Today was the day she was having minor surgery on her big toe. Oh boy, she could not help but worry about the pain. She really hates pain. She has been tolerating it throughout her body for decades but her big toe…oh my, that was such an acute pain. She remembers when she was pregnant for her second child, she had a plantar wart under her big toe. Her doctor tried to remove it unsuccessfully with dry ice…OUCH…burrrrn!! Then she heard about a surgeon at a local hospital did this regularly. Why not? It would be over and done with for good since surgically the doctor would see the root of that sucker.
The needle to freeze her was brutal and the doctor lacked compassion. The weeks following were very uncomfortable. She could feel her heart beating in her big TOE! Thankfully she had her two-year-old son who brought a cane to her when she needed to get up. He was such a great helper all throughout her pregnancy.
Now today she kept thinking of that damn needle and it worried her. So what do you do when you have 5 hours to kill? — clean the apartment. May as well get it ship shape so when she returned if she needed to keep her foot UP, her place would be tidy and dust free.
She really liked her podiatrist. Last year when she was on the verge of burning out and her work refused her doctor’s letter for time off…she would go for a pedicure and cry throughout the appointment.
Today, she felt she would not need that kind of support and she felt much stronger emotionally. Nah, she would not be crying today.
The podiatrist pricked her toe once, twice and then three times. It hurt but she did it slowly, just like her dentist does. Yeah, she is special. After twenty minutes, the podiatrist returns ready to snip away but she could feel the knife…nope, one more needle here and then one more there. After a few minutes she tried and nope, the bugger still felt pain. Darn! After two more shots, she finally was able to get it done. And yes, her toe is quite big!
During the procedure she talked about how her work had celebrated a 30-year anniversary last night and yet she felt sad. She had read about a young boy who had ended his life despite having given all his friends virtual messages that he would no longer be in this world. His friends told their parents, but nothing was done. She could not help but think of him yesterday when they were cutting that anniversary cake. Somehow it did not feel celebratory.
Suddenly, she felt tears running down her cheeks. The podiatrist asked her if she may be suffering from PTSD hearing so many traumatic stories. “No,” she said, “I think today I was thinking of my friend whose son took his life 19 years ago today. I met her over ten years ago and I find when it is personal, close to me, it is harder to set boundaries.”
As she was doing her “thing” or “magic” on her big toe, she was thinking about Adam. Gee, 19 years ago is when she started working at this helpline. People often tell her how great it is what she does for a living. She cannot help thinking of the ones who did not make it and hope there will be a time where there is not one ounce of stigma on mental health. She dreams of a time where a complete medical check up includes a mental health check up and that when a youth misses school for a week or two or even months for mental health reasons, it is not misjudged but treated by society as a broken leg that gets treated, goes through physical rehab and in time gets strong and sturdy again. And for those fractures that may cause rheumatism and long-term treatment, that too will not be criticized.
After big toe procedure completed, she limped to the pharmacy to get some items and on her way back to the bus stop, she noticed her bandage somehow, just flew off in the wind. Good thing the bus came early! What a day!
Looking back on her day, she wonders if perhaps her work may be pulling on her heartstrings more and more in the past few years. The productivity is so overwhelming that now there may be casualties on both sides of the lines.
only keeping them at bay
putting out fires
“Hello, how can I help you?”
twenty wait in queue
only keeping them at bay
child abuse, grief, depression,
suicide taunts them
putting out fires
spreading like wildfire
one at a time
Who can see
beyond the flames?
© Tournesol ‘19/05/17
Daily moments all in a day’s work Troibun May 17 2019
Originally posted at StigmaHurtsEveryone