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With Pain as a Constant Companion, Dropping a Spoon Makes Me Cry

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Today, I dropped a teaspoon on the floor. I held my breath as I watched it slip through my fingers. It made a high pitched “Ding!” as it hit the floor. The glint from the sun on the side of the spoon made it look as if it were laughing at me… and then I cried.

Who would have thought the simple act of dropping a spoon could cause tears, but it does. When the pain is so high that I feel every breath, picking up a spoon is enormous. As I bend over, gasping for a breath, I hurriedly picked it up trying to beat the pain and get to the spoon before the pain shoots through my body. This becomes a lost cause as the pain catches up to the act itself.

Picking up the spoon is over, but the residual pain may last for minutes or even an hour. Knowing I am not the only one this has happened to today gives me no solace as the pain shoots down my right leg. I don’t feel happy that others suffer this same way.

Pain has been my constant companion since I left for college in 1977. When I left, it was on crutches to try to help with some of the pain. I drove two hours on Thursday to go home for physical therapy, Thursday through Saturday. On Monday morning, I would drive back to the university to begin again.

The dorm I lived in had no ground floor rooms, but it did have an elevator to my room. I would suffer the mockeries of those who lived on the floors above because no one, not anyone, rode the elevator a single story. It was blatantly clear that I was on crutches, but no one seemed to care as they could not possibly know my pain. Neither the pain of my back and legs nor the pain of their taunts seemed to stop them.

Today, I am reminded that it is nearing 45 years of constant pain. It has been 42 years of trying everything from acupuncture to Oxycontin. As I hear of something that can potentially help I run to it, only to find that it won’t work for me. Although I am a relatively vibrant 60-year-old, many things won’t help a congenital condition. It has been too long. Too ingrained into my brain.

The miracle is that it has been 42 years, and I still live in hope. I have a spinal cord stimulator that helps somewhat, but more than that, I still have so much to live for because even with this dropping of the spoon, I can always give. I can give words of hope, love and positive experiences.

Getty photo by natalie_board

Originally published: September 14, 2019
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