The Gift of Pain
by Beth Kozan
As soon as my feet hit the floor last Wednesday, I knew that something was different. An involuntary yelp left my lips as my left heel came down on the floor tiles. I was fully awake as pain charged through my foot. Bones out of place?
But there was no time for dillydallying. We had medical appointments that had taken weeks to arrange. No time for breakfast; we’ll get that later. We got a close-up parking place, and we both limped into the building, glad we didn’t have to walk far.
While we waited to be seen, I called for an emergency appointment with my doctor. Once we finished with our first doctor visit, we sailed down the freeway to her office. She adjusted the bones in my foot and recommended another foot pad be added to my orthotic. Then on to another appointment for Elliot.
More appointments, more miles to drive. I dropped Elliot at the next appointment and waited at the place we’d arranged. It was taking longer than usual, but I had my phone, and I caught up on emails. Then I saw him in a wheelchair, with a teenager wheeling him toward the parking lot. As I joined in behind them (I couldn’t keep up!) I saw there was also an older man with them. Felix and his grandson, Miguel, had noticed Elliot sitting outside where I’d left him; they circled around and asked if he needed help. “You got a wheelchair?” asked Elliot. They found one and surprised Elliot by wheeling him to the car.
Back home, my foot pain escalated, and I found myself feeling resentful of everything that Elliot expected me to do: make his supper, get him ice cream, make him a cup of cocoa, hook up his oxygen. Every step I take hurts; I am so tired, and yet I can’t muster a tear. I am aware of how vulnerable we are; I can’t get sick.
When I finally slowed down and looked back over our day, I understood that my pain made me hypersensitive. I understand a little better why he is grumpy, because he is in constant pain, too.
I ease up, and take time for the Gift of Pain.
Beth Kozan is the author of the book Adoption: More Than by Chance and the forthcoming Helping the Birth Mother You Know. Beth worked in adoption for 35 years and retired to write. She has many more books than these titles to write and will emphasize and explore the concept of community in her additional books. “Growing up in a close agriculture-based, rural community in Texas, I felt the comfort and bonds of caring for others which is often missing in our busy lives today. Exploring and building communities for today is my writer’s goal.” Follow Beth on Facebook or visit her website, where she reviews books and films featuring adoption.