Saturday, April 7, 2018
Pain and recovery
I was in the break room kitchen at work where I go 114 times every day. A young man who volunteers at the library once or twice a week was in there. I feel like calling him Stuart. We'll call him Stuart. He smiles, wryly, at most things I say. He has a calmness. He's a good guy.
He said "How are you doing?"
Millions of people ask "How are you doing?", but Stuart seems like he means it. So I answered with some honesty as reflected how he asked.
"I'm okay, but my back hurts."
This was a few days before I decided that pain is my friend. That's why I didn't answer "I'm okay. Pain is my friend."
To my response Stuart said something like "Bummer." with exact right amount of commiseration in it. Except it probably wasn't "Bummer" that he said because he's too young to have ever been to the 1970's.
I was in the seventies for ten years so I remember "Bummer" and "Dy-no-mite!". Oh, and the Bicentennial. And feathered hair.
But this isn't that kind of post.
Here is what I know about Stuart, most of it second hand, some by observation, a tiny bit from conversation. It might not be fully accurate:
He was driving to get a new puppy and fell asleep while driving and crashed his car. He was very close to dying. He mangled his leg and arm and possibly other things, and he suffered head injuries. This has to be at least a few years ago. He has a heavy limp and can barely use one arm and hand. He might have had to learn to talk again, but as I said, he clearly did well at learning to talk again because he has a pleasant way of speaking.
Although, come to think of it, our conversations, which have a glow, hardly have any words in them.