Last November I experienced a terrible pain from my neck, down my right shoulder blade, along the tricep and then down the forearm, into my hand leaving my index and middle finger numb. They have remained numb since regardless of physical therapy, chiropractic work, acupuncture, dance, yoga and anything else I could think of that might help. My doctor had me get MRIs done at which point it became very clear that nothing but surgery would remedy my pain and numbness. So next Friday, September 6th, I will have surgery on my cervical spine to remove bone from C5, C6 and C7 that are compressing nerves.
One of the biggest impacts this has had on my life is that it has made working on computers much more painful. I'm on computers all day at work and have successfully re-trained myself to mouse left handed. But by the end of the day, when I get home, the thought of opening my laptop and doing more work, as is my habit, became too much. My websites have all lapsed, my social networking hit and miss, and no more mobile apps development. So I've lost touch, not just from my finger tips, but also with friends, my writing, and my work. I didn't realize how much of my connection to this world of people happens via the computer.
On a more personal note I consider myself very tactile. When I shop for clothes, which I loathe doing, I shop with my hands. I don't buy clothes unless they are pleasing to my fingers first. I love touching my daughter's hair, stroking my lover's skin, petting my kitties, tree bark, satin, mud, new baby green growth on the tips of the evergreen trees, and on and on. I run my fingers over the surfaces of my dishes as I wash them to dislodge any remnants of stuck on food. It's been interesting to note the things that I miss. Also noticing when I burn or cut one of my fingers without notice has been a bit alarming.
As surgery neared, and the details became more clear I sent out an email to those I hold dearest. Most responded with good wishes but what stood out was one silent voice. It's made me realize how easy it is to lose touch without even noticing. A dear friend of nearly 30 years, who has co-written music and creative prose with me, has disappeared into the mist of passing time - his reassuring voice lost to me on this occasion. Admittedly, it is difficult to maintain fulfilling relationships at long distances, but that doesn't mean we miss them any less when we realize they are gone.
What is this life is it isn't one of relationships, of touching one another. The worst feeling in the world is to be truly alone, isolated. Ask anyone who has lived through solitary confinement. As my immediate world contracts for a period of convalescence, my heart expands, nourished by all the love and care that I'm receiving from my loved ones. The surgeon expects me to get feeling back in my fingers in time. As I heal, I intend to reach out with restored love and interest in touching this world in every way that I can.
Who knows, I might even blog more....