The Closing of One Door and Opening of Another
“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.” – Henry Kissinger
I just walked away from my place of employment for the past nearly four years. The job search was initiated a few months before my federal grant position was scheduled to end: the downside to soft money positions.
It wasn’t hard to convince my coworkers that I would be okay professionally. After all, I have a great opportunity starting Monday, and there is nothing to stop me from returning in the future should the cards fall in line. Shamefully, I could not explain to everyone that requested future visits to see me well that I simply will never be “well” again. Yes, the wound will heal, but the CRPS will always lurk. In fact, we see its existence with every emotional outburst during wound care – rapid discoloration right in front of our eyes.
The Words that Never Form
“The real questions are the ones that obtrude upon your consciousness whether you like it or not, the ones that make your mind start vibrating like a jackhammer, the ones that you “come to terms with” only to discover that they are still there.” – Ingrid Bengis
You may ask yourself how I can open myself up to the electronic world but not my own coworkers. But you would be asking the wrong question. The question you should ask is why the sudden contraction of disclosure? I simply did not have the courage to disappoint my eager coworkers, who have watched me struggle with this disease since its diagnosis. One even emphatically invited me to her home in the future for dinner so that she can see my progression. The truth is progression from here will be sluggish. I’m not even certain how to explain my medical needs to my new employer.
After my third nerve block, I’ve been mostly pain-free other than those associated with learning how to walk again. I complained of new pain in the wound area on Wednesday during therapy but didn’t think too much of it; it is physical therapy after all. By Thursday night, any small brush would cause me to cry out in pain – especially my two compression socks. I could barely sleep through the night, as the sheets would slide across my foot, causing searing pain. It felt as if a thousand needles continuously poked around my wound area. In the midst of my evening’s crying session, I realized this condition was permanent. I mean, I’ve always known that it’s treatable, not cureable, but it never resonated with me until this very moment of utter despair. I spent all evening feeling sorry for myself, telling myself I would never beat this.
And then the sun rose, and although the pain was still very much present, I had been blessed with a new day and a new opportunity – the closing of one professional chapter with the opening of a new one and the chance to re-examine my moment of weakness. The pain was no less intense, but I had to remember life must continue. I know you’re reading this and internally saying this is easier said than done. I agree. Though, I have to say that after enduring all of those IVs, I gained a lot of mental strength (and ability to function on very little sleep).
Despite this sudden new spike in pain, I completed my final day at my now former job, immediately followed by physical therapy. Although we reduced the resistance on the stationary bike and the time spent on it, I completed all of my other regular routine. I even added two new “exercises”. I can now balance on my hurt foot on a trampoline – a big leap in progress!
The perfect example of how mental strength can push us past our perceived limitations.
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein