A lesson learned in three photos

"I hate wearing the ankle brace. It's ugly, and it itches and it's uncomfortable," I told the physical therapist. "Plus how can I wear it with heels?" "You can't. Get over yourself," she said. Oh.

What I really meant was that I was frustrated that I was still in so much pain nearly two weeks after a car accident that sent my spine every which way and left me limping and achy. Yes, it could have been worse. 

That still doesn't negate the pain right now, and which I have been told may go on for weeks and months. 

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Pain is relative. This pain rides alongside the good things that are happening (like gutting our house and starting to welcome people back into it, burgeoning new friendships, and the giggles of a second grader, all of which are also true). 

But this week the pain kept up, and I kept moving through my days as if it wasn't there. "It could have been worse," I said as I sat in my desk chair, wincing in pain as I did the exercises to loosen up my neck and back. But "could have been worse" doesn't mean "not bad," so there's some bad mixed up in what I'd hoped to be the start of a new start kind of fall. Ha.

I took the ankle wrap off yesterday, because it was uncomfortable and I didn't want to be bothered. Damn it all, pain, I wanted to have one good night in which I looked at art and hung out with friends and walked around Birmingham at Artwalk. And, for a couple of hours I pretended I had not a care in the world, other than securing this pug painting from one Christopher Davis, which I did thanks to a benefactor friend who let me buy it instead of him.

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It was good to walk around and see the streets filled with people walking with their new art until it wasn't. Just as quickly as the fun started it was over, as I stood on a cobblestone street, my back seizing up and a long walk in front of me. As quickly as the fun started it was over, and I was hot, cranky, and in pain. It didn't help that I was lugging a huge purse, or that I went nonstop for 15 hours yesterday--physical therapy, work, then standing.

Till my body said, "no mas." White flag. Shut down. 

Tonight, hobbled over a shopping cart, I collected these items and am now trying to lie flat on my back.

Four years ago, during a period of spiked stress and screeching change, I got shingles, which forced me to slow down for a few weeks. "The universe will just keep whispering till it screams to get your attention," I hear my Oprah voice say. Got it universe. Sort of. Plane to catch Monday.

Meet in the middle? I'll wear my ankle brace. 

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