Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.



This is what $550 in Suburu bumper damage looks like

On the way home a month ago, in one of those terrible evening commutes, I was rear-ended.

The Bang! surprised me more than anything at first. I noticed the affect on my body within minutes, which increased for days, staying at a 6/7 level*  for a few more days, and leveling down to the 4/5 range.

I was lucky. Wretched traffic means the other driver was going no more than 20 miles per hour.

His 1998 Suburu Forester, white, hit my 1998 Suburu Outback, also white. Very evenly matched bumpers. He was a  little uphill and my insurance recommends that his insurance pay to have my bumper replaced.

It did not make my back any worse, permanently, but the past month has been a big old less in patience. My general pain level has been in the 4/5 range, which is the point at which the pain becomes fatiguing I've been reminded. A 3 and I'm pretty much golden, and have been enjoying being that way for over a year!

metta. metta. metta.

My physical therapist assessed things and indicated that I had no movement in my spine or ribs for a few weeks. I was also directly by my physician to stay off my shoulders for a few weeks (things a yogini hears!) and to not teach for at least a few weeks.

metta. metta. metta.

Things are starting to move again my physical therapist said tonight. I've taught a handful of slower classes with no weight bearing on the arms. Even being on hands-and-knees is quickly fatiguing and painful. My students don't seem to mind having somewhat more restorative classes and teaching is good for my brain.

Next week is OSCON and I've finally bought a small, rolling bag to move my laptop, hoodie, snacks & water around. Although I have a very light laptop, even carrying half the weight of it makes me ache. I'm trying to see it as a tool and not a defeat.

metta. metta. metta.

It is so frustrating to have a relapse, to be reminded just how delicate a balance my pain management is. Yep, a big opportunity for all kinds of practice.

metta. metta. metta.

I am also profoundly grateful for many things. My car is sturdy, well-maintained, and in need of only cosmetic repairs. My friends who continue to help me pick up and move things. My encouraging wife (always). My flexible job that accommodates a rush of appointments for bodywork to recover more rapidly. That I have three highly skilled bodywork professionals who care for me and who have found many additional appointments for me, they've also just billed insurance directly so I don't have to fund all these unplanned appointments.

*Levels of pain: Commonly used in the treatment of people with chronic pain. You are asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain ever). It helps gauge things and quantify "pain".

When I was first diagnosed my pain was in the 8 range often, with severe spasms that would literally take my breath away and knock me down (10s). It leveled down to the 7/8 range, which was like living in a grey fog of "ouch". By the time it hit 5/6 I was grateful.

The past 18 months or so, with the assistance of a lot of body work and yoga, the pain hovers in the 3/4 range with some days in a 2/3 range. These is when I feel like I'm "normal" again. It is pretty easy to become attached to less pain!

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