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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Pressure to Write About Being Under Pressure

So this week’s theme is ‘under pressure.’ Yeah, that song goes through my head, too, but there’s got to be more to write about than that! It’s taken me a day to get out from under the pressure of my daily schedule to be able to consider writing about being under pressure.

The schedule has been pretty crazy lately – well, ever since PT began in August. It was for 12 sessions but at 2 per week plus a week off until we had the MRI results that makes it drawn out to a 7 week ordeal. AND we’re not sure I’m done yet. I have a session tonight and next Tuesday and a return trip to the doc next Thursday. There’s a strong desire to be off crutches by then. My physical therapist wants it for me. I want it for me. Doc wants it for me. The question becomes will my leg be ready for it.

I have been given the green light by PT to do as much as it will let me and I’ve been doing well and seeing improvements. Earlier this week I made a significant trip to the warehouse with just one crutch (still using the golf cart). But my leg is faithful to tell me when I’ve done too much. It yells at me. Loudly. Quickly. Fiercely. That day (Tuesday) I sat at my desk for 3o minutes or so with an ice pack.

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We did a different taping with the kinetic tape – right around the knee to support the medial side (inner side) where the pain is. The hamstring by and large is fine……still needs some strengthening and cramps a little after being in the car 10-15 minutes but no real pain or discomfort. It’s all about the knee right now. Anyway, the tape made a difference and we leave it on a few days. I took it off this morning and almost immediately felt the absence of the support it had been given. There was an ache and a little pain but it seemed to subside though I was a little more gimpy at the office than I had been. Made it up and down the steps with the crutches and at one point it seemed to be doing better so I thought I could  make it down without the crutches since I was just going to the office at the bottom of the steps (lead with the bad leg and bring the good leg behind, one step at a time, not consecutive like usual). Until….2 steps down I felt this sensation in my knee….a familiar sensation…..a painful sensation….and I stopped. And this happened (see image of text). And my rescue came minutes later and I have been keeping my friends Peg and Leg nearby ever since. But PT is going to teach me the taping technique so I can do it on my own. Cool!

I think the biggest pressure I feel right now – besides getting off these stupid crutches – is just keeping things in balance. As previously shared my mortgage went full amortization this month so an additional $238 dollars comes out of my pocket every month. But at least now I’ll start to build up some equity! I have been diligently reworking the budget and renegotiating costs and have been pretty pleased. I have met my goal and it was a joy to make that first payment without pressure of ‘how do I pay the rest of the bills until payday’. But with all my calls and such a couple

payment dates have changed so keeping on top of it all takes a little extra attention right now. Good attention and I am again excited for my debt reduction plan to kick back in after having to take off a couple months with the leg and all. Speaking of which…..I got a surprise from insurance where it appears my payments for PT will be significantly less than we had planned and I had been paying. It should be confirmed tonight so I’m not counting on it yet but if it pans out I will have a nice credit which should carry me through the rest of my PT and probably still give me a little refund as well! Nice to feel the pressure escape a bit.

And then there’s the eating. My ‘care quotient’ has dropped the last few weeks and I haven’t spent much mental energy on meal planning so that only hurts the cycle all the more. My dietician and I had a good conversation this week and as I asked a question she got a quizzical look on her face, a small

smile (okay, a smirk), thought a minute and then said ‘what do you think your eating disorder would say about that?’ I loved the way she gave my ED its own personality. In a weird kind of way that really helped separate it from myself and gave it some substance I could relate to which then helps in fighting it. In this particular case I told her I was already thinking my question was in essence ‘creative restricting’ to which she smiled, nodded in agreement, and said I still need to do what I was hoping I didn’t have to. I was also very appreciative of the camp director at the camp where the retreat will be held sending me a copy of the menu for the weekend. I had mentioned the retreat and my anxiety about eating in public to my dietician this week and we will be talking about it next week. She was interested in seeing the menu. I can do this (though the thought still makes my stomach get tied up in knots…even though these people are dear to me old ED has a voice of its own and doesn’t like to be silenced easily.

Between PT twice a week and the dietician once a week, three of the four week nights are already accounted for with appointments and when I’m not getting home until 7p – which is when we like to eat by – it’s a bit of a challenge to get home, fix dinner, eat dinner, clean up from dinner and then try to relax for a bit before going to bed….and that doesn’t count if Mom needs a foot treatment done because the nurse couldn’t make it or whatever. So when my counselor asked about finding a different time to meet due to some schedule issues I wasn’t surprised that it’s taken 2 days and about 10 emails back and forth to maybe come up with a time — just for this week! Hopefully that will settle soon too!

By and far my biggest pressure relief is in 3 weeks…in fact 3 weeks from today I leave for the Walking Stick Retreat.

It’s been fun the last couple days as the anticipation grows. There have been texts and emails and Messenger messages asking about travel plans. When are you coming in? Are you driving this route? Wanna meet half way and caravan together? What airport are you flying into? Who’s coming in early? Wanna plan on dinner that night before the retreat starts? What it tells me is there is a fierce love and appreciation of each other and these 3 sacred days in the hills of PA are a respite for

weary souls in search of some solace, some encouragement, some direction, some fellowship, and maybe a few surprises since we never know what God has in store for each of us. I liken it to the anticipation of a family reunion mixed with going to summer camp. I spent 5 summers at Kanakuk Kamp in Missouri working in the kitchen and I could not get on the road fast enough to drive the 730 miles one way – sometimes in one day. It was my ‘summer escape to the woods’ with no cell phones, no tv, and a whole lot of fun, laughs, and love. I am SOOO looking forward to retreat. This will be my first time arriving early. That is intentional because (1) I don’t want to drive in WV and PA mountains alone in the predawn hours under pressure to arrive by 9a or so to settle in before the first session at 10:30a; and (2) this is my one time away with friends every year and I just want the fellowship. The retreat gets going and there is little time to just hang out because you don’t know what God is doing in someone else’s life that may take them away for a while. This is my catch up time with folks who have become family. My chance to LIVE and experience TRUE community. My chance to relax. My chance to decompress. My time to slow down and listen. I need to hear from Him. I’ve gone off track again. Maybe this time the ship will be righted even more and some things put in place to keep the listing ship from listing again next year. So yes…I’m outta here! Rental car is already reserved. I’m ready to start packing but I’ll wait for that.

But even when things seem crazy and hectic and what not I remember this: 2 Corinthians 4:8-12New International Version (NIV)

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

The pressure may be there but it’s for a greater purpose and it won’t destroy me.

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