C-C-C Coping

by Florence Ondré

Since I’ve fractured my foot and had to stay off it totally for over 2 weeks now and am looking at more like 4 weeks of being third base, I’ve been put to the test of humility. Humble pie has raged with pride and being in the position of having to ask for help with every little thing has been alternately hard as sharp nails and soft as loving touch.
There is no other way to say it than sandpapering the soul is most of the middle ground of this accident added to my spine disability.
Raised on a steady diet of you-can-do-it-for-yourself and if-you-don’t-do-for- yourself-no-one-else-will is still cemented in me like bedrock resisting the chisel.
As much as I know that in my disability, I am someone else’s turn to grow in giving and my own opportunity to balance my energy of giving with receiving, I still chafe against not being able and feel like a burden.
When I need something and have to call for help, hearing a groan, moan or umph of air expelled confirms my worst suspicions that no matter how loved I am, I am a pain in someone’s ass.
And the tenor of energy paving each tending to my task is as important as words which say, “I’m here for you. What do you need? How would you like that?” or “You’re asking too much. You have to have it done your way. Why didn’t you ask for that when I was in here the first time.”
To me, anything smacking of those last three is the SST straight to hurt and anger.
Getting my needs met with a snarl or a diatribe of discussion of an array of choices of how else the need can be met other than what I asked for, just adds insult to injury.
All that goes through my brain is, “What? Am I speaking a foreign language here? I don’t remember outsourcing to get a glass of water and an Advil!”
Today, I took yesterday’s quote by Christopher Morley, “Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water,” and I cried- several times- because it is hard and it hurts to be disabled and lack of compassion in communication adds to that hurt.
I get it that everyone’s needs will sometimes overlap and that sucks for the handicapped person in the can’t-do situation.
That pushes me past hurt to say, “Screw it!” and try to do the very things that will injure me more…like hobbling in pain and winding up smacking my fractured foot on whatever piece of furniture snags me instead of asking for assistance.
Just for today, or I should say moments in this day, a song from a broadway show entitled “It sucks to be me!” is rambling around my brain.
Will I get past this?
And I’ll still communicate forthrightly as plainly and straightforwardly as I can. No. I’m not shutting up or shutting down or making myself smaller in any way-even though I feel shrunken into myself often in this process of healing and hampering.
I’ll regain my sense of humor and positive attitude – after the pain of the project of showering like a flamingo on one foot; trying to be a magician getting the soles clean and cared for like an inflight contortionist.
But first, I’m gonna let the water out of the heavy clouds in my heart and cry.

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