Different people respond to stress in different ways. I hurt myself. I turn into this blundering, woebegone Charlie Chaplin who bumps and bumbles through the day. I fall up the stairs, tumble out of chairs, or ram into pieces of furniture. I spend a great deal of time looking at my bruised body and mumbling, “Where did that come from?” I don’t know why I have this response to stress, but it’s dogged me as long as I can remember.
I can spend an afternoon showing off various scars that testify to the clumsiness that plagues my life when my mind spins with preoccupation. Anything that generates heat becomes my enemy. When calm, I can iron without worry, but the moment tension enters into the room, the iron finds a way to fall against my arm, or I manage to “press” one of my fingers. A little strain in my life means I must avoid the curling iron unless I want to display my warrior markings.
About a month ago, I strained my left arm. The day-in-day-out repositioning of Mom tugged at my shoulder muscles and irritated my elbow joint. I’ve taken care to rest whenever possible, iced down the sore muscles, and resorted to Tylenol (or wine) whenever the discomfort peaked into the pain zone. My care paid off, too. Each day I’ve ached less and enjoyed more movement.
Pulling myself off the injured list proved extremely short-lived. Yesterday, hands submerged in warm sudsy bubbles, I absentmindedly washed dishes. My attention drifted to gazing outside the window instead of paying attention to my task. I sensed David leaving something on the counter, but didn’t pull from my wanderings enough to register the fact that he’d set a pan, hot from the stove, into the pile. Needless to say, I will soon have another scar to brag about.
Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman