Touch: The Journal of Healing




    by Sarah Bigham


My mother-in-law and I speak of trading in our bodies for newer models with working parts.  I once toured an automotive training center and marveled at the warehouse full of young people determining the exact nature of a vehicle’s problem by hoisting it on a lift or connecting it to a computer.  Years ago I was dispatched to the repair center to pick up my sister’s car.  The air conditioning had stopped working and in less than an hour, the technician identified the uncommon problem.  A beanie baby had been stuffed into a vent, blocking airflow and causing an odd sound.  Removing it solved the issue completely.

I have been displayed on endless examination tables and hooked up to heart monitors, IVs, and ultrasound machines, but the fix is never clear.  I continue to overheat and conk out and lose traction.  The doctors shake their heads and walk away.  I think I scare them.  I am often dismissed so it falls to another to diagnose me and he cannot do it either and looks down, murmuring something low when I ask, “Well, if it is not X and it is not Y, then what the hell is it?” He huffs out of the room importantly.

Maybe I need a good mechanic.


Losing faith that I can ever get well and wondering how I will exist through one more day, one more hour with this gouging, soul-crushing pain, I visit one more clinic to see one more group of specialists whose crowded appointment book has one miraculous opening.  I have endured so many tests – been poked, palpated, and probed – endured insinuations, injections, and rejections.  I have driven for hours, crossing through states, tamping down my expectations.  I wait in an oddly-shaped room with immaculately clean walls.  The others may be weak, but I am strong, shapeshifting in preparation for the inevitable desertion.  And then they say, “We are not afraid of you or your pain.”

“We’re here to help you.”

© 2016  Sarah Bigham

Sarah Bigham reads, teaches, and writes in Maryland where she lives with her kind chemist wife, three independent cats, an unwieldy herb garden, and several chronic pain conditions including interstitial cystitis.

Copyright © 2015

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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