Phsyical Pain And Real Love

Katie Young
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Wednesday - January 25, 2006

The “Regular.” There’s nothing like a little bit of pain to help remind you of things you might take for granted.

The other day I was reminded of how nice it is to be able to just sit up straight in a chair. The muscles in my shoulder suddenly went into such spasm that I could hardly bare to sit up, or even lie down for that matter.

The only comfortable position seemed to be when I was sitting at a 45-degree angle with an ice pack on my back.

I thought maybe I had just slept funny, but the problem kept getting worse. Neither my massage therapist nor chiropractor seemed to be able to ease the pain that started at my neck, traveled to my shoulder and all the way down my arm.

I like to think I’m a strong person with a high tolerance for pain, and I dislike taking pills so much I thought I could just suffer through the agony and it would go away in a few days. But in a few days I was literally crying and screaming because not only was it excruciating, it was extremely frustrating not to be able to do all the normal things I wanted and needed to do. I couldn’t exercise, I couldn’t sit at my computer and do my work, I couldn’t even sit up at the kitchen table to eat a meal. The pain got so bad I finally decided to make a trip to the emergency room - my third visit to Straub’s E.R. in a year - and see if they could figure out what was going on.

“Are you a regular?” the woman at the E.R. check-in asked me.

I started to laugh and said, “You might as well call me that. This is the third time I’ve been to this emergency room in the last 12 months! First I came because I passed out from dehydration, then I came because I had some teeth go into my head and needed stitches and now this. “

She smiled at me and said, “No, I mean, are you a regular patient here at Straub?”

Well, that I was.

So anyway, I had to wait a good two-plus hours to get in to see one of the doctors so I passed the time by lying down on a bench outside because I couldn’t sit up in the waiting room chair. Then, when I got into the E.R., they were so busy, there weren’t any beds so I ended up in the only available space: a chair that looked like one you’d see at the dentist’s office. I couldn’t sit there either.

Anyway, long story short, I was forced to take some high doses of Motrin and pain killers just to get me to a specialist’s appointment four days later. It looks like I have more tests to take to see what the problem is and likely a road of physical therapy ahead of me, but I think this isn’t a permanent situation.

But for now, the pain is no better than it was two weeks ago and as I sit here typing from my 45-degree-angled chair in my living room, unable to be at my desk where I’d like to be, I am reminded on an hourly basis just how easy it is to take the little things for granted.

When can you tell? When can you tell that someone really loves you? My friend, Ella, posed this question to me the other day.

Ella was busy searching for clues that her beau of almost a year was in love. Ella couldn’t tell because he wasn’t a man of many words. And the words her new man did say had more to do with practical matters such as work, finances, the score of the game or plans for the weekend than actual emotions.

The problem, I told Ella, was that she actually had to ask me this question.

“You mean, you can’t tell?” I said to her over Sunday lunch at Kua ‘Aina at Victoria Ward Centers. “How can you not tell?”

“I don’t know,” she whined. “I think I know, but I just wish sometimes he would say something more, tell me how he really feels from his heart.”

“But that’s not how he is,” I told her. “You’re looking for him to be something he’s never been and likely never will be.”

Ella nodded in agreement, but I could tell she didn’t like my answer. She was still busy daydreaming that a man who really loved her would be able to change the very essence of his being. The unromantic man would suddenly start professing his love from the rooftops, making candlelit dinners and writing romantic poems.

I told her the bottom line was it was pointless to try to make her man something he wasn’t. He had proven, over time, that he is not the kind of guy who feels comfortable showing his love in those romantic ways Ella dreamed of. She had to be happy with how he showed his caring in other ways. She had to feel in her heart that he was good, devoted and sincere.

But I will give Ella this: In love, you cannot force someone to be something other than what they are or want to be. But when feelings are deep and true, they have been known to inspire people to unearth the romantic within and to go above and beyond seemingly normal acts of behavior for themselves.

We romantics dream of this kind of love. However, I think it’s rare and we shouldn’t discount all the many other ways there are in this world to show love and give love.

Changing it up. This is some advice for a good friend of mine who recently split from his long-term girlfriend and is feeling a little funky.

Every time Justin would walk into the home that the two of them shared together, everywhere he looked he saw reminders of a former life.

As some girls cut their hair to rid themselves of a bad break up, I told Justin it wasn’t practical for him to change apartments, so he had to make it seem like a new home: Paint the walls, get some new sheets and towels, pictures for the living room, even some new furniture.

Sometimes we all need to change around our living space to create a completely new view.

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