Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Inner Listening

One week after my first hip surgery, I developed a massive hematoma and had to be opened up again.  My surgeon was on vacation and the hospital was across the bridge in Manhattan and as my concerns were heightening, the doctor on call was not calling me back.  All I kept thinking was it’s getting close to rush hour and my body is in big trouble.
I called the first doctor who had originally recommended that I have surgery and told the team what was happening and I was told to come right in.  My doctor performed the surgery immediately.
It reminded me of when Dan Aykroyd played “Julia Child” on Saturday Night Live.  There was practically that much blood shooting out of my body.  And I was awake, watching the whole thing happen.  What a metaphor!
I called the hospital the following day to let my doctor’s nurse know what had transpired when they hadn’t “properly” attended to their post-surgical patient and within 10 minutes, my surgeon called me from Caicos Island and began to scream at me.  He was angry with me because as far as he was concerned, I was “HIS patient.”  
I told him I did what was right for my body.  Meanwhile, the doctor I saw did not take my insurance and the hematoma surgery had to be paid by me in cash.  
Yesterday morning I revisited a similar situation.  Now, three surgeries later, having spent a full week in AGONY, watching my incision sites not heal very well, I was beginning to feel concerned about two or more growing hematomas and a few large lymph nodes.  Why?  I don’t know.  But my best guess is that my body is protesting the pain it has been enduring and the rest, I just do not know.  Maybe everything is just not working at full capacity right now, or the opposite, working in overdrive in order to help me heal.  
Again.  Sitting in the pause.
My PT asked to take a look and urged me to come in rather than have me go see my surgeon.  His reasons were highly convincing and I am deeply vulnerable and gripping with pain.  But I know that if I don’t listen to myself I will be in even more pain.
The voice inside of me said, “I need to check this out with my surgeon.”
“I don’t want to be opened up again.  That would be a really hard blow.  I need to check this out with my surgeon.  I trust him.  And it’s Friday.  I need to catch him before he can’t be caught.”
More importantly, I need to listen to what my body is telling me.
I spent the entire week crying out to god for some help to ease the pain I have been in and I don’t need someone to tell me to drink another green drink or to go meditate some more.
I need to check this out with my surgeon.
That is what I know.
What I know about myself is that I need to listen to my instincts.  We all do.  But the stakes are very high for me if I don’t right now.
My body is screaming out in pain at the moment and when I see people walking or running, even though it is something I look forward to doing again, my body winces, because I know these are things which are just not on the menu for right now.
So I chose to go see my surgeon to make sure I didn’t have another hematoma.
He told me that I didn’t, but like me, he did not like the way my leg looked.  And he immediately sent me for a test to rule out Deep Venous Thrombosis.  Once that was ruled out, he decided to send me to my physician to have my lymph nodes checked out because when I asked him to palpate them, he did not like how enlarged they were.  And once again, like me, he did not like the combination of my bulging veins and bulging lymph nodes.  (That appointment is not until next week.)
I am not neurotic.  I am just listening to a body currently in distress and “asking” to be attended to in the deepest possible way.
I am a very deep listener.  
And I think much of my listening is in my seeing.  But isn’t that where much of our listening lies?  In paying attention?  In the subtlest of changes?  I’m not talking about being OCD and about how my friends are moving everything around on me (sometimes ON PURPOSE just to mess with me) just because it is so hard for me to get around.  I’m talking about when you are with the person you love and you notice the most subtle turning back in one eye, the slightest retraction, the breath that still hasn’t been released, and the way the lips and eyes change when it finally does.  Isn’t that all part of listening?  
Maybe not for you.  But it is for me.  I listen with my eyes deeply.  Diligently.  Devotedly. Relentlessly.  Passionately.  Could be one of the things that has “intimidated” folks about me.  But I wouldn’t give it up if asked.    It’s one of the ways I know how I to love best.  It’s one of the ways others know I am listening even if disarming, at times.
And to bring this same attention to myself, is nothing short of an act of love.  A true act of godlike presence.  
We all know how to it feels when we are not heard, do we not?
I say it’s time to get as quiet as you need to in order to hear the voice inside that wants nothing more than a faithful audience and an even more faithful heart to come along for the ride.  It’s in there.  
Jill Bacharach

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