Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pins And Needles

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You’ve probably had one of those moments where you were reading something or you heard something and it about dropped you dead in your tracks. One such event did that for me and before I could even begin to finish what I had started reading, my heart was pounding as if I were running for my life. In some ways I was running for my life, but the event had occurred many years earlier.

In 1991, when I was going through all the hospital tests trying to determine the cause of my paralysis, there was one test that just about did me in. I had not thought about it much until I read an account by an online blogger friend of mine. As I read her detailed account of a very similar test she went through, it was all I could do to keep reading what she wrote. I wanted to read it but the fears, the horrors and the emotions of a lifetime came rushing up. Even as I write this, I can feel my heart racing and so while I feel I need to record this, it is not easy.

The doctors had tried many tests on me trying to determine the cause of my paralysis. At first it had been proclaimed that I had Multiple Sclerosis. At age 26, that seemed like a death sentence for me. I wasn’t prepared to hear these words and I had no way to know how to react to them. As the days wore on though, that diagnosis began to prove itself wrong. My symptoms weren’t common and so specialist after specialist did every test under the sun.

The latest test they did was where I believe they were checking my muscle and nerve reflexes. I’m not 100% certain if that is exactly what it was they were doing, and someone with a medical background may be able to shed more light on this than I can. I remember being taken into this room from my hospital bed and placed upon an exam table. There were instruments and electrical-looking machines and a lady in a lab coat that I don’t even think introduced herself. Most of the time during the test, she was facing my legs and some electrical machine with her back to my face. It was almost as if she didn’t want to see me as a person but that’s just my perception.

Realize that during this time, my movements were almost nonexistent and speech was extremely slow and labored. To get a word out every few minutes that made coherent sense was quite an accomplishment for me during this time. So communication for me was almost impossible, and trying to communicate really zapped the energy from me. At that time, my energy was in a very limited supply and I did not want to waste it. So as I laid there on the exam table seeing these machines around me, with this person who I didn’t know sitting there as if I didn’t exist, I was frightened beyond belief. I had no idea what was going to be done to me, and I felt as if I had no say in it anyway.

She began her test and I felt these little pricks of what must have been a needle. You see, needles were not something good to me. You could show me a needle and I would pass out, and in fact had passed out many times for stuff like that and more. So I was doing all I could and using every ounce of energy I had to make it through this test, for this might have been the one that told the doctors what was wrong with me, I thought.

As I felt these little pricks on my legs, I would feel a little electric type jolt through them. It didn’t seem to be a large jolt of electricity, only a little buzz. The pain of the needle pricking my skin along with the uncomfortable feeling of the electricity I felt, made this very difficult to endure. Prick by prick, little buzz by little buzz, the lady in the white lab coat continued her testing procedure. It seemed like an eternity which would never end. With each prick of the needle, the pain would intensify.

I could feel the tears want to well up within my eyes, but of course my eyes had cried so much there were no tears. I could feel my voice wanting to scream out, “STOP”, but the words and the voice were lost in the void. I could feel my arms wanting to grab the lady in the white lab coat to make her stop, but my arms had no ability or energy to move. My mind knew there was nothing to do but take what was being done to me, while my body just wanted to run out of the room.

Even though I could barely speak, I do remember trying to say to the lady in the white lab coat, “please stop for a minute, please stop. Please stop.” She never heard the faint and few words of my dull voice. She only continued on, one needle prick at a time. There was no stopping her. My mind thought of a million things I would call this lady if only I could speak, and these things weren’t pretty.

The next thing I knew, I saw these doctors working around me on the table. I’m not sure where I was, but the room was full of people in white coats and much more equipment than when I initially came into the room. Seeing all of this, I didn’t really feel any pain in that moment, and actually it felt more freeing and nice than when I was on the table. The one thing I couldn’t understand, though, was why all of these people were so concerned about me and why I was watching all of this.

As my eyes began to open again, I saw the doctor with the little shock paddles and heard the words “clear” as he brought the paddles close to my bare chest and stomach. They had pulled my hospital gown down to expose my chest and abdomen. As I opened my eyes, I remember seeing such a bright light that it almost hurt my eyes to look at it. It was one of the clearest, brightest white lights I had ever seen. At first I chalked it up to the lights in the room, thinking that was obviously the source. It wasn’t until many years later, when I experienced this same bright white light in a healing session from a lady in South Florida, that I put together what the white light was all about.

As my eyes began to focus on the room, I could hear the people giving out the blood pressure readings and the pulse. Everyone seemed to breathe a sigh of relief as they began to leave the room. One nurse who stayed in there with me commented that they had thought they lost me. That’s about all that was ever said or all that I remember being said. Again, this didn’t quite connect with my brain for many years of what really transpired on this day.

While you may be reading and feeling sad for all of what I went through, this is ok. However, there is a much broader reason why I share this. You see, the body is like an electrical box full of circuits. If we overload the circuits with many devices or stresses in our lives, sooner or later the circuits will overload and trip the individual breakers. If you overload too many circuits at the same time, than the entire circuit box begins to trip and shut down.

This is exactly what was happening in my body. My body had endured a lifetime of stresses, events, pains and abuses. I had ignored these for years and thought I was being a strong man by just handling things. After all, everyone I knew understood just how together I had life. There was nothing that could stop me. I was invincible. I was all powerful, not the weak person that was lying in a hospital bed. There was also what I had been taught every day of my life, that you just handled your problems on your own. You didn’t go to others for help because that was not only a sign of weakness, but these people would then use your problems to their advantage in future dealings with you. You could not trust these people from that point forward. I so remember one whipping in the middle of the night to bring this point home in a very clear way.

As Peter Levine talks about in his book, “Waking The Tiger”, our bodies will react to all that we experience. We can try to run from it, hide it, analyze it or mold it into some sort of religion, but if we don’t deal with that which we have endured, it will deal with us. We may go years, like I did, before it begins to rear its ugly head but it has our days numbered.

Many of us go through life having all types of experiences throughout our years. Some of these are horrendous and are further cemented in the experience by strong emotional components, or by our young age of not knowing and understanding what is going on. We then find ways to compensate for these experiences, sometimes not even consciously knowing that we are doing this. We continue to live our lives adding more events, and more stress during each day.

Our body and our mind tries to get our attention with its many warning system lights such as headaches, pains, stiffness, sickness, disease, and other health conditions. We run to the doctors out of fear, wanting to be fixed and wanting some medication, surgery or therapy to fix us. So the doctor in their vast knowledge gives us something that will help. They often give us a name of the condition we are experiencing, and at last we know that we can wear our badge of what we have with pride. We know what it is and we can be cared for. It gives us a spring to our feet and a bounce to our step.

However, the condition does not necessarily disappear. It might be suppressed or it might give way to other conditions. Medications and surgeries with all their side effects may welcome other unwanted and undesired guests into our bodies and our minds. All the while, we’re still not cured. The condition is still there. It is just masked and covered up.

Please don’t get me wrong here, as I’m not saying all medication and all surgery and all medical intervention is a bad thing. We sometimes need this to stabilize our lives so that we can move to the point of healing. However, so many of us stay in this mode and never move on to the healing part. Masking the pain or the condition is never healing. It’s like using a band aid to cover a blood-gushing wound. While it may help temporarily, the wound needs further attention to heal.

While this may sound unreal and difficult to even contemplate, going into the pain and all the fears that may come up will ultimately release what is beneath that which you are sensing. By doing this, we are able to take the power that the fear possesses in the condition, or the pain, and use it to move us forward through this point in our lives. Otherwise, the fear and the pain of the condition remain as stored energy, locked within our cells, holding us back from realizing our true potential. The fears can be strong but the rewards of doing this are much greater.

We should not view pain as something that we must fix, but something that we need to accept. Through acceptance we take the power back from it, so that we more fully integrate ourselves into a complete person. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to know our self in the fullest possible way. For the more we have fully integrated ourselves as one mind, body and spirit, the more we are human.

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