I look at the clock. It has been about 40 minutes since my last pressure relief. If I do not wish to lay in bed for a few months due to those nasty pressure sores, I better do another one. I ponder for a few moments on whether or not to lean forward on my lap or tilt backwards in my chair. It has been a while since I enjoyed the close-up view of my shoes and my spine is probably getting red so I reluctantly decide to lean forward. I take a few deep breaths, put my hands in-between my legs and lean forward onto my thighs with my elbows tucked beneath me. I can feel a sensation in my lower back and sachral area notifying me that a stretch is taking place. I know the longer I stay in this position the more it is going to hurt but I must stay down for at least 60 seconds. I count the seconds in my head, trying not to cheat by counting too quickly. I reach the count of 60 and once again take some deep breaths to prepare. “It is just a sensation”, I tell myself. “Relax and do not judge what you feel.”
I gather some momentum and on the count of three I push my elbows down against my thighs. The bony joints sink into my jello like muscles and I can feel my loose shoulder blades popping out from the flat surface of my back. I am now propped up on my elbows and I begin to shimmy myself to a more upright position. So far so good. I bring my right hand back so that it rests on my arm rest and begin to lean back in my chair. I have now reached the stage of this process in which all the deep breaths were for. A sharp aching pain suddenly emerges in the right side of my tailbone, as if whatever I stretched decided to condense and tighten in the bony area of my buttocks. The result is an extreme pain that radiates from my tailbone to other bony areas on the right side of my body such as the hip and lower back. The pain in these areas is hardly noticed however due to the severity of the initial pain. I close my eyes and try to just observe the pain without letting emotional reactions interfere. My entire body shivers as the pain slowly recedes. In order to fully release the pain I lean the top half of my chair back and the painful sensation returns with less impact. “That was fun”, I tell myself and I continue to go about my business.
This is a new sensation which has emerged this past week. The presence of the sensation has varied from day-to-day but it tends to increase later in the day. Some days I can barely move my upper body at all within the confinement of my chair without feeling the pain. I’ve tried to discover what could be causing the pain such as a transfer that went wrong or a position I put myself in at some point but I’ve done nothing out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, I believe that the sensation is just another discomfort I must add to the list when it comes to suffering from a spinal cord injury. Especially among incomplete injuries painful indescribable sensations are very common and one must just learn to live with these discomforts and go on with their lives. Over the past week I’ve tried hard to not dwell within the pain and accept its current presence in my life. There’s actually no real reason to even consider the sensation as pain but rather just another feeling that occurs from time to time. Pain and suffering too often seem to go hand in hand but this partnership is by no means necessary. It’s completely possible to live with pain without suffering. I can do this by simply observing the pain and not attaching myself to it positively or negatively. The pain is simply there and will be able to run its course naturally if I do not associate any emotions with it.
What makes this sensation frustrating is that many times exercises I do regularly seem to make the pain worsen. This is not a very good motivating factor when it comes to continuing with my therapy and rehabilitation. I know I must not let this stop me however, and I must continue with what I feel is most important in my life right now.
I feel I may have brought this pain upon myself in more ways than one. I’ve been doing a lot of healing meditation lately and have been trying to tap into the healing capabilities within me and each and everyone of us. I’ve been performing some powerful visualization techniques and I feel the process may actually be working. The meditation mostly involves visualizing a storm of electrical activity occurring in my entire nervous system. The surge starts in the brain and then with a sudden burst of light my entire spinal cord lights up with blinding intensity. Another surge of light rips through my spinal cord and suddenly every nerve is radiating with electric light. I do this visualization repeatedly, focusing on different areas of the body. One day this past week I was sitting outside in the driveway and had been doing the visualization technique for about 20 minutes or so. It had been a good sitting and upon opening my eyes I began to try and flex my left calf muscle. What do you know, the muscle began to slightly quiver with life. Trace movements have been occurring since my injury almost all of which have yet to turn into anything of actual strength, so I wasn’t over come with joy or anything, but it seemed to be a very positive sign that the meditations are working. The new painful sensations I am feeling may very well be a result of my meditations. Recovery is a painful process and if I want to continue to make strides in my recovery I will have to deal with uncomfortable and many times painful issues.
The concept of pain without suffering can be related to many aspects of my life. Little did I know at one time that the spinal cord injury involves much more then merely paralysis. I’ve discovered that the injury is almost like a disease and completely changes how you physically feel on a daily basis. I am constantly fatigued and it’s as if every day I am waking up to a virus. I consistently have the chills and a beautiful day can leave me shivering. Backaches, unscratchable itches, and odd uncomfortable anal sensations are common. None of these characteristics of my life are either fun nor enjoyable, but by not attaching myself to these facts of my life I can live without suffering from them. They do not define who I am or who I am to become. I am a soul perfect and indestructible. I am a spirit without labels or confinement. I am a being that cannot be described or imagined. When I close my eyes and discover the peaceful silence, blissfully residing, I have discovered who I am.
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