Old Body. New Light.

Right now, I don’t really know what to do with my body. I’m in a weird place, and I’m having to adjust how I move (literally) through the world.

I should probably explain. Wednesday, I had a large, painful, and disgusting abscess removed from my armpit. It was truly one of the most awful experiences I’ve had with my body. Pain in being touched. Pain in getting numbed. Pain in procedure. Pain in healing. Just…pain. Thankfully, the burning/itching I experienced yesterday has died down to almost nothing. I don’t feel nearly the amount of pain I did before. I’m healing. I’m grateful. I’m glad.

But for right now, I have this huge gauze pad on my arm and a wound that has been packed with medical gauze. I can’t move the way I normally can. This frustrates me. I’m used to being independent. Having my partner grab a heavy baking dish from the bottom of the shelf is new to me. Asking him to get something out of the oven when I *feel* complete is different. I just don’t know how to function in this body.

I’ve compared my actions with my left arm this week to T-Rexing. You know, big, able body, little, teeny, ineffective arms?


Try chopping an onion like that. Or showering.

Showering. I never knew how much I used my left arm until my range-of-motion diminished. This week, showering has been a disaster. I’ve been growing my hair out, so now there feels like so.much.hair to wash. I kind of sort of did my best yesterday, but it felt greasy. Today, I could actually reach up with my left hand and massage my scalp. Victory! I can wash my hair like a human being!

It feels weird to celebrate these small things, but then I think about the things I can do that someone else may never do in the same way. Or at all. I may temporarily have a T-Rex arm, but maybe someone else doesn’t have an arm at all. Or a leg. Or. I’m at least glad I am in an apartment with a kitchen and a stove and enough food to last me the week. And that I can now wash my hair without contorting my neck into a weird position so that my hair gets clean.

So maybe there is a lesson in all this. Maybe I’ve been taking myself for granted. That what I assumed was rightfully mine was really a gift. That not everyone has the opportunity or ability to do what I can normally do for myself. It’s a big and humbling thought.

I’ll be spending a bit longer (probably another week or two, depending on when I can get sutured, and then get those stitches removed) living like a Muppet. But in the meantime, I will appreciate the life that I have been given, the life I have now, and the life awaiting me when I “get better.”


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