I’m not sleeping.
Well, I say that. Obviously some sleep goes on. I’d estimate 2-3 hours a night – 4 on a really good one. That isn’t deep, refreshing, all-at-once sleep, though. I doze off for 40 minutes or so and then there’s the painful awakening. I writhe and twist, gyre and gimble (Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky – I’m a massive fan) and vainly attempt to get some relief from the pains that are shooting down my back, my arm and up into my neck and head.
Eventually I get up and wander off to the bathroom or pace around the house for a while, before collapsing back on to the bed and waiting for the discomfort to return to a sleep-throughable level. That can take hours; it usually does.
I have, I’m told, a ‘frozen shoulder‘. It’s the most ridiculous ailment; even the doctor admitted as much. The information sheet he gave me reads like something Lewis Carroll himself might have penned. For reasons no one can discern, the shoulder becomes increasingly painful and stiff over a period of months. This is, apparently, the ‘Freezing Stage’. Seriously.
Mobility may be affected, it says. My shoulder has definite and ever-expanding no-go areas. They include behind and up. Stray into them by mistake and the pain starts small and takes up to five minutes to develop a vice-like intensity that has me gasping for breath.
The pain is frequently worse at night, it says. Hell, yeah. As described above.
So what do I have to look forward to? Apparently next comes the ‘Frozen Stage’. I can expect less pain but the same level of stiffness and lack of movement. That, it tells me, will typically last between 18 months and 3 years. After that – you’ve guessed it – there is a ‘Thawing Stage’. A year or two more for it to subside and disappear as quietly as it arrived and I will be back to normal. Physiotherapy and painkillers are offered, more to placate the GP’s feelings of helplessness than to make any difference to the condition, he agreed.
I’ve already tried deep tissue massage and acupuncture, to no avail. Since there’s no medical reason, and since I tend towards the Louise Hay view of dis-ease in any case, I opted for some Reiki.
Now this is where it gets seriously weird.
I went to a Reiki practitioner I’d only met a week or two before. She knew very little about me and I knew very little about Reiki. I sat for a long time listening to pleasant music while the healing took place.
When she’d finished, she came to sit with me, looking rather shocked and puzzled.
“I saw a face,” she told me. “He was right here.” She motioned the front of my shoulder. “He was looking straight at me.”
Like I say, this lady didn’t know me well, or any of the people in my life. I asked her if she could describe the person she’d seen. As she did so, I started to realise who it was.
I went to fetch a photo. “Is this the person you saw?”
She gasped and nodded. “The hair was a bit different, but that was exactly the face.”
Well that made sense. The photo is about five years old. It’s of someone who has played a huge part in my life; someone I helped, mentored and loved for many years. And then, little by little, he moved out of my life and stopped responding to letters, calls and emails. He’s given me, you could say, the cold shoulder…
Of course, as I’ve said many times before in my blog, I don’t believe others cause us pain. I believe we allow ourselves to feel pain in response to the way they act. My Guide explained it to me in this way:
What if I stick a knife in someone. Surely then I will hurt that person – cause their pain?
NO YOU CAUSE THE CUT
And what causes the pain?
THE CUT GIVES THE PERSON THE CHANCE TO CAUSE PAIN TO THEMSELVES
Fortunately, my Reiki healer had another strategy for me. She told me to smile into my body – giving a smile of love and gratitude to each part of my body in turn – and to linger on that shoulder, giving it extra love.
Oh how right she is! I don’t intend to wait years for my shoulder to thaw. I’ll see if that smile, and any others I can collect, can defrost it.
All smiles gratefully received 🙂