"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Going Slow

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.


Terri Tiffany said...

Wisdom! I am trying to go slower in a lot of areas of my life.
I love my chiropractor too:)

MangoPeanut said...

Thank you for this. You've said so much I can relate to and it's all true and helpful. I always want to move faster and it never seems to help!

Wanda..... said...

What's the saying...Slow and Steady Wins the Race! I tend to walk fast, especially when in exercise mode, but I see so much more when going slow on my walks in the woods. Slow makes me aware!

Wanda said...

"That stopped me in my wobbly..."

I stopped there and thought it was genius!

No neck craning. That will just move the pain up.

Like I told Kario...pain sucks.

LauraX said...

Slowing down will expand time...this has been my experience anyway. I'm so happy that you found someone to help with the pain...with ALL of the pain...this is a doorway to much more than healing your hip, Deb.

yaya said...

I'm so glad you've found a wonderful Chiro! Of course, if you lived in my town the world's greatest Chiro is here...that would be my Hubby! I love when people find out that Chiropractic is a wonderful life style for your body. I feel so fortunate to have one near by...I guess I could tell people I sleep with my Chiro, but that would be a bit much! It does start from the inside out and so many patients want results in a snap. We're such a "take a pill" society, make the pain go away now, get back on the fast track, etc.. So enjoy this slow down, reconnect with your body, your mind, your soul..and that could be the best "adjustment" ever!

She Writes said...

Going slower will get you there faster should be a motto for life. My motto. I am going to try and steal it.

Retired English Teacher said...

Wow. Are you sure you and I are not related? We have so much in common. I found all of what you said helpful and informative.

Isn't interesting that after a loss such as we have suffered that we see it expressed in our bodies? I know the physical pain that I have been in also.

Take it slow Deb. Follow the advice. You are fortunate to have found such a healer. I know you must believe that you must hurry to get things done, but perhaps, the lessons that you will learn and the gem of truth that you might discovered would have been missed if you were in a hurry.

kario said...

Oh, my. I am glad that Kathleen has led you here and am sympathizing with your new diet - I, too, am off coffee for a bit and am missing it terribly.

I'll be thinking of you in your new, slower mode and hoping that it slows life down enough for you to slurp up every delicious moment before school starts in the fall.


deb said...

I've had to let go of my garden maintenance business, a late blooming early retiring example of the need to go slower.

let yourself heal .... it matters.

Barb said...

"Going slower will get you there faster" - what great advise! I gave up coffee a few months ago after drinking it (strong and black) since I was a child. I still have the occasional cup, but really (surprisingly) don't miss it (much). Anti-inflammatories are so important - fish oil and Vit. D are also in my daily routine. You've hit the jackpot with the new chiropractor. Grief can also cause the body to go into inflammation mode - as I'm sure you're aware.

Teresa aka JW said...

Coffee? For real?

Take it easy and I mean it!!

Jerri said...

Oh, Deb. Reading your post, I felt the pain of it -- not just in your hip but in your heart.

Inflammation is a protective response, an over-reaction to a perceived problem that generally does not exist or at least not yet. It's fascinating that you've connected the inflammation to your return to teaching.

Your clarity lights the way for so many of us. Thank you.

Lorna said...

So glad you are getting the healing direction you need and I love that bit of wisdom. Wondered how yoga was affecting the hip? I have only discovered coffee last fall, and now drink a cup a day, to clear the middle age brain fog. I hope I stay uninflamed long enough to drink it through menopause, lol. But who knows what the universe has planned? Just like with your teaching in the fall...I heart your desire for freedom as well. That's why I've prolonged working for now. Only I don't have a book in the works; so I hope that brings unforeseen blessings for you!

Pam said...

As a person who had long-term pelvic instability and a difficult sacro iliac area, I never related the inflammation and emotional upset connection as a chemistry before. Only knew that it all 'just happened', almost as a fallout factor with stress.
You've had such a huge knock to your psyche Deb its no wonder your body is reacting the way it is.
Take care, and yes, go slow. It sounds like you are in good hands.Sending you love.

Anonymous said...

Your chiropractor is a wise woman.

Linda Myers said...

Good old SI joint. My chiropractor and my massage therapist have advised me to move more and to stretch and stretch more. How fortunate you have found a wise chiro to help you.

Donna said...

It's good when you find the right person for the ailment!
Just a side note though...if this does not go the way you want, you might be a candidate for a total hip. These folks do very well and are finally pain free! I can tell you are a more holistic person perhaps but this could be an answer for you. No matter what, good luck...hope it resolves quickly!!!

Charlene: the Polarblogger said...

When I was young, my brother and I used to recite the quote "Haste makes waste" and "Slow but sure." These are indeed wise sayings.
Your experience provides insight on that kind of ailment and inspiration for those who suffer from that disorder. Thanks for your heartwarming blog.
I hope that you will get the healing that you need soon. This Bible text has comforted many during their illness: Psalm 41:3. You may check it out if you have time.

Stacy Crawford said...

Sounds like the fable Tortoise and the Hare. Slow and steady wins the race.

My husband and I talk of this often, we are in such a hurry to get to the next step in life that we are wishing life away.

Live each moment, enjoy life as it comes. Hope this approach works well for you.

Katie Gates said...

Wow, Deb. I glommed onto the line the first time you wrote it: "Going slower will get you there faster." And then you repeated it, so clearly the theme. Reminded me of two things:
(1) the title of a Henry Miller collection: "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird"
(2) when I was a waitress in NYC at a busy lunch-rush place that served burgers in baskets, we waitresses -- on our way from the bar to our stations -- always passed by the line of people waiting for tables and booths. Joanie, our wonderful manager, once told me that when I would pass by, customers would invariably say, "Don't put us in her station. She's slow." To which Joanie would reply, "She's the best waitress here."
...Sometimes, what appears to be fast (the other waitri, in this example) is deceiving.
...Sometimes, what appears to be slow is the most efficient journey from point A to point B.

Enjoy your journey, Deb, and don't worry about the time it seems to take!

Amber said...

Jerri said just what I was thinking! Inflamation, being almost a "protective" response of our souls speaking through our body... I know this because all my life I have had it, and allergy reactions--same reaction.
Have you ever listened to Mona Lisa Schultz on Hay House?

I am sure your body has been trying to protect you, lately.


Midlife Jobhunter said...

Oh, Catbird. What we have to go through sometimes to get where we want to go. Or where our new destination may be. Will you be working full-time in the fall?

Do take your time. Your losses are very new. Be kind to yourself and snuggle under the covers a little longer. Rest that hip and that lovely soul.

Linda Hoye said...

"Going slower to get there faster." Those are words of wisdom if I ever heard them! I am trying to go slower in my life too.

Carol............. said...

Ahhh, I needed your post today. My chiropractor has also given me major advice regarding my (incurable but manageable) neck problem and slowing down a bit was part of it.

Glad you have a handle on things and a chiropractor that you trust.

I started Acupuncture last week and was scared to death...which turned out to be nothing at all!

Now about that coffee.......... hmmmmmm LOL

Kathryn Magendie said...

I understand that about protecting the pain (in many ways you said) because my gait is off too - my right leg shorter because my spine is out of whack and my hip is higher - I'll not even realize I'm limping until someone, usually GMR, says "you are limping . . ." or I'll see in my snow prints how my right foot is dragging some.

But give up coffee - no no! I darenst! As healthfully as I eat, as much as I run (and yes, even with my pain problems - in fact, I think it helps more than hurts), and yoga, and resistance training - with all that I don't eat because I am a "healthy eater" - with things I deny myself (sigh) in the food world - coffee I am not willing to give up.

I think it has it's benefits! It's place . . . in my gullet every morning :-D -

HOwever, all that said, I'll be curious to see if it helps ....

(I love the metaphor of this post)

Tabitha Bird said...

Yes indeed! Sometimes slow is really fast. I am still learning this one.

Patti Lacy said...

Deb, not only do you write killer prose, you capture themes, moods, and wisdom in a BLOG post!

Yesterday in my memoir class out at Luther Oaks Retirement Village, I was trying to say this very thing.

Where were you when I needed you?:)

May God set in his pacer car a perfect rhythm and speed for YOU.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful advice, "Just remember, going slower will get you there faster" The tortoise versus the Hare indeed!I will keep this in mind as I go about my week.
I am not a big coffee drinker, tea is my preferred beverage but knowing how normal coffee can make my own brain race, I can quite see how suddenly being deprived of it could confuse!So glad you seem to have found the healer you have been looking for - be patient and don't strain your neck!

Carrie Link said...

Such wisdom in what she said!

Kathryn Grace said...

Love that: Slow will get you there faster.

I too have had to give up a BIG coffee habit to reduce near-crippling pain in my hip and both legs. On days I give in and have a cup or two, first I relish it, later I pay, especially in the night, when the pain refuses to let me sleep.

You suggest a correlation between Kathleen's death and the pain's refusal to be distracted or abate. Not surprising, if what a trusted healer once told me is true: Women--we right-handed women, who carry our babies on our left hips--commonly suffer pain in the left hip after forty. She attributed it, in part, to unresolved issues around our children, as well as to the imbalance fostered in our spines and gait.