I'm feeling blue these days. My hip is acting like an inflamed joint according to Marcus the Master Manipulator. I've been avoiding doing anything that hurt in the gym in an effort to reduce the inflamation. It doesn't seem to have done much good. My range of motion is expanding, and that's a good thing. My strength and stamina and pain are about the same.
That's right, pain. I'd stopped using the word for a while. The memory of the real pain that I felt in the hospital and those first months at home was still fresh in my mind. But now, two-thirds of the way through my first year of living with perforations, I'm willing to concede that the sharp, stabbing sensation radiating from my mid-thigh up and down every nerve ending within synaptic distance... it's pain.
I'm taking Aleve; cycling off it just makes me hurt more. Acupuncture has been wonderful in releasing some of the tightness and bunching up feeling that has defined that hip joint since Dr. Boaz and his team put it back together again. Yes, I'm feeling a bit like Humpty Dumpty..... all broken and unable to be pieced back together again.
And then the phone rang. Would I speak on camera about the book that Gabby and her husband are writing? Was I aware that ABC had acquired the rights to producing a segment featuring the Congresswoman's rehabilitation? Did I have feelings about the book?
And suddenly it's all in perspective again. I'm not feeling sorry for myself because Christina-Taylor didn't get to go to NYC last weekend. Just typing the sentence makes me realize how self-indulgent that could easily become. Spending two or three days mourning our loss, TBG and I can handle that just fine. But we are trying to keep it from overwhelming our lives, trying to maintain a balance between Christina's purple rubber bracelet on my wrist and the fact that the world is still rotating on its axis. It's all too easy to forget that part of it and wallow in the sad places.
Sure, my hip hurts and walking is a struggle and it may be a very long time, if ever, before I can hit the hiking trails again. All those things are bad and sad and awful and shouldn't have happened. But I'm not learning to talk again. I'm not searching for words. I don't have a Congressional District waiting for my return.
Gabby took a bullet to her brain and was back at work 7 months later. I'm abashed to admit that I'd lost touch with how powerful that was for me. I gave myself a good talking to that afternoon, reminding myself of the courage and strength it took to take a damaged body before the television cameras. I forced myself to focus on the smiles, on the hugs, on the raw emotion. This is hard and you did it! they seemed to say.
I took those feelings with me to the gym the next morning, to PT that afternoon, and to bed that night. If Gabby was willing to put herself out there, imperfect but striving, then what was my problem?
And now she's written a book and, as part of promoting it, she's given a piece to ABC. I know just how intrusive the cameras can be. I know how their reality often differs from my own. I know that I saw myself as feeble and dependent when others saw fortitude and spirit. I know that their mis-perceptions helped me to heal.
So I will change my blouse and fluff my hair and allow KGUN to take pictures of me talking about how, once again, Gabrielle Giffords inspires me. If she won't quit then neither will I.
Thanks, Gabby. I needed that.