Yesterday was a mild, partly cloudy, lovely autumn day. It was the kind of day, you don’t take for granted right before colder weather comes. So, around 11 am with my tennis shoes on, I headed for the court with my husband.
Hitting tennis balls is a fun and easy way to get a little exercise. I always look forward to it. Lately though, my legs have felt weak. The nerve pain has been unyielding. I try not to complain too much and I push onward the best that I can. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at fooling myself into thinking the way my legs feel is normal.
Given the fact that the pain has been worse of late and since I have not rested much to allow my legs time to recuperate, I probably shouldn’t have been out playing tennis but that denial thing, it’s pretty well ingrained and I’ve become a bit of a master at tuning out pain or at least turning it down.
Anyway, there we were out smacking the ball around, back and forth over the net, one of us occasionally hitting a beautiful winner. I was having a really good time. In fact, it was the first time in a couple of weeks that I wasn’t full of worry about my never ending “To do” list waiting for me at home. It seems like lately, the jobs around the house just keep coming, which is part of the reason I know I have pushed harder than I should.
Then suddenly and without warning, I found myself on the ground rolling around in blinding, pain that kept building into a crescendo of eye watering, breath taking torment. I sprained my ankle.
My husband quickly rushed to my side and told me in a calm reassuring tone, that I needed to lay still and the pain would pass but it felt like eternity. The burning rush of throbbing agony did not seem to subside as quickly as I would have liked and I began to realize that I would not likely walk this one off.
I laid there on the pavement just trying to focus on the rhythm of my breath while my husband stroked my hair and told me that it was going to be alright. But I was also in a quiet panic as I realized just how inconvenient this injury was going to be.
You see, I pride myself on taking care of our home. I pride myself on taking care of my husband. It’s the only job I have left since my sarcoidosis diagnosis and now suddenly due to this troublesome injury, I was going to be side lined from even doing this. I felt more deflated than ever.
I wanted to cry but not so much from the pain of the ankle sprain, as from the loss of being able to do my job. This is such an inconvenient time, with the holidays coming up and family gatherings already planned. Did I ruin everything from my selfish need to be normal?
I was mad at myself. I’m still mad at myself. I should have known better. I should have fessed up and admitted that my legs were too weak for tennis. I should have honored my body’s original warning and just rested. If I had done that, this now more untimely pain and anxiety could have been avoided.
There’s nothing I can now about my “To do” list. And, there is nothing I can do now about not being able to do my job. My husband will have to grocery shop this week, if he wants what he usually eats for lunch. The house won’t get cleaned like it usually does. I can’t walk my dogs. They are going to have to make due with play time in the backyard. There is nothing I can do about the fact that I cannot do my job expect accept it. I have to take care of myself so that I can at least get this ankle healed enough for the holiday next week.
The house, the cleaning, the chores, the jobs…they are all going to have to wait. I am going to have to accept my husband’s help. I feel terribly guilty. I loathe that feeling beyond measure.
Of course, I know it could be worse. If there is one thing having sarcoidosis has taught me, it’s that it could always be worse. So, I’ll have to figure out a way to put away the guilt. I’ll have to grin and bear the fact that my house is not as clean as I would like it and I’ll have to pray that I heal enough for the holidays.
But more than all of that, I really need to learn to be more accepting of the limits of my body. I’m tired of cracked teeth and falling down and sprained ankles and being hurt from pushing beyond my limits. I don’t want to accept this but I need to. I must begin to pay better attention to the warning signs or these things will keep happening and I will keep hurting myself and I will keep feeling that loathsome guilt.
I’m not sure how to go about letting go of more. I don’t want to let go of more. How much slower can my life possibly get? How much more dull? I’m 45 years old but I am living like I am 75. Most of the time, I opt for gratitude. I know my life is still pretty sweet but once and awhile, like now for example, I have just a little moment of rage. It passes and I know this one will too but for now, I am just going to accept it as part of the process of life with a broken tired body.
When I am done with my moment, I will put it away along with the guilt and anxieties and I will figure out how to cope. I will overcome my angst about the unfinished and never ending “To do” list and I will gain a better appreciation for what I have instead of what I lost because I know despite the frustrations that I sometimes feel, my life is pretty sweet.