This time, Eric couldn’t identify the cause, so he couldn’t come up with a treatment. And yet, even if the pain felt like a dull ache, when the time came to walking in the dining room with the crutch, I had to stop after a short while and switch to arm exercises. Eric agreed to my suggestion of heat and cold, adding to it the use of an ice pack after exercise. He didn’t think much about my idea of putting an insole in my shoes, but went and bought two. And when he was going to put them in, he discovered that the shoes already had one! So now I had four remedies for my ankle: heat before exercising, cold afterward, giving my ankle a break, and insoles in my shoes. So far, it doesn’t really look like they’ve taken effect – the pain comes and goes. But I’m somewhat optimistic; I’m hoping it will subside, and I’ll be able to go back to walking.
This shifting pain is a new problem for me. I’d been walking for more than a year without any kind of issue in my feet or legs, and I was feeling lucky because no pain had appeared to thwart my practicing. And here I was, unable to walk regularly right in the middle of my exercises. Eric dismissed my ankle pain saying that he couldn’t find a cause for it and it wasn’t sharp. Then, he gave his own nerve pain as an example: I should tough it out until it subsided. His response made me really mad. How could he compare my pain with his? How could he compare me, a brain injury survivor who couldn’t even walk, with him, a “normal” person? The gall!
Yet I should pay more attention to what Eric says. Actually, I should pay more attention to what others, the “normal” people, have to say. “Normal” people have a lot of experiences to share with me from which I can learn. No past experience, as rough as it was and as many disabilities as it caused, enables me to teach others, the “normal” people. No experience puts me in a position of exceptionality. As my nurse aid said when I asked her what I should do, if I should stop or continue walking, “babying” the foot because it was sore (in my case, because I’m scared of the foot’s getting worse and preventing me from walking, which would stop me from practicing) is the worse way of protecting it. It’s better to walk, even if I’m in pain (or, in Eric’ words, to “tough it out”), because that way, my ankle will heal.
Since I had the injury I’m scared of everything, and among these things, I’m scared of my pain’s getting worse and my being unable to walk, trapped in my bed. True. But I have to stop “babying” myself. And I have to stop finding reasons – which are actually excuses – to keep doing it. I have to step out of the position where my experience has put me, and thus giving up the advantage it gives me – the comfort it implies. I have to walk, no matter how, in order to be free as fast as possible.