Serious Neglect… that is how i felt upon finally visiting the Orthopedist yesterday for my bad back pain. I know that the title sounds worse than it really is, but I HAVE had this pain on and off for over twenty years. So, why in the world would i ignore such a problem for so long… every sniffle that one of the kids gets ends up with a visit to the pediatrician. The look on the doctor’s face said it all.
I had no reasonable answer. Yes, it is an on and off pain, like a visit from my sister, but it is a serious nerve type pain that should have been addressed long ago.
The handsome, well-dressed doctor looked at me assuming that it was a mistype on my form. Maybe I meant to say 2 months, or two years, so he confirmed again. Yep 20 years or so… maybe a few more. I deal, the pain comes and goes. When it comes, I focus and try the lamaze breathing that did not work when I was pregnant, so from time to time, I drag it out and give it another shot.
I suffer; I take Advil, and it passes, until it didn’t pass. This brings us to the present. While awaiting my X-Ray, I had some time to think. I fought back the tears as the truth and my pain alternatively mocked me.
My own needs don’t quite measure up to the needs of the people whome i support and take care of financially and emotionally.
I am the rock. People must never know that I suffer too. I never complain. I color my hair, and apply make up. I do not ask for favors from anyone. I have learned to do everything on my own. No kidding, I even drove myself to the hospital when I thought I was in labor.
I am not allowed to get sick; mommies do not get sick from their kids, this is what tell my babies. My daughter is relieved, no guilt. Mommy coincidentally got a cold a week after as she did, but it did not come from her. The sneaky little germs hopped into my body from another source. No guilt necessary. Mommy is fine.
But the visit to the doctor yesterday was different. There was no hiding from my truth. I have allowed myself not to matter.
The look on the face of the doctor was indeed shock. How is it possible to have a nerve pain in your back, and leave it unattended for twenty plus years. It sounds crazy typing it. It sounded worse in the office.
Sorry, i was busy geting divorced, and abused, and raising kids and caring for my dying mom, and trying to keep food on the table. I was busy being a care taker for others.
I am a giver, not a receiver. I demand and ask for nothing.
It never registered to me that my pain was just as important as the pain of others. Yesterday struck another nerve, beyond the one in my back. The nerve that was struck was one that ran deep within my soul. My eyes filled up as the doctor looked at me. He tried to bring humor to the conversation and made a joke about my purse that was so large to carry the essentials of my life. But I could see that in his eyes, I was a sad sort of person. He had made a judgement, and he was correct.
Shame on me. What had I allowed myself to become?
I don’t smoke or do drugs.. I like the occasional glass of red wine, but my out and out neglect of my pain left me feeling like I had again been smacked in the face. Not phsically this time, but as a wake up call… like a splash of cold water in the face, telling me to wake up and smell the roses.
We only get one go round; how can I expect my turn on this earth to have pleasure and value if I don’t give myself the respect that I deserve? What about the health of the body and the soul that is so intertwined with the maintenacence of the body. I would give that advice to others, but never took it myself.
Maybe I could exercise more if the nerve pain was gone. Maybe it is just one in a series of self destructive behaviors that have left me alone and rather unhappy at this stage of my life, Without loving and respecting one’s self, how can we expect to allow or expect others to love us? Doing what I have been doing invites others to treat me the way I treat myself, giver not receiver.
How can I make the demands of others that I don’t make of myself. Have others who I feel have failed me in my life, simply followed the example I set? Do we get better treatment that matches the example we set for ourselves?