"Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile...initially scared me to death." Betty Bender
I have friends whose first thoughts are assisted living or a memory unit. In the middle of the night when the distant drums pound and thoughts escalate from stubbed toe to amputation, I go right to my funeral. Since last night was my first pain free night in the past three months (high fives and applause please), I've had a lot of opportunities to consider disaster and healing, letting go and gratitude.
It all started with a fall eleven months ago. During this period I first saw an MD who referred me for a set of xrays and a cortisone shot that didn't do squat. Then I marched through acupuncture, eleven sessions of physical therapy and therapy from assorted body workers until I finally found the right healer who accomplished the job in two sessions. Would he have brought relief three months ago? I don't know. I do know my most fervent gratitude often comes from my greatest turmoil, and I am too busy being grateful to think about that just now. Then there is the nagging question, who should I have gone to first? "Ghostbusters!"
Our medical situation stinks in so many ways. Our insurance will pay for drugs but not for talented healers who look deeper for mind/body connections or who can feel with only the equipment of their hands what is going on below what can be seen with xrays, healers whose path didn't take them to medical school. During this time, my husband went through his own health trauma. His help ultimately came after we experienced the worst and the best medical care in our area and only because I kept pushing through the mire. A year and a half after a shunt was put in his brain to reduce hydro cephalic pressure, he has passed through a plethora of dementia symptoms to mostly, but not entirely, age related forgetfulness. It is truly a miracle.
Cataract surgery is another medical miracle. Last week, my right eye went from not seeing well at all even with glasses to 20-20 for distance, and even reading without glasses is much better. Tuesday my left eye will be dealt with, and then my sight will be incredibly good.
I am grateful for my dogged determination and unwillingness to have
anyone tell me due to aging health problems are to be expected, especially when it's someone in her forties who seems to have that wisdom to pass on. Doctors have slipped that into their conversation for thirty years! I am getting older, but that doesn't dementia or constant intense body pain is to be accepted as
inevitable. I went into last week's cataract surgery thinking I looked more and more like my mother and came out
realizing I look like my grandmother! I can understand the desire
for facial surgery now, but where would I start and where would I
stop? And how would I feel now if I accepted the conventional wisdom that with age comes decrepitude. Every age has challenges and giving up isn't the answer to any of them.
All along this journey, I have been caring for my inner child and finding others to do that job when I'm feeling too little to help myself. Equine therapy, art classes, gathering in the strength of my friends, asking for help and guidance, and laughing with my film club friends have inspired me and held me up. In my best moments, I feel as though I'm often in touch with the wisdom of age. If not now, when?
Baruch ata adonai...in the past year I've had ample opportunity to learn patience. I'm not sure I have. I know you will test me again. I've had ample opportunity to get out of my own way and out of the way of others, and often I do. I know you will test me again. May my learning never stop. May my courage continue. I'd like a little more grace. Perhaps I can learn that without too much prompting. Amen