Friday, 31 January 2020
Even before I awaken every morning, my mind is aware of the pain and heaviness with which I'm burdened.
Still, I rise.
I get out of bed carefully, make sure I can sense that I’m standing, and then shuffle off slowly to the bathroom, using the walls and furniture as support. Never once do I think of staying in bed. My heart is always at school, with the children and the work that I have prepared so carefully for each day.
By the time I have dressed, eaten breakfast and gathered my things for school, the adrenaline has me in the car. Nick drives me to school every day because I’m not allowed to drive anymore.
When I get out of the car and walk into the school yard, I pretend to be okay – in case someone is watching. Then I climb the stairs and walk into the staff room, ready for the staff meeting, twenty minutes before it’s due to start. I greet Rienie (she’s always there first) and sit down with a sigh. I watch my colleagues walk into the staff room. I especially look at their feet.
I never sit down to teach and my timetable is quite full. So, standing for eight teaching periods is the order of most days. When I hear the last bell, I always sigh with relief. Then I try to walk to the front gate and get into the car without attracting too much attention. I climb in and Nick’s empathy is evident.
Most of my afternoons, I sit. Then, I try my best to help with dinner. Most of every evening, I sit.
After a relaxing bath before bedtime, Nick starts to massage my calves and feet. He knows exactly what to do to get rid of the heaviness and it helps to ease the pain. It’s the only way I’m able to sleep.
I fall asleep almost immediately. Sometimes I sleep for an hour. Sometimes I sleep for two hours.
I wake up as soon as the heaviness and pain return. It’s very hard to fall asleep again, but eventually, after hours of lying in bed, I do.
Wednesdays become slow days. Thursdays are an effort. Fridays are my especial days in hell.
The doctors have said that I can’t continue teaching. I can’t imagine sitting at home wallowing in self-pity all day.
My faith should carry me through, but my mind makes me stumble. The insecurity of not knowing what will happen next makes me suffer another day on my feet.
One day, I will have no pain. I will walk, dance, run, climb, jump and skip without effort. Until then, I can only pray for the strength to endure.