small pains... BIG pain, boy, that's a challenge.

When all else fails: Better living through chemistry.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yoga and pilates help - that and not giving in to it --- I refuse to give in...stay healthy, active, and busy...ole pain can't compete with that *laugh*

Nannette Croce said...

Reading this I suddenly realized it was about a year ago this time I had a flare up of my disk problem. I'm lucky that my pain isn't chronic, but every few years or so something gives. At those times turning over in bed involves an advance plan, and I have to ask for special favors, like keeping the grocery bags light, but what most frustrates me is that I can't find a comfortable position for reading. I notice the milestones as the pain subsides. I can sleep on my stomach. I can wear my favorite heels. Then one day I realize it doesn't hurt at all anymore, but I don't know when it happened. Your post gave me another thing to feel grateful for. I am sitting here pain free.

Michael Manning said...

Kat: How fascinating to look at pain as a purifier. I've heard of people with chronic pain who have found relief through unconventional sources. Well written!!!:)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Hello Michael!

Yes...a clarifyer....an opening to a portal...

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