It’s been two and a half years since I regained some semblance of normalcy following a debilitating back injury. During that time, I have been slowly and carefully rehabilitating my back and damaged spinal nerves. I’ve been exceptionally fortunate to have had more progress than setbacks. Most weeks bring measurable growth, even if it’s just a slight increase in range of motion, or more time up and around before the pain climbs too high. Other weeks require long periods of ice and rest from most non-essential activities.
This happens to be one of those “down” weeks. And that means staying at home in bed or my recliner (you know, the one with the perfectly-molded butt-print and padding squooshed askew in all the right places), no unnecessary sitting upright or walking around, absolutely nothing that requires bending at the waist, and – worst of all – no Trikke riding.
These weeks aren’t so bad when I look back at them, but they’re a bear from the inside. Sure, boredom is a challenge, but fear gets the best of me; enter the “what ifs.”
What if I end up bedridden again? What if the pain stays this high? What if I can’t get back on my Trikke again?
Then there are the dreams. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? But it kinda is. When I am the most limited physically, I have ultra-vivid dreams of things I love to do but will never be able to do again (barring a divine miracle or great leaps forward in spinal replacement surgery and nerve regeneration, that is): running, horseback riding, racquetball, skydiving, playing sports, etc. Come to think of it, I suppose it’s not the dreams that are so tough, but rather those few waking seconds when reality comes rushing back and I realize for the zillionth time that that part of my life is over. Or perhaps it’s the invariably-resulting struggle against sadness and bitterness over what can no longer be. Yeah, I’d say that the dreams do a fine job of messing with my head.
But! *insert deep, cleansing breath here* In my heart and soul, I know I am strong and powerful and that my indefatigable spirit will overcome these illusions of fear, pain, sadness, and bitterness. These tedious few moments will surely pass, and something new and wonderful will come from this frustrating process. In no time at all, I will mount up on my beloved Trikke and speed off into another gorgeous Texas sunset stronger, more determined, and with more purpose than before. There is great benefit to be won through trial. I haven’t won this one yet, but I will soon.
Remember your strength; it will help you carve through the darkness.