Saturday, October 14, 2006


I have been musing lately about the changes in my life since I fell three years ago. At the time, I had no clue what had happened to me. Oh, I knew I'd broken my arm, needed arm surgery, and was in pain. I had no idea that surgery would cause severe nerve damage and pain, that my career was over, Rene would move out, I would lose 200 pounds and end up on Social Security Disability. Talk about A Changing Life.

I am still coming to term these changes, though I believe I am learning to accept them. Pain became a prison for a while, and I had to work very hard to find a pain clinic with doctor I could trust. I am still on pain meds, but am feeling much freer these days, and I hope my shoulder surgery will help some. I am learning to live with the peripheral neuropathy in my right arm and hand, caused by the surgery done in '03. This a permanent condition.

I know now that I will return to prison-as a volunteer with an HIV+ group. It is not what I want, or what I was trained to do, but it is something that I can do with the women who need lots of nonjudgmental support.

I still miss Rene, but know the relief of having the house back to a cleaner, sparer, quieter mode. She has a lot of belongings (which I labeled stuff, but it is all important to her), and took over two bedrooms, the downstairs hall, and spilled into the dining and living rooms. It's a small house, and I realized even then that I was suffocating in it. I can breath easier now.

I am still processing the weight loss. I know I look different, but my mind has not caught up with the changes. I still look for armless chairs when I go somewhere, even though I fit in chairs with arms with no problems now. I cannot stand the acres of sagging skin which wrap my body in what I see as major ugliness. I'm odd in that I always liked my big body, and don't like my body now. I need serried plastic surgery. This means fighting with my insurance company (which has already turned me down once), and facing at least three or four more operations, which will need to be done at Yale.

For the time being I am being very forgiving of myself by not looking beyond the shoulder surgery I will have this Thursday, at a local hospital. More inner body work will rise when I have energy to do it. I am well aware of the issue in my life, though, and this alone is real progress.

Being considered disabled by Social Security is just weird, especially since nobody seems to know when and how much money I will get. I can accept the fact that I do fall, hard and relatively often, because of autonomic and peripheral neuropathy. And walking with a cane or rolling walker has become just part of life now, whereas at first I was embarrassed. Using them beats cracking my head on the floor and having to call 911.

And the more life changes, the more it becomes the same-with more changes! I still struggle with depression and a distrust of all things that push me to move before I have digested everything on some inner level. I am always going to be a strong minded introvert!
This means I move slowly with change, but also that I keep moving forward no matter what, sometimes at a snail's pace, occasionally with a beautiful leap, as graceful as any ballerina. I have no idea where this stick-to-itiveness comes from-I didn't have it in my youth-but I am grateful for it now. (thank you for your thoughts on Gratitude, Christa, of This Crazy Life, see my favorites list).

As I muse on all this, I realize that, while I am sorry that I fell, I do not regret the changes that fall has caused. A new and different life is slowly emerging. Not one I would have chosen for myself, perhaps, but one I am learning to live with, even occasionally like. This pleases me.

Now, I must add that life will take a major dive in five days, when I have my shoulder surgery. I will be miserable, lonely, sorry for myself, struggling to use only my left hand, dependent on strangers as well as friends for a while, but now I have no doubt that I will handle whatever the universe throws at me. Perhaps slowly, but certainly surely. And I am glad to know this about myself.

Blessings, Margo


Becky said...

You'll be in my thoughts, m'dear.

Professor Zero said...

Good luck with this. I fell and broke my arm four or five years ago, and was projected to lose partial use of my right hand. It worked out: the surgery took, everything took, and I have no real problems with my arm now.
However and even so, I do remember very clearly how difficult it was just being around the house by myself, with pain and then only a left hand to use.
One needs two hands even more than I realized.

Virginia said...

You certainly have had a lot of changes.... and it seems from my point of view that you have grown tremendously through them.

Good luck with the surgery.

Peace, Virginia