Pondering pain and its absence

People ask how my left knee is and I tell them it hurts.

It’s hurt a lot since November so it’s been a few months.

I haven’t had a sense of how much this matters until today. I was walking between meetings and thinking about a discussion I’d just had. Mulling it over in my mind, I was thinking of various responses I might make to a claim I’d disagreed with. Standard stuff for a philosopher who attends meetings and who often thinks about what she might have said after the meeting is over. “L’esprit de l’escalier” they call it.

And then it struck me. I was thinking and walking, together at the same time. Wow. It’s been awhile. When my knee really hurt I worked on breathing and on my gait so I wouldn’t trip, making it worse. The pain took up enough space in my head that walking seemed slow and pointless. I couldn’t enjoy the world around me. I couldn’t think about my work, my life. Even trivial things like what to cook when I got home were out of reach.

I feel like something is shifting. I joked the other day that it was either getting better or I was getting used to it. Now I think for sure it’s a bit of the former.

Thinking while walking, progress. I’m not making great claims to understand the world of someone who lives with chronic pain but I better able to understand now the cognitive space it takes up.

Thanks for the break, left knee. Really, thank you.

Photo by Peter Clarkson on Unsplash
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