Back in August, I walked 5 miles on a really uneven surface.
In cowboy boots.
I knew I did something dumb almost immediately since both my knees started making audible popping sounds.
I tried anti-inflammatories and ice and heat. Nothing helped. At one point, it got so bad that I couldn’t walk at all. That’s when I got scared.
I don’t like to run to the doctor too quickly, and it takes me a long time to admit that something is wrong.
In November, when I couldn’t walk without tears, I knew it was time to make an appointment.
After an exam and x-rays, my doctor determined that I have arthritis in my knees and meniscial degeneration. That’s simply a fancy way of saying that my knees are old and plum worn out. He also said that things weren’t so bad that we had to consider surgery.
My right knee healed quickly, but my left knee earned a cortisone shot (holy big fat needle!), and I’ve been wearing a heavy-duty knee brace for the last 8 weeks.
I seriously didn’t think I’d ever walk without pain again, but it’s getting better. It’s just happening slowly.
Apparently, that’s the way healing works. It takes a ridiculously long time so we feel grateful when we finally get thru it.
All my knee stuff got me thinking about pain.
Some of you may know that my husband and I recently separated.
It’s confusing. And it hurts.
Some of the time, I appear to be fine. Some of the time, I’m lonely. And sometimes, I’m downright afraid.
It’s an invisible wound.
I never appreciated the pain associated with divorce before now. In fact, my ideas about divorce came mostly from movies. I imagined two people screaming and trying to push each other down a staircase.
But my situation is nothing like that.
My husband is a good man.
We’ve just grown apart.
These days my heart actually aches the way knee aches.
My day is punctuated by awkwardnesses.
I still like to receive his texts. I still reach out to touch his knee when we’re seated together because it feels natural, even though I know I shouldn’t do that any more. I want to confide in my husband the way I once did because… well… he’s been my confidante for over 20 years.
How do I ask my parents to take down that painting of me that they’ve got hanging in their living room: the poster-sized me wearing my wedding dress, holding all those purple irises? What do I do when a someone I’ve known for my entire married life decides to ignore me in the grocery store? And how do I stop crying when I hear love songs on the radio?
People keep telling me to be brave, to stay strong.
That the pain will get easier.
Unfortunately, no one can predict how long my heart is going to hurt, and there are no cortisone shots to take the edge off the pain.
Which is worse? A broken body or a broken heart? Any practical advice would be appreciated.