Friday, December 23, 2011

There Was Pain

I have been struggling with some medical problems since just before Thanksgiving ... a torn meniscus in my right knee and then a large kidney stone. The orthopedic doctor suggested steroid shots for both my knees (said there was arthritis in both of them!), then "wait and see" about surgery for the injured one. The kidney stone took me to the emergency room in worse-than-child-birth-pain, and then to the hospital a bit later to have the too-large-to-pass kidney stone "blasted", which I thought meant having small pieces that would then "pass" painlessly within a day or two.  Not so. It will be a week tomorrow since I was in the hospital and the painless-passing of the kidney stone pieces has yet to happen.  Oh, and, the nurse said on the  phone it wouldn't be painless.

Just took another pain med, which will soon blur my mind, so am trying to write before that happens.  Got tired of reclining in the recliner so thought I'd get my thoughts down here before I drift off and/or the kidney stone pieces begin another migration towards the bladder.  For all of you who have had kidney stones I can now say that I ABSOLUTELY understand (but wish I didn't)!

I was up at about 4:30 this morning with another of the kidney-stone-pieces-trying-to-pass-into-the-bladder  episodes (and they still haven't).  Horrible, terrible, almost unbearable, worse-than-giving-birth-type of pain - for about an hour and a half, before the pain med kicked in. I should have taken it before going to bed, but was trying to stay "un-drugged" for a bit.  Instead, I've been mostly drugged and out of it in the recliner all day.

My sweet, sweet husband was up with me, having a hard time watching me bending over in pain but hugging me, bringing me a wet cloth for my face, bringing me the liquids to drink that the nurse said to keep drinking, etc.  His welcomed attentions did not take away the awful pain but having him there giving those attentions sure helped me endure the pain.  When the med finally kicked in and I could talk a little, without moaning, I said to him, "I don't know how someone who is totally alone gets through something like this.  That would be so sad."

I called my doctor today about the itching I start having each time I take the pain pill, wondering if I was allergic to the medicine and should maybe stop using it.  After asking him about it, his nurse told me the same thing that our doctor-daughter in California had told me over the phone: "Doctor says it's one of the side effects for some people, but to keep taking it, as you'll need it".  She was right about that.  "Needing" it.

To top off my evening last night, after being without the pain for a few hours,  I decided to try and stand long enough in the kitchen to bake a few easy Christmas cookies.  I guess I was up too long on the injured knee/leg. As I was (foolishly, I guess) standing on a child's small chair to reach a top cabinet shelf my bad knee/leg just suddenly crumbled beneath me. No pain from it. Nothing. Just gave way and down I went - hard.  I couldn't get up so was moaning, groaning and downright crying loud enough for my sleeping husband or grandson to hear me and come to the rescue.  It was right at midnight and they'd both been asleep for awhile.  Grandson heard, came running to the kitchen then ran to wake  my husband.   I couldn't get my bad leg in a "right" position to push up on, without a lot of pain ... took the two of them to finally help me up. They both gave me a lecture on "climbing up on things with that leg when you are alone"! Okay - I promised not to do so again.

So ... besides the kidney-stone-pieces-pain, I've also had today a swollen and painful leg again, as well as a bit of hip, back and arm pain.

I do believe that that will be the end of my trying to bake some homemade goodies for this Christmas!  In fact, I just ORDERED a couple of things (and they are homemade) from a bakes-goodies-to-sell-lady.

In one of the moments when I could think straight today I told my husband, "I guess I'm going to experience Christmas this year in the way Mary, mother of Jesus, REALLY experienced it:  in PAIN.

I've been trying to see something positive in these latest medical messes, in the middle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. I'm missing out on some of the "fun" Christmas things: shopping, baking, etc. About the only "positive"  (?) thought I've come up with was that one - about Mary and her pain at the first Christmas.

It wasn't all fun and roses for that girl, being told she was pregnant and not yet married.  She'd be shamed in the community; girls were even sometimes put to death for such things.  And how in the world was she going to get Joseph, her fiancee, to  believe she hadn't cheated with him and slept with some guy in the village?

I think Mary had quite a bit of emotional pain.  I have a feeling that, even when she was at peace with the knowledge of how she came to be pregnant, of Who this Baby in her belly was, that she probably had some human "fear and trembling" of how the friends and neighbors were going to take her news. "A super natural pregnancy? Yeah, right. Come on, Mary, out with it - who's the father?"  She would most likely have endured the pain of the community ridiculing her, pitying her, being afraid of their anger and its consequences to her, of their silent treatment.

The emotional pain wasn't the end of her pain, either.  She endured the pain of traveling a long distance on the back of a bumping donkey with her very swollen-with-Baby-belly. And delivering a baby back then?  In a crude animal shelter, no doctors, no nurses, no clean soft bed, no pain meds, no ice chips.  You think that girl was not in pain?  Think again!

Yes, I believe Mary had pain, all kinds of pain.  But, she also had what she needed to get through that pain, to endure to the end:  she had faith and believed what she had been told about this Baby in her belly, that He was God's own Son.  I'm pretty sure that she moaned and groaned and shed some tears when that Baby started trying to squirm His way out into our world. Maybe Joseph held a wet cloth to her face, massaged her shoulders, gave her sips of water, had a hard time watching her in the pain of child-birth.  But, they both knew the Father of this Baby of all babies was right there with them, would help them endure the process of giving the world the Greatest of Gifts.

The REAL Christmas isn't all light and laughter.  It started in pain.  Mary's pain, as she gave birth to the Gift from God to us; the same Gift Who would, in pain for us, leave this world, giving us another gift: salvation ... forgiveness.

Merry Christmas to all who read this. May we all remember the pain of the first Christmas that allows us to have the joy of Christmas celebrations now.