Pain, and the management of it, is consuming most of my time these days. It’s a vicious cycle. I wake up in some sort of primeval agony and wait for the two pills that promise relief.
That’s the easy pain. It’s tangible. It “demands to be felt” like John Green says. And so with every twinge, every pull, every throb, I knock back two pills and soon I’m enveloped in a warm sea of relief. It clouds my head, denies me lucidity, and man, it is sweet. It lets me walk from my bed to a chair, and feel somewhat fulfilled with that little trek. It lets me speak without getting winded. These are magic pills I would easily sell the family cow for, fresh out of a fairy tale, and I look at the clock making sure I don’t miss the deadline when they start wearing off so I can take two more.
Because the pain in between is worse. That’s the moment when my head clears a bit but my physical ailments are still at bay. It’s the time I can think about the things I don’t want to think about. It’s the Philip Seymour Hoffman moments where I can imagine loading up and transporting myself somewhere else. It’s the “Woe-is-me” moment. The moment of “Why? and “How come?” and “What did I do?” and “Is this real?”
Indeed, pain demands to be felt, in more ways than one.
But I also have something else. Something stronger than the two pill solution every five hours. It’s what has carried me these past few days and something I never expected.
It’s the wishes.
They came from all over. Simple messages wishing me strength. Detailed prayers asking for healing. People pledging to do good things in the name of my complete recovery. They were texted, emailed, posted, and tweeted. Dinners were taken care of. Playdates were organized for my kids. And through it all, there was a steady stream of good wishes and hopes.
It was more than a simple gesture. It was magic.
Because with each wish that my husband read to me, each text that blew up my phone, each post on Facebook, each tweet – I felt myself getting better. It was as tangible as the two little white pills every five hours. I never had experienced anything quite like it. It was a million hands holding mine, carrying me, taking a bit of the pain away from me with each simple get well message.
At the beginning of this journey, I was adamant about going it alone. Friends volunteered to accompany me to MRIs and biopsies and surgical consults and I always said no. Alone, I was strong. I had to suck it up, face the music. Not having a shoulder to lean on meant that I would have to stand tall.
But now, after everything, it is all those wishes and prayers that have kept me standing. Those simple phone calls and quick notes have helped me in more ways than those two white pills. Tweets like this:
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) May 20, 2014
that made me smile and laugh during a ridiculously bad day, jump-starting my soul and my mind.
It’s a bit cliched to say I am grateful. So typical to say I am blessed. But that is what I am.
Grateful. Blessed. Preposterously lucky.
And I’m stronger each day.
Carried on the shoulders of wishes.