Pain & Art


If you follow this blog, you know I have been in the recent past posting approximately once a day–a throwback to my old newspaper days when I was under a daily deadline, sometimes multiple daily deadlines. When writing was done under the gun, under the threat of keeping or loosing your job. And when I went from posting sporadically–once a month sometimes twice a month–to posting constantly, my following began growing, and I began meeting a lot of really neat people online.

The blog became fun.

But, you have probably noticed I have gone eerily silent. My teaching job dried up over the summer. Limited to one class and two paychecks, I took a weekend gig at a T-shirt factory. The job is easy. I like the people I work with, and they are proud of their product and their work. But three days a week, twelve hours a day standing on my feet and all of a sudden I have found my body racked with pain. Well, just my legs. My left leg in particular. I can barely stand. I have crawled to the bathroom and have felt shame about the inability to do basic daily activities, like washing dishes or making dinner. On the Fourth of July I sat in a chair and watched my wife and children walk downtown to the fireworks. I remained behind, drinking Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade to try to deaden some of the pain so I could sleep.

The pain, the inability to walk, sent me to the doctor. Again. I have had off and on chronic persistent shooting pain in my left leg since my late twenties. I remember working at a packaging and delivery warehouse. We worked six hour shifts early in the morning and by the end of workday, I hobbled to my car, soaked in long hot baths, and went to the doctor then too. Was told the pain was imaginary. All in my head. That would not be the last time a doctor would not believe me. When I went to the doctor this time, a few weeks ago, my foot was turned more left than it should have been in a very unnatural position. My doctor got me in to see a specialist the next week. They gave me a brace, which makes the pain better but still not bearable.  Before the brace, on a pain scale from 1 to 10, I was at about a 15. After the brace, I’m at a 10.


There is talk about possibly fusing bones. Which involves surgery, five screws drilled into my ankle and twelve weeks of recovery. I don’t know if this will happen. Don’t know if insurance will even cover the operation. I have a follow up visit early August. We’ll see, and in the mean time I am in immense pain.

You would think that all of this sitting around would be an opportune time to write. Work on my novel, my blog. But I can barely think. On the Fourth of July whim, without giving much thought to what I was doing, I asked for help, to keep my site current with fresh content and the response has been–well, the response has made me smile and forget about the pain for a little bit.

Over the next several weeks–probably through the rest of the summer because that many people have stepped up–I’ll be posting guest blogs, a hodgepodge of great stuff from growing up in a small town to author interviews, book reviews, microcephaly…

The list goes on.

The experience has been very Amanda Palmer-ish.

And I have seen her Ted Talk before. Have watched her talk several times, and never understood exactly what she was saying until now.

So, thank you for sharing your stories with me.

On Friday, we begin with author Kirsty Ferguson. She has interviewed herself, which is a way cool concept. How many people can say they have interviewed themselves? And it was certainly a fun read too. Looking forward to posting it on Friday.

Photo Credit

2 thoughts on “Pain & Art

  1. Very sorry to hear of your pain, Steve. I’ve been in something of your shoes and know it isn’t fun. Not one bit.

    Thinking of you and hoping the docs find something to help you very soon.

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