Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do No Harm!!

The Wiccan Rede is based upon ancient Pagan traditions and moral codes. And I swore an oath to the Mother Goddess many many years ago while in my treasured Coven; it was simply this?

These Eight Words the Rede Fulfill:

"An Harm Ye None, Do What Ye Will."

This is my code and creed, and in the moments of human weakness I have experienced in which I have violated any aspect of this charter, I have made amends - humbly, sincerely and with great repentance.

You see, I value life, and truth, and the human process of Awakening and evolution. I do not like to hurt or cause others harm of any type. Some call me a tree hugger, others think I'm "quirky" or "emotional". But the truth is quite simple: I am kind. I have a very active conscience and wrong-doing on my part doesn't go un-noticed or un-punished. Karma seldom has a chance to step in when I cause another harm, as I am quick to catch my own malice and apologize where necessary, and make good where accepted. I do not see any value or validity in causing any amount of pain to another person.

Sure, there is tough love, but even that is an area in which I tread lightly, as I humbly don't see where my hubris is useful in helping another person see a life lesson through a tough shove.

And yet, in my life it is apparent that people find it quite easy to be critical, judgemental and even cruel on occasion, and I am aware it is because I am so open, and so honest; this makes me vulnerable, as well as an "easy mark". I will always try to find the gentlest way out of any negative situation, but even the tamest of mama bears has claws, and her limits.

The Lying Lawyer

A few years ago I was working in a law firm on a temp assignment which showed promise to become permanent. I was enjoying the work, and learning so much; I was eager to go in every day and learn something new. I worked first for a real estate attorney who was out of town for a week. When that assignment was done I was asked to go upstairs to meet the Wills and Estates attorney and was informed his Legal Secretary was going on sick leave in three weeks and needed a replacement. I was elated! This was a very tender area of law which I was drawn to as it gave me a direct opportunity to assist people who were dealing with bereavement issues, or people who were planning the future of their children etc.

The lawyer himself was a kindly man, and I enjoyed his soft-spoken demeanor. His legal secretary stayed on training me, and the last work day before the Easter long weekend, as I was rushing some documents downstairs to the mail room I felt something twinge in my left knee; the knee that had previously dislocated seriously on a couple occasions. I got back to my desk and sat down and rubbed it; it was swelling and it hurt quite a bit. My trainer saw me and asked what was wrong; I explained what had happened, and the lawyer I was subbing in for was within earshot. They acted concerned, but it was end of day and the offices were clearing out, so everyone made for the parking lots.

Over the weekend my knee ballooned up and I ended up in ER. They asked if it was work related and I said yes, but told them not to start a claim for compensation as I was sure I wouldn't miss any time. First mistake.

The next week I showed up to work on crutches; and everyone made perfunctory ooh's and aah's as I explained that I had stepped down the stairs and something had twinged. But I did my best that week. But after a week of hobbling here there and everywhere, I was at my limit. In fact, I was at my emotional boiling point too, as the lawyer I was working for had the audacity to come to me late morning, hand me money and send me to the deli across the road to get his lunch. On crutches.

I went back to the ER the next weekend, they told me I had likely torn a ligament and ordered an MRI. I was told to stay off it - end of discussion. At this point I called my temp agency to inform them and was told I was no longer required at the law firm. Okay...

As I found out I had torn my LCL (lateral-co-lateral ligament) in my knee and would need surgery, I opted to open the Compensation claim; I would require income over the coming months. My claim was rejected, and when I called to find out why, I was told quite snidely that the lawyer I worked for informed the board I had NOT injured myself at work. I was shocked, and told her there were people at the firm to back this up, but she informed me she did not need to back it up, he was a lawyer and she was taking his word above mine. Case closed.

I opted not to appeal the decision, out of a fear of raking muck. In hindsight, it was a cowardly decision. But... do no harm.

The Conniving Co-worker

A couple of years ago a new co-worker at my on again off again job of nearly 5 years informed my supervisor and general manager that I had threatened her with physical violence. Absurd! I cannot even kill a spider, I would never utter a threat to anyone, I only know how to duck, or assume the fetal position - I am NOT a violent person. I was in tears, absolutely gutted by this. It turned out she just didn't like me, and had made up her mind about me before she even met me based on the loose lips of a very immature and ignorant co-worker who had told her some stories about me in advance of us meeting. And even after this horrendous attack on my character, I attempted to remain civil and courteous in the work place. It is who I am - do no harm.

My Invisible Disability

If you're a friend, or a blog follower, you likely have ascertained by now that I am disabled physically. In 1988 I had two second generation Harrington Rods attached to my spine to correct a 56 degree S curvature - scoliosis.

My fusions go from about Thoracic 8 to Lumbar 1. In the last twelve years I have begun to develop pain, which became profound four years ago, and extreme in the last 16 months. I waited 3 years to see the provinces top Revision surgeon, as I need someone familiar with my old hardware. They stopped using the Harrington second Gen. rods in 1990, mine were installed in 1988. Not a lot of surgeons area familiar with the outdated hardware. My surgeon is not only familiar, but the best of the best. Last October 2011, he informed me of my diagnosis's, among them:

  • Spinal Stenosis: a narrowing of the Spinal Column (not unusual in Scoliosis patients)
  • Degenerative Disc Disease throughout spine - several slipped and protruding discs in neck and upper thoracic above Harrington fusions.
  • Osteo-arthritis and early onset Osteoporosis.
  • Facets Joint Disease
  • Sacro-Iliac degradation and separation
  • Hip displacement in right hip due to slanted posture for nearly 30 years due to displaced spine.

I will be extremely lucky to be wheel-chair free in my 60's. 

My surgeon informed me I am not to walk and straight posture is out - slouch. This isn't typical as people are always strongly urged to assume good posture, but in my case straight posture causes further bone-on-bone grinding within the Facets Joints in L1-L4. Every step I take creates pain that is indescribable to anyone who can't relate. The facets in those Vertebrate are completely worn down to nub/nerve and there is bone dust and chip surrounding the area which is very visible in MRI imaging. I walk with a cane to assist me in walking with a stooped posture, which takes some (yet not ALL) pressure off the Facets Joints. I am supposed to use a walker, however the one I have is heavy and I am ashamed to have to use it in public, but my vanity is giving way to necessity as time goes by.

I share this with you, because I feel there are people in my every day life who do not fully understand the depth of my spinal and skeletal issues. These problems are mine, and mine alone, and yet they affect my every waking moment. To hear someone tell me they must have a far higher pain threshold than me because I'm always whining about pain, is a dagger in my heart. How dare anyone try to even presume they have an inkling as to the pain I live with on a daily basis! It infuriates me!

Let me walk you through a typical day in my life, in the last 8-12 months.

I wake up stiff and sore, and generally require 5 minutes minimum to get myself rolled over so that I can attempt to sit up. This takes a great deal of strength as the muscles in my back protest at the action. Once I am up it is a stilted dash to the kitchen for my medications. I take all except the pain killer, as I do not like to drive with it in my system, so I take one to work with me, to take as soon as I get there.

I spend 6-7 hours stooped over a soldering bench at work, assuming postures which are uncomfortable and painful. My nerves start to scream out about 2 hours after I take the pain killer and the effects of my nerve blocker and muscle relaxants wear off. I usually power through it, but on really bad days will take another dose of each.. 

When I get home I must get everything i need to get done quickly before time runs out - and it does run out. I have about 30 minutes in me when I get home, and after that time I must sit, for a very, very long time, on my bed. I cannot sit in my own living room for any length of time, as there is no position which works for me on the furniture. So I pile pillows up on my bed, against the wall, and sit stooped at a 45 degree angle, with my legs propped up on cushions, to get the swelling in them to go down. I take a full dose of meds again and spend a couple hours just recharging. And then the next day I get up and do it all again.

The problem is, I am having a harder and harder time performing these few tasks each day. Simply getting out of bed is taking more of my time and will. Walking to my warehouse from my car is like a marathon. Sitting at my work desk on a crappy little stool with no back support takes all of my will.

No, I know my weaknesses, and can very humbly list them to you here. I am a great many things, but I can tell you with 100% certainty and faith in myself, I have a great and extensive threshold for pain. 

Just because a person is hurting does not mean they aren't coping with it. Just because my face contorts when a nerve twinges, or I let out a moan when a Facet sets on fire, doesn't mean I am a wimp. 

I have lived through two major knee dislocates, where the cap sat on the back of my leg which was in a bent position. I have pushed a 7lb 2 ounce child out of me in 33 minutes flat, the fastest delivery my Midwife ever saw- through sheer power and strength within me. I survived major back surgery at age 16, and will again before age 41. And then there will be more surgeries after that, as my neck requires revision, and my hip will require replacement, as well as my knee. I will be bionic by the time this body is laid to rest.

I may be weak and snivelling emotionally, and burst into tears at the slightest insult or jibe; but I am stronger physically than most people could imagine I am. 

People are so judgemental, and I see women in particular who do this brand of nit-picky bitching; it's so easy to say "you should..." or "if I were you..." when you're not in someone else's position.  But until you walk a mile it's just judgement, and that is so small minded and pointless.

And do no harm; I will continue to live my life by this code, not because it is something right, or something I aspire towards, but because I took a sacred Oath in front of the Mother, and I don't break oaths. So talk about me when I'm not in the room, but trust this: I know it's being done. Make fun of me when I am out of earshot, but know this: I hear every word. And assume you know my body better than I do, and you're nothing but a nit-picking gossipy cow.

That being said, I will go on being me. Heart on sleeve, emotionally charged Piscean woman. It's who I am that makes me strong enough to deal with the weakness in others; the weakness that drives others to put people down. Because karma is a system of equilibrium, it plays no favourites  it simply is a law of checks and balances, and in the end we all live what we judge. I know this first hand, everything I ever judged is what I eventually became. And what a beautiful lesson that has been for me.

It has reiterated to me ten-fold: Do No Harm. What you put out will only come back to you times three, not because of magic, or spells, or intentions - but simply because you sent for it through your own behaviours.

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