Saturday, July 26, 2008

Service with a Smile

I love helping people. It's just my nature and it feels good. I help strangers, friends, and family alike. But there is a terrible flip side to it. I don't let people help me. It's awful. People practically have to beg and even then I rarely concede.

Last Saturday I had an onset of sciatica. I cleaned my house all day and then went to babysit Rob's kids from 4pm on. Both jobs are strenuous. A side note - my arms are disproportionately short and since I am tall, most counter tops are too short for me and I have to hunch over them when doing dishes, cleaning countertops, etc, and this always excites my sciatic nerve. When I have sciatica, if I bend, lift, step, sit, or just move in certain directions I get a sharp pain that initiates from my butt-cheek and shoots around and down the front of my leg all the way to my toes. It can be excruciating.

The only way to treat sciatica (short of surgeries and other lengthy feats) is rest and symptom management while you rest. I knew this before Saturday, but because of my competition and my re-found love of running, I decided I could 'run through the pain.' GROSS MISJUDGMENT! It just kept getting worse, yet I just kept pushing it.

The pain is worse at night. It makes sense because I have been active all day and it catches up to me. Yesterday after work, Dillon and I went to Costco bought some heavy things and then went to Walmart to pick up some other things. We got home (about 8:30pm) and decided to unload the stuff we bought and go to a 9:30 movie. I busted out my Magna Cart and loaded it up. It was full and heavy, and that is another time I notice my short arms. In order to keep the cart tilted so it will roll, I have to scrunch down a bit. It can be quite uncomfortable.

There was one point in our trek to our apartment that I was pushing Dillon and pulling the cart up hill at the same time. The worst pain shot through the lower part of my body, my hand immediately clutched my ass, my mouth opened, and obscenities flew. After a moment I gained composure and shuffled, still with the cart, towards the apartment. A lady on the second floor was sitting on her balcony, and I am sure she saw everything. She called out to me, "Are you okay? Can I help you?"

Immediately I found myself taking bigger steps, moving my hand away from my backside and forcing my face not to grimace as I said, in the most pleasant voice I could find, "No, I am okay. Thank you though." I even smiled.

What the hell is wrong with me? I was not okay and I did need help. It would have been no excursion for someone who was not hurt. She would have been happy to help, yet I would rather hurt worse to act like I wasn't hurt just so I could refuse her service.

After some contemplation, I came up with some possible reasons I don't let people help me. I don't like admitting weakness in myself, and if I think I can 'run through it,' I do. I also am not used to being helped (I am the helper) and have a fear of burdening others. In some cases, (not last night though) I refuse help because I think I am the only one that can do it right. Sometimes it's valid, but I bet, more often than not, it isn't. I think this is a virtue that turned terribly wrong some time ago and is now a vice.

I know I need to and I want to improve on this, but right now as I type, just thinking about it makes me want to say, "No, I am okay. I don't need it." It's going to be a long row to hoe, but, another thing I decided some time back is, a form of service is letting others serve you. So here I go.


mamahawk said...

poor bunny :(

Sasha said...

hope you're feeling better.