I have a trick ankle. By this I mean I can be walking along, feeling fine, and BAMMM! Shooting pain from my ankle. When I went to the podiatrist, he enthusiastically congratulated me for having such flexible ankles. They are so flexible, in fact, that the bones all roll together causing something to pinch and sending me into temporary excruciating pain.
For the reasonable price of $400, he gave me really sexy plastic inserts to put in my shoes and told me to wear them at all times for the rest of my life. Problem solved. Except sexy inserts do not really go with summer shoe/sandal attire so I might possibly not always be following the doctor’s orders. Instead, I occasionally let my oh-so-flexible ankle be free to roll around. Needless to say, this week, my trick ankle is in the middle of its latest episode.
I think I could handle the pain better if it wasn’t a surprise attack. I never know when it’s going to happen. It’s not like I step a certain way every time and then it happens so if I just avoid that type of step, all is good. Nope. That would be too easy. I may have had no pain all day, and then as I am strutting down the main hallway at work, attempting to look cool and collected…SHOOTING PAIN!!!
The following immediately occurs:
- Come to complete stop.
- Make most awful, terrible grimace.
- Create circular motions with foot.
Then slowly proceed in walking again, hoping no one just saw what happened. After two or three of these incidents in less than 2 hours, the trauma camps out in my brain and fear starts to rule. I begin a new pirate limp hobble, feeling slightly ridiculous because it’s not like my ankle is broken. Lots of people in the world have much worse ailments than I do. So I tell myself to suck it up, put my foot down with a little more confidence, start walking faster, and then F%$#!!! IT HAPPENS AGAIN! To the point that now I have to try to explain to people what the hell is happening. And if it makes no sense to me, it really makes no sense to them, mostly because my explanation goes something like this…
“Mumble, mutter, mumble, trick ankle, mumble, mutter”… avoid eye contact, look at ankle, shake head, and end with awkward wave of hand to dismiss the topic. (I have stellar social skills.)
The simple solution…if I wear the inserts, my ankle does exactly what it’s suppose to do. If I don’t, it’s a free for all and surprise attacks ensue. It’s my choice.
My choice. It’s so simple, right? In this case, yes, it is simple. Unless I end up stranded on an island with no shoes and inserts, but my guess is in that scenario I may have worse problems than my ankle. (I mean, what are the chances I will find my Wilson to keep me company? Castaway of course.)
I digress. So what happens when you have a surprise memory attack? You are walking along, feeling happy, whistling (or humming because I can’t whistle) and BAMMM!!! Shooting pain from your brain. For some reason, a memory has surfaced. You don’t know what brought it on, but now it’s camped out and you can’t insert plastic into your brain to make it go away.
To be honest, depending on the memory, sometimes I like to crawl right inside it and let it swallow me up. Because if I dig through the part that hurts the most, I find the happy moments, and I just want to live there awhile. I know it sounds a little strange, but sometimes the pain makes me remember I’m alive. I might fear that surprise attack and use a mental pirate limp hobble to avoid it, but when it attacks again, I feel less crazy because the pain reminds me that I felt something real. I didn’t imagine it.
Still, we do have a choice. And no, it’s not as simple as inserting plastic into your brain (not a viable solution). It’s also more difficult than shaking it off. You need the strength and desire to escape from under the cover of it. What we can allow ourselves to do is feel the pain, remember it means we are living, and be grateful for all the memories we have because they make up who we are. Then start walking forward again until the next surprise attack hits.