In the months after my mother died, it seemed that I was always going to see my doctor about some new issue. As I said to him then, I just wanted to know if there was something physiologically wrong or “was my brain just taking it out on my body” in some new way. It was reassuring to me to have an answer. And I knew that having an answer might not mean that the issue could be addressed medically but at least I would know.
The same thing is going on now. Yesterday, I went to see a Physiatrist [What? My feet need therapy?] about my left foot. And I saw the x-ray. I know there is a fancy medical term but I have a bone spur on the back of my left heel which has now caused my Achilles tendon to become very inflamed. It’s been fascinating watching the swelling grow at the back of my left heel. I finally involved medical professionals because I wanted to know if there was a mechanical reason why all the common sense things I had tried had not effected any real, long-lasting improvement. It’s reassuring to have an answer.
And the treatment? Use crutches – oh my armpits! Wear a Strasburg Sock to bed. Don’t do anything that hurts – like walk, go up and down stairs, work out, drive a car. Oh, and just stay off my feet! As if that could ever happen in any real world.
And even though I have an answer, I find myself thinking back to when all of the issues with my feet and, by extension, my knees and hips started this time.
Just over a year ago, I was walking and, I swear, heard something pop at the back of my left knee. And the next day, I had to haul out my knee brace and my cane. I could not walk because I could not bend my knee [now there’s a prophetic phrase – paying homage, obeisance comes to mind]. And about that time, I really started to feel at odds with the minister and the hierarchy of the church where I was choir director. I was no longer willing to tow the party line but I kept trying to make things work. Finally, I literally could not stand it anymore.
And I listened to my body and didn’t try to push my way through things and the physical issues resolved themselves. Jettisoning the weight of trying to make things work took longer but that, too, I resolved. I made my choice and felt physically lighter for doing that.
Just under a year ago, I was working at another job I had started immediately after I retired from teaching and I lost my balance and fell twice – landing on the same hip each time. And I couldn’t walk. So I went home and did all the common sense things I knew to do to look after myself. And the physical issues were resolved. Again, finally choosing to lose the irritation of that job took longer, but that, too, I resolved. I made my choice and felt stronger for doing that.
As I think about what’s going on now, I realize that my body was starting to ‘talk’ to me near the end of the summer. At first, I felt clumsy as if my balance was off. And I felt slow and sluggish. And I just put that down to being tired and overweight. Then my knees would sometimes feel hot and ‘glow’. But I have arthritis in my knees so, as far as I was concerned, that was what was acting up. If I followed the treatment regimen for that, the aching in my knees would calm down for a while. Then my left heel started to ache occasionally and I chalked that up to not wearing shoes with good arch support. Then my hip flexors started hurting. And all the time, the pain in my left foot became more and more intense.
So, by last Saturday [about seven months later], there I was with sore hips and unhappy knees and an extremely sore foot. By last Saturday, walking was becoming an adventure I would rather have missed. And let’s not even think about stairs! As I said to the Physiatrist yesterday, I did not feel that I could flex my foot at all. Again, prophetic words. My foot could not flex. I have been unable to flex. I’ve felt stuck. I’ve felt unable to move forward comfortable within mySelf. I can hear one of my former students telling that everything can become a metaphor. I told him he was right. I didn’t know how wise I was about that!
As I sit here, I find myself laughing. My body is truly genius! It started telling me that something wasn’t working in my life over a year ago. And I wasn’t paying attention. So, my body kept upping the ante. The intensity of my physical discomfort kept increasing and my ability to engage with my world on a physical level kept decreasing until I had to, finally, ‘get with my own programme’.
Fire energy in the first chakra. My ability to take power and to act on my own behalf as all that pertains to the ground from which I can move forward into my world. And on the left side – my ability to adapt and flex! Like I said, my body is a genius!
And this morning? Everything hurts less. I can move more easily. I don’t get up from a chair and have to consciously decide which leg to move first. Am I ‘all better’? I don’t know, although I know that I am different. It took time for me to be present to myself and to listen to my body. It might possibly take some time [although my sense is that it will happen really, really quickly] for anything physical to be resolved. AND I know that knowing mySelf and staying present to mySelf is the starting point for resolving my current physical issues. AND I know that I am the physician to ‘heal thyself’.
We all are our own physicians when we pay attention and take the time to respond from the place of trust in our own knowing. We all need to pay attention and ‘get with our own programme’!