What’s The Most Irritating Thing In The World?

Being unable to scratch your foot while it’s in plaster.

Well, a camboot (more commonly known as a moonboot).  On Sunday (two days ago), I fractured my left ankle while playing soccer (but it was an awesome save – I am/was goalie). So needless to say, my soccer season is over, and I am now adjusting to life on crutches and the inability to use my left leg for some time – at least three months. To say it’s difficult is an understatement. I have to plan everything, even using the toilet 😐 But worse than that (and yes, worse than the itching I can’t reach) is the pain. It’s constant and relentless. A thudding pain in the bone itself, and just when I think it can’t get any worse, it proves me wrong with sudden, sharp stabbing pain all through my ankle and foot. I have a cocktail of painkillers and anti inflammatories, and I even set my watch to take them to keep the pain at bay. After all, I have to go back to work in two days and I need to have some pain tolerance built up.

I broke so many bones as a child, and never did it impede my life like now. Part of that I put down to the exuberance of youth, and the other part I believe is my mind blotting out the pain part of the memories. But as a forty something, it bloody hurts.I gave birth naturally, with a 13 hour labour and this hurts way more than that 😦 Or maybe I’m just a wuss. Anyway, while waiting for the ambulance on Sunday, I uttered the usual prayers of the injured (“God, please make the pain go away” and the ever popular “Oh God, oh God, OH GOD!!”). But after a while, I remembered to keep my breathing even or I would bring on an asthma attack, and then I’d really be screwed. While focusing on my breathing, I started to mentally say a mindfulness meditation chant by Thich Nhat Hanh;

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

I wasn’t smiling at all, I can tell you. But the rhythm of the mantra stuck in my head, and then I couldn’t stop it. It was on repeat over and over, and stayed on repeat till the paramedics got there. Once they got there and had to move me, sheer agony replaced everything and then I got the magic pen (Pethidine) and nothing mattered. Once in the ER, the pethidine started to wear off and I was in agony (thankfully I was still “stoned” when they x-rayed me). By default almost, I started chanting TNH’s mantra again. After a while I swapped to The Medicine Buddha’s mantra. While it didn’t obliterate the pain, it helped with it, along with the drugs the doctor intravenously administered after a while because they knew putting the camboot on would be sheer agony for me (and it was).

I’ve meditated regularly over the past two days to help in between taking painkillers. It feels weird because since I “hung up my mala beads” I haven’t meditated at all. But it was my default go to *shrugs* Guess a part of me is still buddhist-ish after all. Or old habits die hard 😛


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