Wednesday, January 26, 2011
My new chiropractor was walking me out to the front desk, noticed how I was walking, and stopped to give me one last bit of homework. "You're throwing your hip," she said. "Let that right leg push back."
I'd just spent one of the most amazing hours I've ever experienced in the presence of a healer. The right side hip area pain that's been my regular companion for over two years now had reached the point where I couldn't walk anywhere without limping. Clerks in stores would stop me and ask if I was alright.
The pain would ebb and flow, even stay away for short periods of time, but never left completely. In the weeks since Kathleen's death it has moved in to stay, refusing to be distracted or appeased or calmed. I hurt. All the time.
I found Susan in the sort of roundabout way that made it clear she was exactly where I was meant to be. From the moment she walked into the adjustment room, the air was filled with her gentle chatter. She's a chiropractor, but started by wanting to know about my psoriasis, and from there went into a discussion about fish oil and inflammation. Before she'd even seen me stand or asked about my pain, she was writing down homework for me.
Her focus on inflammation was the final confirmation I was in the hands of the healer I'd been praying for. I've know for a while there was a connection between the psoriatic arthritis in my hands, and the inflamed SI joint that has me walking like Chester from Gunsmoke. When she started talking about coming at the inflammation from all angles, including the inside out, I nearly laughed. In early December I had done research on anti-inflammatory diets, but never got farther than thinking it might be a good idea for me to try.
As she showed me how she wanted me to walk, I said, "That would mean I'd have to slow down - a lot. I don't know if I can do that."
She reminded me I've been protecting that pain for so long, my whole gait is wrong, and I'm going to have to retrain that leg. "It's good you want to walk," she said. "That will help loosen things up. Just remember, going slower will get you there faster."
That stopped me in my wobbly, and by that time very tired, tracks. Going slower to arrive faster. I know she meant the healing of my leg, but I heard so much more. I have to return to the classroom in the fall - have known since Thanksgiving. The time between now and then seems beyond precious to me - my last months of freedom to finish my book, enjoy the solitude, find whatever healing I can. I've felt like I needed to fill every second of every day with meaning and productivity so as not to waste a bit of my time. In a hurry, needing to move faster than the calendar.
"Going slower will get you there faster."
And just in case I didn't quite get the message: I'm now eating anti-inflammatory foods as part of the inside out approach to my pain. Coffee is not on the list of permissible foods. I love coffee and have started my day with two or three cups, with cream in recent years, for most of my adult life. Slow seems to be the only speed I'm capable of today. My brain is muddled and trying to figure out what happened. The cup of organic decaf I was allowed this morning seemed like coffee, but the results were nothing like what coffee usually delivers.
Since I can only do slow, and have a date with ice every two hours, I'm going slow today. Trying not to crane my neck too hard toward the future to see if I am in fact getting anywhere I want to be faster.