I’ve been very glad to come across a couple of writers recently, CJ Cherryh is one, who have said that it is really difficult to think of the next sentence when you have pain shooting up the side of your neck. It’s nice to know I am not alone in not posting because I’ve been hurting. In one of the strange twists out there in the world, writing about one’s impairments is supposed to be therapeutic for the sufferer and for their audience. I’ve not found that to be so. When I feel up to engaging with the world, the last thing I want to do is wallow about in my various morbidities. However, since dealing with them does affect my ability to function, I’ve decided some brief explanation is in order.
My life long bout with chronic pain began one afternoon in 1959 when I was about a year old. This was long before car seats for children, and my mother was driving with my two older sisters in the back seat of the car and me standing in the front passenger seat. In my mother’s words: ‘I drove up to the stop sign, saw a truck coming and drove out in front of it.’ As a seriously dysfunctional family, we did not discuss the accident. And we certainly did not even approach why my mother gave up her favorite drink- Jack Daniel’s whiskey- afterwards.
At any rate, the car was broadsided, my sisters were tossed about in the back seat and my mother miscarried as her pelvis was cracked. I was thrown out the open side window to land on my head on the pavement. I was a very poor patient once I got to the hospital and spent my time screaming and jumping up and down in the crib. My father’s parents took me home, raccoon eyes from the bleeding inside my skull and all, after the nurse had scolded them for picking me up once too often.
What I remember is my grandfather singing to me and calling me through the pain and darkness into warm golden healing light. That was my first experience of the healing power of love and sound. This was also long before MRI’s and CAT scans . As it turns, out my skull was shattered, my back was broken, and my liver and spleen were ruptured. In retrospect, I truly should have died. I am not sure how many toddlers with that severe of injury live now even with all of modern technology and emergency medicine. So even if the family was silent, I had an ongoing conversation with my body.
Fast forwarding a few years, even though my mother’s alcoholism was restrained to beer, it still resulted in divorce and all of the statistical issues associated with single alcoholic mothers, which happened to include a welfare dentist busy scamming Medicaid by filling every molar on every welfare child that came into his office with the cheapest possible filling material. The cheaper the fillings, the higher the percentage of mercury. Mercury must be handled as a toxic substance before it is put into your teeth, and whenever it is taken out. But by some miracle of bureaucratic thinking, it is not a toxin when it is in your mouth. My brothers were young enough to still have their baby teeth,so their teeth and toxic fillings promptly fell out. However I just was old enough to have every single one of my brand new adult molars filled with cheap mercury fillings.
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