Ode To Dancing In The Rain


Yesterday I had to run errands. First I stopped at the tire place and asked if they could break the locks (or whatever they have to do) off my back tires, lest I get a flat tire and it can’t be changed. 

They told me it would be several hours wait till they could get to it. 

I’m still in the boot. I’m in pain when standing or walking. Or pressing the gas or brake in my car. I knew I couldn’t sit there with my foot not elevated for two hours. 

So I went to get groceries. Upon leaving the store, I was idling behind an SUV that seemed to take an interminably long time to ease out into traffic.

I’m sure time seems to yawn when your boot is pressing the brake and your stretched-out foot is screaming for you to let it go.

I finally hit my horn once. 

The guy got out of his car and came to my window. He didn’t look scary. He looked like Robert Redford in khakis. 

But when things like that happen, you tense up, wondering what will happen next.

He tersely asked me if his tail light was out. He was wound up like a top, I could see that. I told him no, I was in pain. 

He said he would move when it was safe to do so. And walked back to his vehicle. 

A couple was killed here some months ago for doing what I did. So I guess I’ll have to leave my horn untouched. 

When you’re in pain, as many of you know, you tend to breathe more heavily. Your lips get dry and you constantly lick them. You aren’t thinking as straight as you otherwise would, because pain takes precedence over everything. 

Chronic pain is debilitating. I don’t take medicine for it because there’s no way I’m going to take pain pills on a daily basis. 

They guy next door is having back surgery next week to have most of his spine fused. He stays in bed 18 out of 24 hours each day, he told me. 

I strive hard not to end up in that position. I will not let pain win. 

I want so badly to get the bathroom into shape. And I know, if the pain would let up for a reasonable amount of time, its frantic hold on me would lessen and I would get back to doing what I need to do. Or at least attempt to.

Spring sits just a few months down the road. Every year at this juncture, my mind is giddy with the prospect of getting outside and working in my gardens. 

I fear with the continued strain on my ankle, some of the joy I feel when working in the dirt might get postponed. 

I guess that scares me. 

Hell yes it scares me. I am a gardener. And a gardener gardens. 

Age is time passing. Arthritis comes with age and scar tissue. 

Arthritis steals your mobility. And pain is your nemesis. 

And the cycle goes round and round.

After the guy finally moved on out into traffic, I burst into tears. I had willed myself not to. But I guess I was due a little crying jag.

I was angry, but not at him. 

But at things you cannot change.

Well, maybe I was a little frustrated when I saw him walking so easily. Maybe I was a little jealous, I’ll admit.

My brain says get out there and dance in the rain. And my body stares at my brain like it’s crazy and says: “I cannot dance in the rain like I once could.”

I live alone and there are things I simply must get done. And so I just have to suck it up and do it whether my ankle agrees or not.

I am not the only person with pain. Of course I’m not. My pain stacks up to everyone else’s pain and we are equals.

I sometimes think I have the energy level I had at twenty. But my body will soon be sixty. And it is getting tired. 

I look at my youth and realize how precious were those days of having an able body that could run against the wind. 

One that could dance in the rain and feel no pain.

I had no idea that there would come a time when I would sit on the sidelines, my brain raring to go. But my body simply couldn’t keep up. 

The pupsters are aging as well. They limp and shuffle and look up at me as if to say: “In my head I’m just a puppy.”   

I don’t let myself dwell on things very long. I push through the constraints and move on. Because I didn’t want to get to my last errand of the day and have the pharmacist see my reddened face.

I have to remind myself that there was a time when my body was nimble, but I was living with someone I no longer loved. And that’s the loneliest of feelings. 

I have to remind myself that the sun came up every day, but for quite some time I did not feel joy. I felt defeat. 

I have to remember that time seemed to stand still, because every day in that situation seemed like an eternity.

I must not think about what I can’t do. But remember to be grateful for what I can do. 

Life goes on. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll dance in the rain once again.


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  1. I have chronic osteo-arthritis in my hands, knees and feet. Until just this winter, my hands have been the worst. Several of my knuckles are enlarged and I have lost strength in my hands. My hands and nails were always one of my features that I felt were pretty. Now, to me, they are becoming misshapen and ugly. Plus, painful and not as functional as they used to be. I took naproxin sodium every day for years and it worked very well, but finally, my stomach began reacting to it so I had to stop. For a while I took nothing, but the pain was so debilitating, I decided to talk to my family doctor about it to see if there was anything else I could take. I tried the first medication she prescribed, but it was not effective at all. Now I am on another one–both older drugs and not expensive. This one is more effective, but still not as good as the naproxin.

    One thing to try to address with osteo-arthritis is the inflammation in your body which causes the pain and stiffness and soreness. Pretty much that has to be addressed with diet. I've been through testing for food allergies as well as environmental allergies and I definitely can see a difference in my pain/soreness level when I eat things I'm not supposed to. However, I haven't ridded my body of inflammation, probably because I am not strict enough about eliminating those foods that I'm not supposed to eat. I continue to work on that.

    I do not try to "push through" the pain unless I absolutely have to. I think that only causes more stress to your system and increases the inflammation, therefore, the pain. I am not about to spend the rest of my life–I am 73 next month–suffering any more than I have to. I'm not resigned to that quality of life. I have too many things I want and need to do yet. And the depression from chronic pain isn't going to help me do them. So, my opinion is that it's more than okay to take some medication for pain. I am intrigued by the mention of marinol derived from the cannabis plant because my daughter has been telling me I should inquire about a medical marijuana certification. Then I could obtain it legally for pain. That isn't available in all states, but it is here in Michigan.

    Anyway, I do identify with the bodily issues of growing older. They suck, to put it crassly! And I'm sorry, Brenda, that you are having to deal with so much pain. But, there's no point in making yourself suffer. Please consider finding some pain medicine that helps and that you are comfortable taking. It's okay, really, it is.

  2. One of the previous comments mentioned a new medication that I am going to ask my pain management specialist about. I have severe arthritis in several areas of my body, but my knees are the most debilitating. Due to some other medical issues, I am pretty much limited to Tylenol. I have tried Tramadol, which works well for my Dad. For me it has often caused dizziness, or a couple of times when I tried it, it caused me to shake all over for a few hours, and didn't do much more for the pain than the Tylenol does.

    Before my bad knees I used to love to dance. Sometimes I still dream about dancing. When I wake up and am back to reality where I usually use a cane to walk any distance when doing errands anywhere, it is a bit disheartening. I'm still planning on planting my zinnias and other flowers this spring, and maybe I will get a new David Austen rose. My husband has been helping me more and more with the flower gardening. I'm thankful for that.

    Pain puts a whole different perspective on every aspect of each day for me. The biggest challenge is to manage my time to get stuff done around the house before I get worn out and to not get too grumpy when I do get worn out.

  3. I have seen people using devices to support their injured feet or ankles. If you google hands free crutch, and knee walker, you can find devices that let you move around with your ankle up off of the ground and not bearing any weight. The devices seem to be available for under $150, and can be ordered from places like Walmart as well as medical supply places. Granted, they are probably rather cumbersome to use and are one more thing to have to fool with, but it is an idea so far as keeping your ankle from having to bear weight on it. It's tough getting older, and dealing with aches and pains, but there are more devices to help us out nowadays, which is good.

  4. Brenda, I feel so bad, when I read that you have such pain. It just isn't fair, as you have a long life to live yet, and really hope it gets better for you. I am so grateful that,at age 77, I am able to do everything that I did when i was younger. So far, so good, I do get stiff when I work outside, weeding on my hands and knees,or standing at my craft table, making cards, or collages and working on art journals, my back will get stiff and sore. But it is only when I do these things, so it never last long. I do thank God, that I am able to do things I enjoy, and do it while i can, for one never knows what lies ahead. When we moved from a large home 4 years ago, we downsized because we knew a day might come, when we would be unable to go up and down stairs, mow two acres of lawn, or grow a large garden.So,our idea was to move, while we both were still healthy and also,still together, and able. I packed up so much stuff, had garage sales, sold big items, even had to sell my baby grand piano, carried boxes of stuff up and down steps, unpacked car loads, things I didn't want the movers to move, we loaded up a storage shed, and then unpacked much of that ourselves, Three different days in 95 degree heat. Ugh..the reason I say all this, that was 4 years ago, and I KNOW now, I could not do it today. So age does take it's toll, but again, I cannot imagine how you can do all the things you do, with all your ankle pain. You really amaze me with your all of the painting, moving and rearranging furniture around, now your bathroom, and decorated your entire patio, you take care of two dogs, taking them to the vet, even drive to your daughter's, which is out of your way, in a different area. And you still do all of this with such bad pain. You are truly a Superwoman,in my eyes, and I admire you, and know whatever is on your to do list, will be done, when the time is ready. I also believe you will be dancing in the rain….XOXO…

  5. Today's blog gave me hope. I have pain in my joints from arthritis.sometimes I cry because I want to do something but my body says no.I'm trying to find things to help me clean my house.I use my garden seat to sit and clean.I'm 64

  6. We all have days when we need a good cry, but your refusal to give up is the best antidote to your pain. Get those dancing shoes ready – I think once spring comes, you'll be dancing up a storm in your garden!

  7. I'm so sorry that ankle still bothers you. I'm sure it is hard to be patient with it hurting.
    I know I have really noticed a change in my energy level the last two years. I feel bad because I just don't feel like doing something all the time.
    Don't set you goals higher than you can reach. Aim low and take pride when you do more than expected.
    The poor neighbor. Fusions are so painful.

  8. So sorry you are in so much pain Brenda. I hope and pray you'll be able to find some form of relief soon. What a blessing that the other driver was somewhat civil and no harm was done. How are you doing today?

  9. What a beautifully-written entry. I'm sorry it came at the expense of your comfort though. I've been there. It WILL get better and you WILL dance in the rain if you so choose. It's also normal for it to mess with your head a little. I hope you feel all the love in these comments and it eases up a little. ♥♥♥

  10. Brenda, I don't understand why you wouldn't take something for your pain if you need it. I live with terrible chronic pain after two unsuccessful spine surgeries two years ago. I also have a neuromuscular disease that limits my movements and causes me great pain as well. I take prescription pain medication every 6 hours. I couldn't function or even have a life without it. There really is no need to be a martyr. Take pain medication if you need it!

  11. I do hate that you are still having to endure pain with your ankle. I will pray that your pain will be eased and that you will be able to complete the projects you want to get taken care of. It is terribly frustrating when our minds race so far ahead of our bodies and we are unable to keep up. Love and hugs to you sweet friend!

  12. Wonderful post. I can relate to everything you said. It is hard to grow older and our mind tells us we can "do it", but the body say, "oh no you can't!" I have been very blessed to have healthy body most of my life. But I had a fall a few years ago and tore my up my shoulder. After that surgery I have not been the same. Plus I have a damaged leg from the fall. Constant pain. And then add growing older on top of it all. Oh boy, what a life. But each day I try to be positive and think of all that I have and I am able to enjoy. Even when I have days I am in tears, I try to be grateful and positive. Life is a journey, we experience many things. I am just glad to be 69 years old, many people never make even to this age. Bless you Brenda. Hang in there you are an inspiration to many. Karie

  13. Oh Brenda, my heart truly goes out to you. I think many of us can understand what you are feeling as we ourselves are having our own issues. I have always thought of myself as a pretty healthy person until I started having breathing problems a few months ago. After several doctor's visits, referrals to a Cardiologist, and many really expensive tests, it turns out I am a heart attack waiting to happen. I, a person who is so against drug use, am now on a statin, and a couple of other things. Suddenly, (it feels like it happened overnight} I am no longer able to do all the great activities I always used to enjoy. The doctor will not release me to do any water aerobics, no weight lifting, only walking. I now have difficulty even lifting a laundry basket or carrying grocery sacks. I am drastically changing my diet and hope to massively lower my cholesterol, trying to force myself to take the required 30 minute daily walks in spite of the winter weather, (I hate rain and cold), I am trying to remain positive but it is difficult at times. I will pray for you and please pray for me as well.

  14. My husband gets the worse pain in his ankle. He finally found Pure Magnesium oil by Life flo that he sprays on it when it starts acting up. He uses it a few times a day and it has helped immensely unlike any over the counter medicine.
    I just love your blog. I've been following since you lived in Texas. I just don't comment often.

  15. I am sorry you had a rough time yesterday with doing your errands while in pain.

    I know you don't like to take meds, but maybe just taking an ibuprophen or something on your errand day would help you to be able to bear it.

    I have back and knee pain and I try not to take anything but if I know I will be out and about for more than grocery shopping and Target, or if I plan on doing heavy housework or yardwork, I will take an ibuprophen.

    So depending on what life brings, I could go weeks without any pills or have a week where I take one each day.

  16. It is hard to accept not being able to do physically what we used to do. I, too, sometimes just end up crying and it actually seems to help relieve the pain and stress, so I don't fight it when I feel the urge. I hope your pain eases up some very soon and you can get help in finishing your bathroom remodel.

  17. My old girl, Lily, was at the vet yesterday – she must have slipped the day before, she could barely walk. Yesterday she was better, but this morning I had to carry her down the stairs again. Scary. Poor thing, she's 14 1/2 and getting all sorts of aches, pains, itchies, etc. Sort of like me!

  18. Bless your heart. You probably don't know what an inspiration you are. I always see a reason to rejoice when I read your daily posts. You make that saying come alive, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". I'm sure that every life you touch comes away feeling blessed, even the angry guy in traffic. I wish you an early spring with a bounty of green and excited pupsters to play on the patio.

  19. Aging is not easy – I can't believe how long it takes me to get down on the sand to just sit and watch the waves.

    But, when the bad is weighed with the good, the good wins out.

    I wish you a good day my friend.

  20. I am sorry you are in pain, Brenda, it is not fun and it can be so debilitating mentally as well. I wish you pain free days my friend…

  21. "IT CAN'T RAIN ALL THE TIME." This phrase has been in my mind since Monday. Your post today had so many points that I am facing as well. A year ago I fell while hurrying in the rain and broke my left arm. It is healed but not the same. I always know when rain is on its way. Now my right elbow and wrist are affected by the weather. Arthritis runs in my family. Being mechanically challenged, some days are so trying. No, you don't have to be alone to be lonesome. Yes, I will do what my friend Brenda does. I will buy myself flowers TODAY. Hugs.

  22. Hi Brenda, I think there are so many of us that deal with daily pain from one source or another. Psychologically we DO need to stand firm about not letting "pain" (and all the junk that comes with it like anger, frustration, fear) change our personality and life. There are many new types of medication that are now out there that help with the pain that are not addictive. I have angina daily, but also nerve pain in my neck and head with a type of migraine headache. I take Tramadol daily and that's how I've been able to sort of get my life back. I'm still limited but at least I can drive and be somewhat productive. It's a generic form so it's very inexpensive. please check it out. You could feel like your old self again!

    1. I was on Tramadol as a preventative for migraines. I was told it wasn't a narcotic or addicting. But it is both. It's a form of opium. I had a rough time going off it. I never would have taken it had I know. Just be careful.

  23. I am glad you are pushing through your pain and trying to have good quality of life. Getting older and having pain is not for sissey's that for sure! Hope you can get your bathroom the way you want it.

  24. Oh Brenda, I wish your pain could be lightened, or gone completely. You are right as we age our bodies slow down, old wounds remind us that they are there. I too, deal with pain 24 hours a day, mostly related to this bone degenerative disease linked to my ulcerative colitis. I have been over medicated by medical specialists who write prescriptions without communicating with each other. I am blessed to have a primary care physician who has assumed the responsibility of managing my many diagnosis and prescriptions. I take lyrics and it has helped ease my pain but it has side effects that at times are equal or worse than my pain. I attended a group debate over the medicine called Marinol yesterday. It is a derivative of cannabis with the "high affect" removed and it seems to be an alternative to other chronic pain treatments. I constantly take Tylenol, aspirin, and naproxen, and on bad days I have hydrocodone which I am terrified of it becoming addictive. So I am going to ask my doctor for the generic form of marinol (dronabil) and see if it a better for me. I don't want to get political on the debate of cannabis, but for those of us fighting a daily battle with chronic degenerative bone disease imarinol is worth trying. I hope you find relief, these dark gloomy days are wearing on us all. Hug the pups tears and know that I understand your frustration.

  25. I hear you loud and clear about your body. I turned 75 last September and this is the first time I have felt "old" and my body can't do what I always want to. I do not like getting old. I look into the mirror and wonder who the person is looking back at me. I enjoy reading your blog so much and I envy your ability to write and express yourself. Hope your ankle is better today and your pain is less. Try not to worry about your bathroom – it will get there. Sending you ((((((((((hugs))))))))))

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