Rear Window

Time for another fireside chat, euphemistically speaking. The heat I’m feeling is not the breath from my Dragon, the speech recognition software I am currently using, but from the sun burning through my window. After several days of cold, rain, and wind, the sky is temporarily clear and the sun is scorchingly hot. For the first time in my life, I feel inclement weather in my bones and muscles, in increased pain. But ah, with the sun comes a better outlook and acceptable levels of pain, if there is such a thing. (This reminds me of an incident that happened in the hospital after my first wrist surgery. The nurse asked me what my goal was for the day. I said, “You mean like running a marathon?” She said, “No. Regarding your pain.” I responded, of course, that I wanted zero pain. The nurse laughed. I still don’t understand why the laugh. Isn’t that what we all want, zero pain?)

I’ve always tried to take care of myself, augmenting fairly good genetics with supplements, healthy foods, and exercise, so I have not had to deal with a lot of excruciating pain except for occasional ailments. The thought of having to live with chronic pain is daunting, especially because the pain came in an instant. One moment I was fine — happy, healthy, and relatively carefree — and the next moment I was on the ground screaming in pain. And now nothing will ever be the same. I’m planning on doing whatever I can to gain a painless existence, but that will always laughably be a forlorn hope. I have already reached the age where small aches are a daily occurrence and healing a painstaking matter. However, after yesterday’s weather-induced agony, today’s sunny prognosis is a real blessing, and it assures me that there is hope no matter how forlorn.

One of the many benefits of modern medicine, or so I always thought, was the ability to remove physical pain from our lives, but I am learning that many of the miracle drugs merely take the edge off the pain. In itself, that’s a good thing, but it still leaves behind one heckuva lot of unpleasantness. Perhaps, in the end, I won’t have to deal with as much unpleasantness as the orthopedic surgeon claims I will. Perhaps I will find a way to turn off my reaction to the pain so that it’s just another sensation. Perhaps I will learn to heal myself. Perhaps a lot of things. All I know is that today, sitting here in the sun, staring out the rear window, I feel pretty damn good.

In the early days of my incarceration in this room, I’d look out the window and muse that this must be the absolute worst performance ever of the movie Rear Window because, unlike Jimmy Stewart, I couldn’t see much of anything. Cars in the mid-distance. Cactus close in. But no murderous folk. No folk at all for that matter. But today it makes no difference that I can’t see anything happening outside that window. All that matters is that inside, by the window, my life is happening.

It’s been nice chatting with you. I hope you are also having a relatively pain-free day.

The watercolor below is my most recent offering, an almost obscenely cheerful and optimistic image, and way out of character!

20170112_153837-1_resized

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”) Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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4 Responses to “Rear Window”

  1. leesis Says:

    I had to laugh at the Nurses response Pat. As a nurse these are some things we know about pain. 1. We are not very good at turning off the pains system given it covers every nerve of the body. 2. The pain meds we do have cause mental confusion and long term side effects of addiction that can devastate whole lives. 3.People think Western medicine is much more capable than it is.

    Fact is as a nurse I often ask clients “what pain level can you tolerate out of 10”. Usually they stare in shock that I’m suggesting they have to tolerate any and then we have a long discussion about realities and I offer them as much support as I can as the adjust to such realities. Then we find the line between manageable and intolerable for the individual.

    The other hope though is properly accredited acupuncturists and chinese herbalists have much more success with chronic conditions than Western medicine. Might be worth a shot after the acute phase of healing is over.

    Love ya paintings!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thanks for the suggestion about acupuncture. I might need to try it. I’m hoping that once I’m healed as much as I’m going to be that otc topical pain relievers will help.

      It is a shock to learn how meager some of modern painkillers are. The one thing I used to be grateful for was the idea that if pain ever got unbearable, there was a recourse, but I learned a long time ago that they don’t do much for me.

  2. Coco Ihle Says:

    Ahhh, this is a good day! LOVE this painting!!!! Enjoy the sun!


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