Chronic Pain, Vacation, Hope and Trees

In my 20’s going on vacation was a spontaneous and easy thing to do; toss a bag together, jumped in a car and off we went. It started to get more complicated when the kids came. I had to plan for diapers, wipes, food, bottles and all the tons of extra stuff that come with a very small human being. How one tiny 20 lb thing can generate so much laundry and need so much equipment, has never ceased to amaze me. Now, I have to plan for pain management, pain spiral, pain spiral, etc. not to mention the food, clothes, activities and other items for general survival.

Our trip last month to the States was ok, but I didn’t even know if I could go until the last-minute. If I didn’t have my medication, I wouldn’t or couldn’t have gone. My husband would worry about me. The kids would have to explain why their Mother isn’t there again. I would have missed meeting all the cousins I hadn’t met yet. My Dr. pulled through at the 11th hour and I could go.

On the trip I had to pace myself. I had to position myself in certain ways, have the bedtime of the older kids. I couldn’t go in the water with my kids and had to sit in a chair with my hot water bottle. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun. I loved being around all the cousins. I didn’t have a lot of family around growing up, I am thrilled that my girls have such a wonderful extended family. I just didn’t want to be the cripple in the corner. The one to stop any activities from happening, because it hurt too much. I look normal making it  hard for children to understand what is wrong with me. The best part of this trip was I did a 10 hour car ride one way, 10 hour car ride back and I didn’t have a pain spiral. That was a huge coup.

We are going to a Cottage; boat access only and that large boat takes about 20-30 minutes to get to the destination. Once we are there I am not able to easily access milk or bread, let alone a 911 call. I will be alone with my girls up there for the first time. This is a BIG deal. I feel like a teenager with a curfew extension.

Georgian Bay has always been my healing place. So many major things happened to me there, some good some bad. No matter what, though, once I set foot in the Harbour, I am home. Something about the mix of the pink and green lichen covered rocks with permanently tilted pine trees and the deep green/blue water brings me peace. I take a deep breath and it is like I get bathed in calm.

The trees in Georgian Bay have always given me hope. My life has been somewhat of a Oprah series, I am serious too. When I hit the Bay, I feel like everything will be alright. I don’t know fully the reason, but the trees have been an inspiration to me.

 There is a ridge in the solid rock, in that ridge some pine needles and dirt get stuck. The rain comes and there is a little pond of water and muck. The sun shines on the water and some algae develops, it looks like a mini Shrek pool. Fall comes and some dead Maple leaves fall in there, with more Pine Needles and debris.

At some point  a seed  gets planted. A tiny seedling sprouts in that muck. Even with  harsh winds, cold, snow, winters, rains and animals, that seedling survives and thrives. Over time that tree gets bigger, taller and stronger. The wind is so strong and consistent the branches go the direction the wind blows the most.

The tree does not fall. It grows big and strong and is on  what seems the flimsiest of bases. How do the roots take hold and support such a huge thing in a hostile environment? Looking at them, you would never guess the roots run along the surface of the rocks. It gives me hope.

To the human eye, it is impossible to notice the growth or change it is so incremental. However, when I look at a Family Portrait from about 1915 the rocks look barren and naked. Compare that to now and the brush is very tall and there are many more trees along the rocks.

I would like to compare my improvement with those trees. The change will be incremental and slow, I need patience. It is not my strong suit. No matter how many Dr.’s tell me “I don’t have time for a patient like you” or “This is your life, you are just going to have to live with it”, I will not believe them. I may grow crooked and warped. I may have a wierd foundation on which to get healthy, but I will get strong again. Before you know it, I will be able to throw a bag together, hop in that car and go wherever I want.


4 thoughts on “Chronic Pain, Vacation, Hope and Trees

  1. Have a wonderful vacation with the girls! Your trip to the states at least afforded you some fun time with your family even if you weren’t able to actively participate.

    I loved your analogy about the trees on Georgian Bay and your own healing process! I think that folks with chronic pain need to find imagery that helps to manage or “fix” the pain.

    I think of my favourite beach, walking along then standing with my back to the shore, toes dug into the sand, and letting the waves run up over my feet. The shifting sand as it runs out from under my feet with the seawater is my metaphor for healing: the pain is leaving my body through my feet and toes; washing out into the ocean to be diffused in all that water. The next wave in brings good, postive energy towards me, and takes away the bad, the painful, the unbearable.

    I look forward to hearing about your trip! I will be sending you good thoughts and hugs!

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