Friday, April 30, 2010

Hand Holding

Since leaving the doctor’s office 48 hours ago, my head has swirled with ugly scenarios and my body aches with new pains. Writing that has come so easily in the past year is now a struggle.

My mind races with the implications of my injury on the quality of my life and makes connections to the issues and circumstances, but it seems so difficult to translate it all into a story people might find of interest. In some regard I wonder how I dare to presume; other moods convince me the story has valuable lessons but is too gross. With every sentence I write tonight, I pause to weigh the worth, yet still feel motivated to share the ugly details.

Every story has its share of joys and pains. Each of us weaves our way through similar trials, tribulations and triumphs. Some of us remain quiet and modestly withdrawn, while others celebrate or agonize for all to see. No one is wiser or braver for the telling or the with-holding. Individual comfort levels are dictated by many variables, and although subject to the judgment of others, can never be right or wrong.

Often I joke about how public my privates have become, but except while unconscious at the hospital the day after my fall when my damage was the subject of medical and masculine speculation in the staff rooms, it is my choice to expose myself so openly. I have freely spoken about the wounded condition of my groin. For those who cannot help but wonder, I volunteer the information.

The facts of the matter are that after six months of recuperation, I have healed enough to risk the surgery which should repair my plumbing. Predicted to take ten hours and require a five day stay in the hospital, the doctor described it as one of the most delicate and difficult surgeries of its kind.

Particular care must be taken not to damage nerves that could destroy my sexual functioning. If all goes well, I should still not expect to be normal for a year or more. The risk of permanent damage is small at the hands of a practiced surgeon, but real enough that I have to face the possibility of losing the expression of a need some would say is as basic as food, clothing or shelter.

Never mind that I have not been able to function much since the accident. Never mind that the lack of a partner has made it not much of an issue for a long time before that. The potential loss of the ability to be sexual strikes fear in the heart and makes my groin ache more severely than it has throughout this ordeal. This may be ugly, but it is my reality today.

Now here is the place where I tread lightly and wonder what use my words, my story, have to contribute. What emotions and details are better left hidden. Modesty and decorum, conventional wisdom, usually dictates that we refrain from openly addressing such issues. But when moved to share with a friend or stranger, I find they are wondering regardless and seem grateful to know. Being truthful and honest about my situation provides some sort of comfort to myself and others, alleviates concerns and questions, and creates a deeper bond between us.

We are compassionate creatures after all, and learning of suffering, it is our natural inclination as human beings to want to soothe. Having never been seriously injured before, I am grateful to learn that my condition can be fixed and so much more compassionate to know that others with severed nerves can never walk again, do not know of the amazing serenity of feeling their child asleep in their lap, or the bliss of knowing they have years yet to live.

In these days following the appointment that determined my surgery will be fast-approaching and not easy, I feel the rush of many emotions. The physical pain of entering the hospital healthy and awakening to nausea, pain and the second tube re-inserted is fearsome. The vision of being strong and vital with no tubes a year from now fills me with hope and excitement.

Father of three and lover of women, I have planted my seed and have learned there are many ways to give and receive pleasure. Even now, in spite of my injury and incapacitation, I am experiencing deep love and sweet companionship. My heart learns every day both how to laugh and weep with joy.

If required to make a list of terrible events, if they could conceive of such a loss at all, sexuality would be near the top of terrors for so many of us. Yet here I sit, contemplating a future stretching away into the vast unknown, and although shrouded with fear, I feel mostly grateful for the hands of others I have to hold.

Please share with your friends

1 comment:

Beth said...

Beautifully shared and I do believe, can and does help many others. Tears come to my eyes-of words put together so well- as to make such an ordeal- rather bearable for the writer and the hearer themselves. Wow!