Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week the Thirty-First: Physical Pain

Ugh, I've fallen off my blog schedule in a big way lately, and I apologize for disappointing anyone who came around looking for it. I've been super busy with work-related writing the past few weeks and haven't had time to type anything else. I even took pictures for Wednesday's planned post, but then got a surprise assignment and couldn't do it.

Anyway. Moving on. Today work is getting shoved aside so I can write a new Introvert Social Hour post. I'm not sure whether it'll be a very picture-ific post because there are, after all, only so many hours in the day, but I'm writing the post if it's the last thing I do, dagnab it.

This week's topic is the worst physical pain we've experienced. I'm not sure how interesting this will be because, like Frieda, I've been pretty lucky in my life and haven't hurt myself very often. And I wrote about most of them in my post on five facts about me, so that doesn't leave much here. I shall, however, do my best to entertain you with my suffering starting in 3... 2... 1...

I guess the worst pain I've ever had was when I broke my hand. It was a horrific break of multiple bones and let's just say it was not much fun. My other broken bones were pretty minor in every way compared to that. However, it was only the worst for a fairly short time. After a few days it eased back some and became my second worst long-term pain.

The second worst pain I've ever had, and easily the worst in terms of extent, was when a cheap rent-a-dentist who was supposed to give me a root canal didn't believe that my mouth wasn't numb after three shots of local anaesthetic. I don't know why it wasn't numb because I'm normally very easily medicated -- over-sensitive to it, if anything -- but it wasn't. He was convinced that I was only feeling pressure and was determined to drill. I was young and stupid, in pain, and so poor that I didn't have any alternatives so, against my better judgment, I let him do it... for about one second. When the drill touched my tooth, I screamed like I was being flayed and jumped almost literally out of the chair.

I wouldn't let him touch me again and left immediately. I cried all the way home and most of the night because I was in so much pain, and the next day I started looking for another dentist to help me. I didn't have any money, but I would have sold anything at that point to get the tooth fixed. Unfortunately, it turned out (I later learned) that the trauma had damaged the nerve, and no dentist in that town would touch it. I started looking out of town, but it took me over a month to find someone, a three hour drive from where I lived, who would look at it. And even he couldn't get me in immediately.

In the end, I spent six weeks with a constant headache, neck and shoulder spasms, earache, tearing eye, and swollen face, eating an almost-entirely-liquid diet, and taking three aspirins every three hours 24/7. Not a fun time in my life. The new dentist gave me a general anaesthetic and that was the first time in weeks that I was able to get past the pain. Everything still hurt for a few weeks after that, until the inflammation went down, but at least I could feel it decreasing. I don't even have words to express the relief.

The third thing that comes to mind is my right knee. When I was in college, I was playing a casual game of touch football with a few friends when one of them decided it'd be hilarious to tackle me. That would have been ok, except that he hit me from the side while my foot was well planted, and my knee bent in a direction that it was never intended to bend. Fun times.

I should have had surgery at that time, but I was young and stubborn and decided to power through instead. I let it go for years, periodically re-injuring it due to its increasing instability as well as my own clumsiness. Every time I got hurt, the knee just got weaker, making it easier to hurt, and so on, a vicious cycle. I never have had surgery on it but I'll have to have it replaced eventually. It's pretty terrible. It randomly dislocates on a regular basis and sometimes it's hard to get it back in place, and it hurts like crazy until I do.

That's really about it. I have the occasional headache or minor injury like anyone, but overall I really haven't had a lot of catastrophic pain. Here's hoping my luck will hold out.

Thanks so much for reading this post! Be sure to leave any questions or comments below. I love hearing from you, you know! And if you're interested, you can also find me on Twitter.

If you haven't seen the videos that go along with this post, they are:

Jill, Kristina & Frieda

And that's it from me on this Saturday. Best wishes! <3

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Esther Day 2013

Most people who read this blog probably don't need to be told that today is a special day. It's the birthday of my friend Esther Earl, a day that many people simply call "Esther Day". If you don't know about Esther, you can read about her here. I also wrote last year about my relationship with Esther and how it's affected my life. I don't want to repeat the same information today; instead, I want to use this post to express my love and to remind others to do the same. The way we make sure that Esther's star truly never goes out is not only to remember her personally, but also to celebrate her day the way she wanted us to: by making sure that the people we love know that we love them.

I love lots of people because I feel love pretty easily. And when I love, I love hard and strong and true. But unfortunately I'm terrible at expressing my love in any generally recognizable way, and I fear that many people in my life either don't realize that I love them or are convinced that I don't. That's not how my relationships should be and it's not how I want them to be.

I'm not going to say all of my "I love you"s here because I want it to be more personal than that, but I do want to make a public commitment to say it today to some people who don't hear it often enough from me. I don't know why it's so hard to tell some of the most important people in my life -- my mother, my brothers, my husband, people like that -- that I love them, but it is. I love all of them very much, but saying it makes me feel shy and vulnerable and it's terribly hard to force the words out. But thanks to Esther, I now have both an excuse and a motivation to say it, and say it I shall, even if it makes me highly uncomfortable (and it will). Because it's important enough to be worth the discomfort.

And while I'm at it, I also want to express once again how much I love all the people that I'm honored to call friends. I won't name people because undoubtedly I'll just leave some out and I don't want to do that. But if we're friends, I guarantee that I love you. And even if you're not sure whether our relationship is close enough to count as a real friendship, the odds are that I love you too. It's hard for me to talk to people, so if I interact with you in any small way, even if it's only on Twitter or in the comments of you blog or something like that, it's because I care enough about you to pull out of my shell and talk to you. So yeah. Whether you like it or not, I love you.

I don't think any of that is the most important part of this post, though. It's great that I'm telling people that I love them today, but it won't mean much if it's only me. Esther's dream was for people everywhere to celebrate this day by saying "I love you", and I'm committed to doing what I can to make that dream come true. Not only for Esther, but for all of us. There's so much sadness and loneliness in this world, and sometimes it's not enough just to be around. Sometimes we need to hear the words, to feel a touch, to see that someone has taken the time to make us feel loved. Our families and friends need to hear that we love them and, just as importantly, we need to say it. As difficult as it might be sometimes, there's no doubt that it strengthens relationships, and thereby enriches our lives.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, [but] didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy [and] knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Right now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture. But when... perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

For now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

-- I Corinthians 13:1-3, 8, 13 (NLT/NIV)
So take some time today. Stretch yourself to reach out, maybe more than usual, maybe so much that it makes you feel awkward and weird. That's no big deal; it's just how growth feels. Tell someone "I love you" today, and then push the message even further by supporting the This Star Won't Go Out foundation. They're reaching out to help people you'll never be able to reach, and your support is like love to those people. Do it for Esther, do it for the people you love, and do it for yourself, too.

This star won't go out. We won't let it.

Thank you so much for reading this very special post. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and, if you're interested, you can also find me on Twitter. Best wishes! <3