Monday, February 28, 2005

If It's Broke, Fix It.

About a week ago, I tried to fix a broken closet door by standing on a pile of things which don't belong together. Of course it wasn't safe, and of course I fell. Using up at least three of my nine lives, I felt a sharp pain in my foot and looked down to see one of my toes askew. My first thought was to call for my husband who was sleeping on the couch, my second thought was to fix that toe--put it back where it belongs. I guess I'm just a fixer by nature. Needless to say, the toe stayed right where it was, jutting out rakishly and very sickeningly. My husband arrived and did the same thing, tried to put the toe back where it belonged. It was out of place. It was wrong. I asked him to stop because by then I realized that moving a broken toe around doesn't decrease the pain. In a very Stooge-like sequence of events, I made it to the emergency room with my toe at wrong angles to the rest of its mates. The events that followed are truly something directly out of a sitcom episode, but that's a story for another day. The X-ray showed the bone in my fourth right toe was indeed broken. The ER doctor said the best thing to do would be to tape it to toe #3 and asked if I wanted him to straighten it out first. Since both my attempts and my husband's had failed to put my toe back where it belonged, I figured it would be well to let someone with Novacaine and a medical degree take over. The shot of Novacaine was not a pleasant experience, but shortly the toe was numb enough for the doctor to pull and twist it back into some semblance of normalcy. Some tape, a walking shoe, a Vicodin Rx, a $100 copay and I was out the door on my own two feet. I spent the next two days icing my wounded toe and being waited on as much as my family would allow. There were still meals to cook and dishes to do, but I hobbled my way through as best I could. A visit to the orthopedic doctor a few days later assured me that my healing is on track. I need to wear my funky shoe for three weeks, keep #4 taped to #3, put my foot up when it hurts and await the X-rays to see if the doctor's work, my care and time have done the trick and healed my toe. The swelling and bruising are going down, and the pain isn't as bad as it was. I took my pain killers on schedule--ahead of the pain curve as the directions suggest. It's true, Vicodin kills some pain but creates a wakefulness that is both a deterrent to addiction and an opportunity to ponder. During one of my sleepless nights, I realized the older I get, the more I see that everything that occurs in my natural life has a spiritual parallel. On a different plane, that of my spirit, I have things that are broken and wounded. I can try to fix them myself or have someone else fix them. From the outside, it might even look better. But unless I go to the Great Physician and have him X-ray the problem, diagnose and then treat it, what is wrong inside will not be corrected. He may have to give me a cure that seems worse than what ails me. I know that Novacaine shot at the time hurt worse than breaking my toe, but it was for the purpose of making right what was wrong. If the doctor had left the bone twisted, I would have to deal with the future pain of a crooked bone. I may yet have to deal with the pain of having broken my toe, just as my wrist twinges from breaking it in high school. That's not the same thing as trying to walk on a toe healed wrong, though. If I don't follow the doctor's orders, my toe may not heal properly, just as my failure to follow through on God's prescriptions for me have left me half-healed and often worse off. I need to do two things: 1) bring my brokeness to God and let Him fix it; and 2) follow His directions for care after He begins the healing. Healing takes time. It always takes time. It can't be ignored by anethestizing or drugging it; it can't be shortcut. As much as I hate the thought of waiting for something to heal (my toe, my heart), there is no substitute. The Great Physician is the right man for the job, and I must trust Him and follow His orders to the letter if I want to be healed. Vicodin for the body and the soul is a short term fix, but I have to want more, to trust for more, to believe there will be a day when I can walk unassisted and without pain. It's not today. But that day will come.

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