Thursday, August 14, 2014
I knew just by looking at her that we had something in common. There was a familiar movement, immediately recognizable to those who possess it. I possess it. In a flash, I was taken back in that hospital bed immobilized and baffled by the pain.
The lady I was looking at now was unique in that her entire face smiled. It wasn't merely polite, it was absolutely accepting and happy. Isn't it fun to meet a happy person? It was for me, today. "Have you had a spinal procedure?" I gently enquired.
"Oh yes, I had 9 discs fused to my spine, 9 years ago. There are two really long Titanium rods attached to my spine. Nothing moves, now." And she smiled.
There followed a general sharing of events. It begins with excruciating pain; continues with a struggle to find the source; multiple MRI's; ex-rays; tests; intravenous fluids; endless phone calls to insurance; and, finally, spinal surgery. It all sounds dreadfully sad and horrid, I know. And it probably was. But at times like that your team comes together and finds out what you need, along with what should be done. And then they go and do it.
The shining lady looked at me with understanding, for here was someone who had been through the experience and knew what it was like. To be gripped by an unbelievable pain that won't go away, to be on morphine so potent that you 'hover' above your bed, to see an immediate halt to all meaningful activity and work. We knew.
I loved Nan! She had me with the smile. This is a lady who worked in newspapers for 35 years; who was a championship golfer and won crystal trophies; who still golfs now, even though she can never see the ball. Her attitude of 'it's all good' shines clearly to anyone who is around her.
"Were you terribly upset by such a swift change in your life?" I asked, rather naively. "Oh, no! I was just so thankful to have the surgery because it absolutely took the pain away. Everything else is just - life!"
I shall sleep soundly tonight, I think. And I shall remember the sweetest smile in this wide world, shining out from just above the neck that can never move again.
She gave 'thankfulness' a whole new meaning.
See you along the way!
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/interplast/55767480/">ReSurge International</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>