Live with it and a Zen View

“Live with it.” – Dr. —

I was anxious, sitting in the examination room, holding internal conversations with the skeleton standing in the corner, all smiley and friendly, and creepy.

It was a conflicted time. I didn’t want to go through spinal surgery again, yet was hoping for the problem to get fixed. Right, fixed. Like a car. Here you go, just like new! The pain is exquisite, intense, and not exactly “tolerable.” I haven’t been all Zen like and able to “accept the pain.” (I am a miserable Zen person. Real Zen People do shit like, accept the pain, be as one with the pain, or just notice the pain. Very admirable! Very Brave! I know they do this because it says so in all those self help, Zen like, here’s how to be in life, books. Me? I swear a lot and cry. Maybe I’m a Be-ist?)

The nurse came into the room and told me Dr S– was at the nurses station looking at the MRI and the X-ray I had done earlier.

Dr. — is brilliant, direct, and wore a distinct mantle of someone who has seen so much in life that they are compassionate by default. We adulted our way past the introduction, and he said he remembered me. (Actually he said “everybody.”) We sat together looking at what’s left in the area that generates the most pain, everything is compressed and the beautiful geometry and movement encapsulated by the humans spine looks broken and disintegrated.

“I could go and add some support, but it won’t do anything,” he said, as he looked closer at the damage. Then he turned to me and said, “I kill people you know.” I am taking it for granted that he was referring to the rate of loss of such intense and dangerous surgeries. (Or, an admission from a serial killer that I missed. If it’s that one I’ll never live it down when it hits Facebook.)

We went over symptoms, muscular atrophy, debilitating pain, increasing weakness, and loss of motor control in the arms. How charming, you know? So what can be done?

He turned and looked me in the eye, shrugged, and said in the kindest way, “Live with it.”

(Full disclosure, I distinctly heard the words, Fuck Me!, ringing in the background. I mean what kind of Buddhist uses that kind of language anyway? I must be a Be-ist.)

I get that, I really do. Or at least pretend to. We’ll see. Some things just are, period. Particularly when it comes to physical limitations. We can’t all be skiing down the slopes, working out, or running marathons, some of us are going to be doing something just as significant, brave, and meaningful. We live with the hand life deals. And the more age experienced I become, the more I’m understanding the incredible bravery of those who “Live with it.”

I will live with it, adjust, recalibrate, engage, and evolve, It’s not really a choice, but a commitment to experiencing this gift of life as long as I possibly can. And one never knows, possibilities and probabilities are endless.

Another day of opportunity and caring.

Bryan Wagner

(If you find this helpful, please share!❤️)

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