Letting the light in.


Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

This quote was at the end of an email I received today and it just fits so nicely with so many things in my life just now.

One thing is a course I’m doing in supervision. I know I can do it, but I’m struggling regardless. Unless everything is perfect and I’m meeting every learning objective I’m finding it impossible to write at all, and so prevaricating. I may be doing a bit of that with these blog posts too. Unless everything is perfect I’m just now doing it – and of course things are not perfect. One of the things I have been doing to counteract this perfectionist streak in myself is to work through Overcoming Perfectionism by Sarah Egan and Roz Shafran. Of course by reading the book I’m also avoiding doing the things I have to do, but just starting it and getting an idea of why I am like this is a help.

Then I came across this quote by Leonard Cohen this morning and thought it was about time that I did something, and if it’s not writing an essay and a case study then it should at least be catching up on some e mails and writing up this blog!

I go quiet when things are not right. When it sounds as though I am whinging and complaining, because this does not make me the nice, calm and easy going person I want to be. When I am admitting to problems because then I am not perfect – I am vulnerable and people can see my cracks.

Since getting the diagnosis on my spine from the MRI I have been to the GP and am being referred to a spinal specialist. It seems thought that there is a very long waiting list as the usual person for referral is in Birmingham but just comes down here to do some work, where there is no specialist at all. What I have received is an appointment for ICAT. I have absolutely no idea what that means. I also found when I received the letter I couldn’t get through to change the appointment – it was set at precisely the time I will be in theatre having my knee replaced. That’s going to make it rather tricky to get there! I did get through this morning though, and a rather pleasant young man explained that it is something between physio and specialist. They do examinations and exercises (that’s going to be interesting 1 week after a knee replacement), x rays and MRIs if necessary. he seemed a bit surprised that his had happened already, so I get the impression that this is an appointment to prioritise people and get the actual list for the specialist down.

My left knee replacement is 3 weeks today. My knee was damaged in 1983, so I suppose it has been a long time coming. I remember having back ache from quite some time ago, although yoga always helped, and later when I had a bit more money, massage. However, it does feel as though, even when it clearly has been on the downward slope for a very long time, that the deterioration of my joints has speeded up considerably. I wonder if it is so quick sometimes, or whether it is because I am now aware that I notice other things. The pain in my neck to left shoulder I saw physio for a couple of years back and still comes and goes – is this actually linked to spinal problems? If so, is there also a problem further up my spine or is it down to the canal stenosis? Would my back hurt so much if I didn’t know there was something wrong with it? r would it hurt but I would still be blaming my hip surgery? Am I noticing the pain in my right knee now because I low that my left needs to be replaced? Is it going to be worse when I no longer have the ever present pain in my left knee?

And pain anyway. My neighbour broke her leg recently and had to have it pinned. She has been non weight bearing for weeks and is in pain. She is managing on paracetamol though. Is she in so much pain because it is sudden and recent? Is it worse than mine? Or am I just used to my pain because it has gradually got worse over a number of years? My mum has a morphine patch. She says she has no pain now, only stiffness. Am I just in pain because I know something is wrong? Would I disregard it if I didn’t have diagnoses or if I had been told there was nothing wrong with me? Of course – then I guess I wouldn’t have pain! Sometimes I think it isn’t too bad. Btu when the GP told me that the government were going to make Tramadol a controlled drug, she would not be able to give me so much and could I manage on paracetamol I burst into tears. I always thought I had a high pain threshold. I had my son with only gas and air and deep breathing. Is my pain as bad as others? Or should I be managing better than this? So many questions!

I have had some days over the past few weeks that have been tearful ‘why me?’ days. It does seem unfair that all these things should be so bad at my age. I am worried and afraid about the future – especially as I am my son’s carer and now my husband is probably always going to be the only ‘breadwinner’. I feel I can no longer look forward to holidays abroad, climbing mountains, walking – all things I wanted to or enjoyed doing. Perhaps if my replacements had gone well then I would be looking up and not seeing the next thing to have to deal with but the light at the end of the tunnel.

Which was why I latched onto that quote this morning. Maybe I don’t have t wait until the end of the tunnel for the light at all. I’m not perfect unfortunately. I seem to have ever more cracks. But then, if that is the way the light will get in quicker, then perhaps that’s not so bad.



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