First, I have a lot less pain today. A full day of rest and chair avoidance has presumably been good for me.
Second, I am not fixed.
verb [ with obj. ] fixes, fixing, fixed.
(1) to mend or repair, e.g. you should fix that shelf. (2) to be or to make something permanent or static in nature. also fixable |ˈfiksəbəl| adjective.
I was on the phone with a good friend yesterday who was dismayed to discover that I was [still] in so much pain, despite the “nerve thing” that was supposed to “fix all that.”
I rushed her through her sympathy so we could talk about something else. As much pain as I was in, I was having enough trouble getting my mind off of it as it was, and I didn’t have any extra energy leftover to deal with her distress. I’m finding myself more and more often in the unlikely position of having to comfort other people about the state of my own ill-health, and it’s exhausting. While I appreciate that people need to feel that the length of time they spend sympathizing be in proportion to the gravity of the situation, what I really need is distraction. What I don’t need is to have to reassure them that it’s not as bad as they think.
Because it’s not as bad as they think; it’s worse. Not only am I not fixed, but I will not be fixed any time in the near future, and even the scope of what fixed entails has not yet been, if you will, fixed. Cutting off the nerve supply made a positive difference in both my overall pain level and the tension under my shoulder blade, but it did not actually “fix” anything. My shoulder was hunched up in a fixed [sic] position for five months, causing lasting physical changes to not just the shoulder but the surrounding bones and tissues as well. I will not be fixed until all of that is straightened out, or as straightened out as it can be, and moreover, I do not know how long that will take or how straightened I will be able to get. Cue the dramatic music.
Luckily, today the pain is at a more manageable level, so I should be able to project enough normalcy to fly under my friends’ hypersensitive empathic radar. Tomorrow… well, I can’t speak for tomorrow. The white board gets completely erased every night, and what gets drawn on it the following day is unlikely to track with whatever happened the day before. And as a result, being fixed is no longer the goal. The goal is simply tomorrow, and perhaps the tomorrow after that. The physical pain, in all its randomness, is still just pain. It’s distracting, annoying, and often discouraging, but its very arbitrariness means that it’s not, shall we say, fixed at one particular level, and some days it’s little enough that I lose track of it if I get involved in something else.
What I can’t seem to escape is the sadness, the moments when I’m overwhelmed by the scope of the damage I’ve done to my physical frame. I will never be able to be as unmindful of my body as I once was. It is the loss of that invincibility, however illusory it may have been, and of the possibilities that are now closed to me because of that loss, that haunt me at night when my shoulder aches and sunrise is still hours away. I’ve yet to find the peacefulness that comes from acceptance of one’s present place in life. That, too, it seems, is a long way from being fixed.