Sigh, I’m in my late thirties and I’ve had a rough couple of years.  Fatigue and pain to name a few.  Nothing critical per se, only frequently losing the ability to run around with my kids because of constant aching.  I, like many, assume it’s old age and everything will eventually fail. This just happens with growing older.  This makes me hope for a really, early retirement.  As if retirement is the panacea for aches and pains.

One of my fellow nurses was raving about her diet and exercise program and how she went from constantly feeling sluggish to just “feeling great all the time.” I asked how that was possible and she said, “I don’t know, I just get up in the morning full of energy.” She’s older than me and has way more kids. Why am I suffering? Maybe this drudgery isn’t inevitable.

The next day I had a strange interaction with a physical therapist during a conference.  She asked for a volunteer and I raised my hand.  She was explaining how to assess for malalignment in our patient population.  As she described how to examine me to the class, she leaned in and said, “do you have a lot of pain?  You are completely off.”  I squeaked, “yes, all the time.” She said, “I will help you after class.” The feeling of hope was unbelievable. I patiently waited for the end of the lecture. She said my hips were uneven, which put me in a constant state of asymmetry. I thought my hips were fine. It’s my shoulder and neck that cause me to lay awake at night.   I always bring my “special pillow” when I travel to help reduce the pain.  I also have a picture of a sad guy with a throbbing shoulder taped to my computer monitor.  Sad guy reminds me to take deep breathes and try to relax my left shoulder down.  It wasn’t until this weekend that I realized that this ailment was affecting all areas of my life, yet I haven’t tried to seek help. I just assumed this was the natural progression of aging.  I even saved my money a little harder thinking, “I’m only going to get worse with age, gotta retire ASAP.”  

The sweet PT tried her best to push on things and “recalibrate” me.  She even said, “I can’t believe you are functioning like this.” Honestly, that made me feel like a super hero, I felt better for about an hour after she pulled and pushed on me but now lying in bed I’m back to my miserable baseline. I will say that meeting her may have been the best thing that has happened to me in recent months.  Being a nurse that refuses to seek medical treatment, like most nurses do, I’ve decided that I am going to make an appointment on Monday morning to at least try to figure this out.  There is not enough money in the world that can ease chronic pain.  If you are living a working life that is harming your health, it’s not worth it.  If you are working long hours and not making time to eat healthy, exercise or take care of yourself, it’s not worth it.  It will eventually catch up with you.       

Immense Gratitude: This PT could have finished her lecture without a word and sent me hobbling away.  Instead, she said, “let me try to help you, you’re miserable.” She was sweet and showed true empathy for my suffering.  If we could all take a minute to give a little support to those struggling around us, the world would be a much more tolerable place. Don’t wait for retirement to do good in the world now.  Find moments in others’ lives when you can help them or at the very least listen to their sorrows. 

Be a good human.

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