Life in progress


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What the medical community doesn’t tell you

Multiple times in the past few months I’ve been to see doctors who haven’t told me the whole story. I suppose there’s a fine line they need to tread – some patients don’t want to know. I, however, do not fall into that category.

The first was my optician. I went for a checkup where I was told I needed to make sure I wear sunglasses when I go out and to make sure I rest my eyes occasionally when I work on the computer. No problem, right? So a few weeks later I bought sunglasses and I during that time walked away from my screen once every couple of hours.

Then I went back to see the optician because I was still having trouble.

“Oh, you have the beginnings of a cataract,” she told me this time.

“I what?!?”

“Yes, that’s why I told you to wear sunglasses and to rest your eyes.”

Had I been told that in the first place, I might have been a little more diligent, don’t you think? I didn’t say those exact words out loud, but the answer to what I did say went something like, “I didn’t want to scare you.”

Right.

Next, my shoulder. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I have a rotator cuff injury and tendonitis. I’ve been told by numerous doctors over and over not to push myself past my pain limit. Until today I didn’t know why. Wanna know why?

Apparently if I put too much pressure on my tendons when they’re swollen and inflamed they can snap. Break right in two. Then I’ll have to get into surgery within 24 hours or I can say goodbye to the broken tendon for the rest of my life. I was told by the doctor (a resident working under my family doctor) that if I hear or feel a snap I’ll see my arm swell as the muscle, free of being held in place, runs down my arm and pools at my elbow… Nice, eh?

Had I been told that in the first place…  See above.

Again, I understand there are people in this world who wouldn’t want to know these things about their bodies. But there’s nothing quite like the worst case scenario to keep a person from doing something stupid out of ignorance.

Our physicians’ job is to help us heal. It’s also within their power to protect us from ourselves by either giving us the information we need – or not. Communication is of the utmost importance. If we want to know, we have to tell them and they need to be honest; it goes both ways.

Would you want to know? Because if not, I strongly suggest you follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. You don’t know what kind of pain you’re in for otherwise.


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Body and Soul

“Keeping body and soul together is an annoying business.” – a line by Charles Daniel Jacobs, Chapter VI – Revival ~ Stephen King

I was going to post this quote as a One-Liner on Wednesday, but it resonates with me beyond being able to leave it alone – I have to write about it. And that’s really what it’s all about for me.

What is a soul? Is it our life’s energy? Is it what makes us who we are? Is it what places us here on earth from where ever in the universe we come from? I suppose it depends on your belief. I believe it’s what drives me to be who I am. My nature, if you will. It’s what I was born with.

I am a writer. This is not something I chose for myself; I, like many others I have met, seem to be made for this occupation, as it surely is for artists in any medium. We are made to create – we have this in common. The poet who lives to make emotions and sensations come alive on the page; the musician who must play; the artist who needs to express herself in pictures; the architect who strives upwards, brick upon brick; the knitter who lovingly measures, stitch by stitch her work – the one thing each of us shares is the ability to stand back and say, “I created this out of nothing.” And oh, what satisfaction it brings! Our creations are what make our souls shine!

But, as relating to the quote, we all have our limitations. Whether it be physical or a matter of responsibility or both, there are times when we are inspired to create but can’t. For me, at times, it is an ache. A feeling that if I can’t just sit and write… something… I’ll go crazy. I think of Julie Andrews – her botched throat operation must have been beyond devastating. Or Phil Collins’s spinal cord injury that has left him unable to play the drums or even hold a pair of drumsticks. For some the physical disability didn’t stop them – Beethoven who continued to compose after he became almost completely deaf, and drummer,  Rick Allen of Def Leppard who lost his arm in a car crash, to name a couple. They are the exception rather than the rule, but it goes to show how the compulsion to keep going can help to overcome what may seem like impossible obstacles.

“Keeping body and soul together is an annoying business.” Indeed, Mr. King. It’s an annoyance, a stress, a heartrending misery that many of us experience. It is a human condition. It is the plight of the creator.