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At the liquor store the other day I was eyeing up the tiny bottles of booze wondering which one would best suit the occasion 9am Monday morning when I would bring my foot back to the physical therapist. I chose none and instead went home and dug out my copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step, what I think of as the monk’s guide to meditative breathing.

I am having a little post-traumatic stress I suppose, because the thought of going back to the physical therapist and handing him my foot inspires alcoholic-like behavior. I have great appreciation for the guy who has patiently helped me get my torn-tendoned foot back in action over the last year, so we must all agree that my fear of him is surely fleeting.

It started last week when he blithely applied a metal tool to the scar on my ankle and pressed into the tissue to help break up areas that still are uncomfortable. Problem is I needed the breathing techniques of childbirth to tolerate the shooting pains he produced. We agreed to keep going but afterwards I felt traumatized! He’s great. I love him. He’s helped me so much, but I was afraid to go back!

I did go back and as is the way with this guy, we talked. I always need talking. We laughed as I stalled with questions about anything rather than try it again. We agreed to go slower, to take breaks, to check-in. I read my book and breathed my breaths and although it was bad, not quite as bad as before. And I did not even think of drinks.

Earlier today it occurred to me to do like I did in childbirth and actually invite the pain. We all agree it is getting me to where I want to go…to a foot free of discomforts. Maybe, no promises, but maybe tomorrow I will surprise my clinician and show him I can welcome the blistering spikes he knows how to create, that we both want for me to get better.

That’s why I like this guy so much, he’s always game for whatever I bring him, no matter what.

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