I am given pain over and over. Inescapable pain. I suppose most people are. I don’t know. My father is. Are you? Is it normal?
I rarely go three weeks without something springing up from the long grass to sink it’s teeth into my back and ride me around for another three weeks. Gastritis. Cystitis. Anxiety and depressive attacks that hurt just as blackly and may end up being more dangerous. Poison ivy, or some mystery cousin thereof. The urgent care antidote to the by-now systemic poison ivy, to whose preservative I had an allergic reaction and suffered chest pains, more terrifying than threatening. Constant coughs as a child, where I did not sleep, but camped in a one man tent of sheet draped over bedposts, leaning over the fat orange humidifier and wiping small fingers sticky with Vic’s VapoRub on my already sticky sheets. Ear infections every time I put my head under non-chlorinated water, long and epic ear infections that left me sobbing with the pain. Most recently a sprained ankle that would not heal, a queer week-long panic attack where I woke up every morning with my heart racing and could eat no food but was not nauseous in the traditional way. The strangest vomiting I’ve ever done. I could feel it crawling up my esophagus. And throat infections. Tonsil infections. That is what I have now. They usually test negative for strep. I’ve had these really serious ones five times in my adult life, about once a year since I was twenty, and they too make me cry. I do not like to cry, but each new thing, each new kind of pain brings me low. I beg for relief, I am granted it, a new pain comes and sweeps me up and off we dance.
Is this normal? Do you have this? I cannot help feeling that I am to blame somehow. My husband says, “Don’t take it personally. You’re just sick.” I sit against my stack of pillows and repeat in my heart, you are not a bad girl, you’re just sick, you are not a bad girl, you’re just sick.
I just want to know if this is a typical human experience or if I have something systemic I need to address. I know that body, mind, spirit are intimately bound up and I am afraid that I will be forced to examine that middle one in order to address this. At times, I feel the innate kindliness of my body. I have felt the welling mercy of my spirit, free there in my chest anytime I should ask for it. Mind. Mind does not want to play. Today, a scene popped into my head. My body as a child with arms stretched up to me. I look down at it. “You want me to love you? Well I won’t.” WHY? Come on, Mind! Get it together! You hate this too! If Body weren’t all messed up we could go back to eating kebabs and yelling at politicians and slothing around like a cat with thumbs! Do we put ourself here on purpose? Here where there is no escape from ourself, no escape from crying, no escape from mercy? We are very proud, after all, but when we are broken people take care of us. Hmm. That was telling.
Husband has made me some absolutely fiery concoctions that burn like a really good simile. I drink it when I can stand it. I fail to sleep. I sit cross legged in bed and listen to Aramaic singing on youtube. Oh. My father is in the shot. What a kindly surprise. I rewind, watch him make his way around the circle. I breathe. No escape.
Update: Went to spookily upscale urgent care centre next to the abandoned daiquiri shop. They gave me a barf bag to spit in, very kindly. (I can’t swallow my spit right now.) The doctors looked suitably horrified at the seamed and leaning cliffs of my tonsils. Which is very satisfying. And they pumped me full a drugs! I ate two whole spoons of yoghurt not ten minutes ago and am about to blitz my system with berserker life killers, a.k.a antibiotics.