Tuesday, September 13, 2011


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.


  1. You too, my friend are an inspiration to many of us (myself most certainly included) out here who also have severe, chronic pain (from an auto accident) that will last for the rest of our lives and PTSD from horrific experiences & memories (a violent childhood sexual & physical assault{rape}) that will haunt our day times and night times forever as well.

    Some of my repressed memories were from over 30 years ago and I have to say that reading your posts on your recovery on a daily basis have been a true inspiration to me as I continue to put the past in perspective and move forward with my life. Thank you for your honesty, your courage and fortitude to persevere...Thom

  2. I agree, you are an inspiration to many of us. When there were days you wanted to hide under your blanket and not crawl out of bed, you did it. Hold your head high and be proud of your progress. I keep thinking about what John's comment to you about how CT would not want any of you to be sad. She also wouldn't want you to wallow away and not get out and enjoy life.

    Every time you feel sad or not wanting to do PT, remember that there are many of us cheering you on. Think about how far you have come. I saw the article with you in the garden and you were down on your knees. You couldn't do that months ago. I loved seeing you smile and doing what you love.

    Keep forging ahead.

    Megan xxx

  3. It is all about perception isn't it? Yes, you inspire and are inspired. And by being you, you are weaving an integral part of a web of uplifting thought and action. We're all in this together!

  4. You're an inspiration. I'm achy today, but so what. I get up and get moving. You do too and that's what matters.

  5. I understand how a seemingly chronic pain can wear on the nerves and how you pray for the time that it finally goes away.

    Yeah -- there is perspective here. It is good that you forge ahead when you consider what others have gone through and what they are doing. At the same time, we humbly acknowledge you pain to and give you our hearty kudos.


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