It feels like a knife right in the center of my right foot.
Oh the joys of neuropathy.
Much of this past week was spent traipsing through hospital halls. Downstairs to surgery waiting. ICU waiting on the third floor, two people simultaneously in the third floor ICU. One in the telemetry section on the third floor. One in the pediatric oncology section on the fourth. One on the sixth.
Triple bypass heart surgery.
Follow-up surgery to removal of malignant lesions on a child’s lung.
Ulcerated stomach leaking stomach acids internally.
It puts the pain in my feet into perspective. On one level I was glad for that knife-like sensation in my right foot providing company to the usual pins and needles: it provides me with a link to the pain occupying those floors. During one of the visits, I had the opportunity to compare neuropathic notes with another cancer survivor. She’s been cancer free for seventeen years. And she still deals with neuropathic feet and hands.
This could be around for a while…
I purposely used the stairs during each visit, sometimes going up and down those stairs twice a day.
Perhaps it was denying the pain or rebellion against it. Perhaps it was accepting it, pressing into it.
And then I danced on it.
An all day dance workshop may not be the first choice of what to do when you have pain in your feet (nor the most aesthetically or visually appealing when it comes to me). It could have been an easy out, a pass to sit it out at home with a book. Actually, not a bad idea. But there’s a certain joy that comes to my wife’s face when I play with her like this that makes it hard to pass up. And then there’s that stubborn refusal to yield and be sidelined by pain.
And then I get a call from someone who’s nine-year-old child has been walking out the aftermath of brain surgery following the discovery of a tumor. We’re seven years into that walk with our daughter, this family just over four months. I feel that knife in my foot several times as I pace back and forth outside in the warm August sun, listening to a mother’s heart, sharing my own.
I can dance on this.