Hour One


You wake up.  As your mind slowly releases the fog of slumber, you become dimly aware of things: numbness in your legs, your shoulders, the lower part of your back.  The more wakeful you become the more that numbness converts to pain.  You transition into full awareness, staring up at the ceiling as you mentally prepare yourself for the full onslaught of sensation you know is coming.  You tally the things you need or want to do for the day, wondering which ones you’ll get done, which ones will be worth “pushing through the pain.”  You momentarily question if life is even worth living like this…

You sit up. Pain surges through your joints and your spine, renewing its hated relationship with you for another day. You fight back the tears of pain and frustration. You fight against the desire to fall back into bed, curl up in your warm blanket, and pretend that the world doesn’t exist.  Your will is iron and you force yourself past the pain and anxiety, knowing this will be only the first of so many struggles today.

You cling to the nearby furniture, using it as leverage to get to your feet.  The pain is excruciating, you draw a deep breath and courage from somewhere deep inside.  The first step, your knee nearly buckles and you stagger, praying to whatever power might be listening that you don’t fall.  Fear grips you for those uncertain seconds, but it passes and you carry onward.  It’s a hobbling, panicked race to the bathroom, pee or pain, who will win?

You make it, barely. Relief wars with frustration. You don’t feel like you’re living an adult life anymore. You’re dependent on things and other people to remotely come close to some pale semblance of normal.  More gripping of the furniture as you make your way back across the room.  For a moment, you debate a bath, but you can’t get into or out of the tub without help. You don’t want to wake up your spouse, so you forego it nobly in order to not be a nuisance.

The journey across the room is a haze of pain-induced waddling. What takes normal people seconds, takes you minutes. Until, at last, you flop gracelessly onto the couch in the living room with a grimace.

This is just the first hour of your day.  How many more are there to go?

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