This blog post is by my very good friend, Stacey. It is about chronic pain, something I know all too well and I thank her for sharing. Follow her on Twitter at @ALHSMommy please.
Sixteen years ago, a man driving a pickup truck ran a red light and changed my life. I had just eased out into the intersection, when he slammed into the driver’s side door of the car I was driving, totaling my sedan. He walked around my car and talked to me while the firemen worked to free me from the wreckage of my car. After the police gave him a ticket for running a red light, he drove his truck away from the scene of the accident, completely uninjured, and I never heard from him again. His name is Jay Pickle and what follows is what I’d like to say to him.
Mr. Pickle, your one moment of careless behavior completely changed the course of my life. Perhaps you never think of that little mistake you made all those years ago. Most of the time, I don’t think about that day, but I deal with the consequences of your action every hour of every day. In the mornings, I get out of bed in pain, barely able to lift my arms or turn my head. I spend the first hour of every day stretching and soaking my body in a tub of hot water to get to the point I can function as a mother. I have all sorts of neat tricks to get me through a day of taking care of my children, too, and I’m very good at multitasking. For example, I can use an ice pack or a TENS unit while reading to my kids. Sure, it takes me twice as long as other mothers to do every little task. Certainly, I have to stop to rest in the middle of chores or lessons, but I still do it all. You ruined my back, but I didn’t allow you to ruin my life.
Yes, I have children, Mr. Pickle. The doctors were able to repair and save my uterus after you damaged it slamming into my car at 40 mph. My first baby was only six months old at the time. I thank God I had just dropped him off with my sister, because the crash completely ruined his car seat. You would have killed my baby. Six hard years later, and after surgery I was able to have another baby. Two years after that, a miracle happened and I had a third child. The doctors never thought that would be possible, but I am strong and determined, and I did it. The third pregnancy stressed my uterus to the point it could no longer be saved and in 2001, I finally gave in and had a hysterectomy. I am happy and fulfilled with the three children I have, but sometimes I get a yearning to have another baby. That will never happen. You took that option away from me.
With each passing year, my spine gets weaker and more deformed. There is a surgical option, but the risks that it could cripple me are too great. I’m not willing to risk it. So, I live in pain, every minute of every day. I no longer remember what it feels like to not be in pain. I give thanks for days when the pain is relatively mild and I use those days to catch up from the ones I spend barely making it through.
I wonder where you are, Mr. Pickle, and what kind of life you have had. I wonder if I ever cross your mind. I wonder if I’ll ever really forgive you.