NUDGE: Making Friends With Our Ailments

The past two weeks have been challenging and unproductive. I’ve been fighting a kidney stone—or perhaps stones or smaller pieces of something larger. Dull aching became a constant companion, although the worst of the physical pain seems to have subsided now. Instead, I feel so tired all of the time; that, though, could simply be an end-of-January malaise, especially with all the gray skies and snow we’ve had in southeastern Ohio.

The stone is still making itself known, although now it’s more irritating than painful. Needless to say, I’d like the little bugger to vacate my body, but these things seem to follow their own cycle. The first kidney stone I ever had, three years ago, took over six months to pass. Fortunately, it bothered me only at the very beginning and the very end. On the other hand, and ironically, I passed a pinhead-sized stone the night before this bout started. That one caused me no discomfort at all.

I’ve heard and read new age and holistic health gurus say we should make friends with our body’s afflictions. Love your boils! Show your sore joints you appreciate them, despite all the misery they cause you. Well, maybe.

So, join me in this prompt: Choose a physical ailment, some affliction, large or small, that has caused you discomfort; make friends with it in writing. Compose an ode to your hangnail. Post a sympathetic tribute to your busted toe. Get intimate with your toothache. Tell your bumps, aches, abnormal cells, unresponsive sexual organs that you’re glad they’re part of your life. Credit them with teaching you something you never would have known before. It’s in the same category as “love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.”

Here are some initial rough lines dedicated to my rambling kidney stone:

It must be a difficult route, squeezed and limited,
quite lonely. How claustrophobic you must feel
in that spaghetti-thin tube. I do feel sorry for you.
Do you miss the kidney’s protective embrace?
Do you wonder how this is all going to end?

I’m trying to make it easier for you. I’ve quenched you
with quarts of clear water, bathed you
in fresh-squeezed lemon juice, warmed your environment
with heating pads and hot baths. I hope you know
I understand: it isn’t your fault. You would have chosen
an easier way if you could. I don’t blame you
for scraping a path through my body
with your sharp, gravelly being. We’re both victims
at the mercy of a larger, savage power.
Let us be friends. We’ll lie down together.
I’ll sing you a little lullaby
if you would just let me sleep in peace.


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One Response to NUDGE: Making Friends With Our Ailments

  1. Bill says:

    You should find a urology group’s website to sell your ode to! Maybe put it on a billboard? 🙂

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