Thursday, November 15, 2007

L'essentiel est invisible pour les x-rays - Nov 15

On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. (Only with the heart does one see clearly. The essential is invisible to the eyes) - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Le Petit Prince

On Halloween, I had some long awaited x-rays. Then, last week, I had the chance to go over the x-rays with my physical therapist. She showed me those x-rays side by side with others from August 10, the day that the rod and screws were placed in my tibia. No difference. The same gaping fracture showed up in the middle of my tibia on each slide.

Needless to say, the rest of my week was pretty hard. I couldn't shake the discouragement. Twelve weeks and no sign of the bone healing. My vision of bearing weight on a slowly growing bone crumbled into an image of walking around on a flimsy piece of metal with bone fragments and screws rattling loose. It's the most disheartened that I've been through this ordeal.

Well, there is nothing to do but continue. Melissa gave me a pep talk. Let this be a motivator rather than a de-motivator; this makes it even more important to have the right attitude and do the things that promote healing. Our friend Margot, who is a healer (and a Physician's Assistant by training) said that x-rays are crap. They disempower by dictating success or failure. Instead, we need to be empowered to promote our own healing. Deborah, with whom I stayed after the hospital, said to just deny the outcome of the x-rays and keep on being optimistic.

I think I'm through the slump. Everyone is right; there is nothing to do but stay optimistic. I'm also trying to take care of all bases. I've increased my calcium supplement; I'm heating the fracture area to bring blood flow; I'm bearing weight and promoting circulation on the bike trainer - and swimming, for the first time last week! We'll also try some massage and acupuncture. I'm ready to keep going.

Black and white x-ray images convey such a sense of authority. They seem to be the last word on how my healing is going. Long after viewing them, my mind's eye still traces the fracture lines. Given the apparent objectivity of x-rays, I found it exceedingly difficult to have faith in my body's own timetable for healing. It has been helpful to be reminded that the most important things - hope, determination, love and support from friends - are invisible to the x-ray.

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