Pain, as they say, is the medium through which we exist, both within and away from its grasp. A means to remind us of our frailty and mortality.
This came to me as I stared down at what was once my left leg: pale, reasonably muscular, and hairless from too many years wearing uniform pants that methodically wore the hair away. The leg now is multicolored, a collage of black, blue, yellow, and purple; the colors of the “blood under the skin” rainbow.
The cause of this multicolored rainbow occured at a baseball game where yours truly attempted to score on a sac fly from third base. On the third step I injured the Adductor Longus Muscle that runs from the pubic bone to the femur, or in the parlance of the game: I popped a groin muscle.
And you do feel a pop. You also feel a searing pain as though someone is running sharp fingernails along the nerve endings. It was at this point that I stoically flopped on the ground in agony.
The shocked and concerned third base coach, upon seeing me flop to the ground, advised me to get up and try to make it to home plate so I would not be tagged out. Through grit, determination, a lot of foul language, and a poor throw from the outfield, I heroically scored.
I also bled under the skin, fairly profusely, and later passed out, but that’s quibbling. We all have our moments.
Naturally, there was concern for my condition, and when it was determined I would not succumb to my injury, I had a beer, chili cheese fries, passed out, assured the Medic One guys I was ok, and went home.
To more agony.
Because wounds must heal. I could have gone to the Emergency Room and demanded all the opioids a man might need, but they do nothing for me, and given our national nightmare concerning opioid addiction, I worry, so I turned to ice packs and Tylenol. They helped, but there is an ache that dwells below the pain that is, to my mind, more insidious.
It is what remains after the pain meds do what they can do and it is what morphs into chronic pain, the ache that does not recede and walks with you during every agonizing step. It is what makes life less desirable far quicker than anything you might imagine especially as you age because you do not heal quicker when you get older.
For me, it is the mastery of the ache, the dull all consuming radiation throughout the body, that becomes the only important thing in life. Having foolishly injured myself too many times in the past, I know what’s coming. It is also at times like this that I am incredibly thankful I don’t have to deal with chronic illness and its attendant ache. Muscles and tendons heal, can be reattached, will, usually, return to a normal, whether new or old, condition. But to have that pain and ache to be a regular daily companion is not something I would wish on anyone.
©2019 David WIlliam Pearce