This morning I will have my sixth injection of cortisone into my spine. I've had my lumbar injected, my hip joint, and my hamstring tendon. Still, the Pain remains.
I've celebrated the Pain's first birthday on October 16th. That's not the day of the injury. I can't even pinpoint an injury. But it was a very important day for the company I worked at, and I marked it with hard work, mild rejoicing with co-workers, and a butt-full of pain.
Despite all the MRI's and injections and therapies, the pain remains the same. Today is my last chance at a steroid-induced relief. After Dr. S. injects my sacro-iliac joint, there's no location left to inject.
I have little hope of relief, because thus far I've gotten none. And it's an odd Pain, in some way, a blessed Pain. It hurts when I sit, dissipates when I stand, disappears when I walk. Is it any wonder I longed for a dog -- and thus a rationale -- for many, many walks?
No one sees the Pain, except perhaps Steve who watches me squirm in my chair. Marj sympathizes because she knows pain. Otherwise, it's an occult affair, no evidence of agony because I walk vigorously.
I can't help but think of the pain of others. Hidden -- deeply. Placed -- oddly. Agonizing -- silently. The pain only God knows because people walk through the world with no sign of sorrow and hopelessness. How does the Christian seek out such pain? The quick answer is that we don't -- we let the Holy Spirit bring it to us. But there are signs. Sometimes just a new wrinkle, like the one I have over my right eye. Deep furrows in the face from enduring. Sometimes a too-slow "fine" to the question "How're ya doin'?"
I need to forget that Pain, forget my fear that this last desperate shot to ease my Pain will fail, too. Need to stop worrying about the day when someone says, "Sorry, Mrs. Mackel. There's nothing more we can do."
Need to stop feeling sorry for myself.
Need to rejoice in the time and beauty and puppy that bless my walk. What grace is this, that I can walk without the Pain? What blessing should I walk forth with?
Whose pain to carry as I God-and-Dog-Walk? After all, it's a miracle that I don't have to carry my own,