By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

Part 1 – Spiritual Journey Toward Addiction Recovery

Chapter 19

Wash the Pain From My Soul

A week, 10 days, 15 days, then 17 days go by and I’m thinking these staples sure hurt and I’m noticing a green discharge through the bandages. I never got a call out to come to medical to remove them so I went to the clinic at a lunch meal. I told the nurse on duty that I clearly heard the surgeon tell me the staples were to be removed in a week or ten days and here we are at 17 days, so she would either take the staples out right now or I would pay someone to do it in the unit. So they take me in the back and the P.A. decides to use this as a teaching moment to show another P.A. how they remove the staples. The flesh has already begun to grow over the staples so he has to nick the flesh to get to them. This was painful, but they grudgingly took them out and washed the wound with peroxide for the first time since the surgery.

By this time I was back to work but had been given a “sit down” job where I am still to this day. I went on about my daily life, working in the day, building jewelry at night, and trying to plan for my future. The weeks went by and the incision still wouldn’t close. Green pus kept coming out and it just plain hurt, so I went back to medical and the nurse practitioner took a culture of the discharge. Turned out I had a staph infection in my spine. It was pretty deep, so they immediately put me on some super antibiotics.

The first course didn’t work so they rushed me out to the neurosurgeon to look at it. When I told him I had gotten absolutely no wound care or dressing changes he was visibly shaken. I believe his exact words were, “What the hell is wrong with those people?” He tells me the situation isn’t good and said he would try 5 more days of the oral antibiotic and if that doesn’t work he will have to admit me to the hospital to fight the infection as it could be doing irreparable nerve damage. So we do the next five days of these super antibiotics and they seem to work. The wound starts closing up and not leaking the green nasty anymore.

Then several months down the line from the surgery, like November, I started having another problem. My legs would just go numb for no reason and I would fall. Sometimes a pain shot thru me that even forced a release of urine, not a lot, but enough that I knew this was not right. At first I figured it was just part of the healing, but finally I went to the doctor through sick call again to ask about it. He first said it could just be healing and that can take months.

When the doctor heard this I suppose he immediately scheduled me for a return visit to the surgeon. A week or so later we’re at the sweat lodge and the chaplain comes out calling my name. They want me at the lieutenant’s office, so I go up there and they inform me I’m going on a medical trip. By this point my trust level is nil; I’m sick of the bad treatment, I’m sick of the lack of after care, and I sure don’t want any more medical mistreatment. I’m just not willing to go through whatever they have in mind and get another infection.

So I refused the medical trip, signed the refusal and went back to the sweat lodge just in time for G. to conduct the ceremony and to partake in it. After all the hassle they had been putting me thru I needed the cleansing and the healing in the one place I knew to get it – in the sweat lodge, praying to the Creator for others and letting the raw and pure power of prayer soothe and wash the pain and anguish and negativity from my soul and being.

Yes, I badly needed the old ceremonies and connection to Creator at that point in time. I knew I wasn’t fixed, my back wasn’t right and the deterioration in my spine was getting worse, not better. Eventually the numbness did get better, but I was just not strong enough to face what it might take in here and at this place to fix it. Since I had been here at Talladega, several people had died due to misdiagnosis or lack of proper treatment in a timely manner, and I didn’t want to die. I had too many unfinished plans.


Verse 1.
 If you don’t like the way the world is,
 Then change it, just change it, 
 But do it one act at a time...

Verse 2. 
Don’t be afraid of the way you feel,
You’re the one at the potter’s wheel,
So mold it how you want.

And it won’t hurt,
And you won’t feel pain,
And in the end it could change the game...

Verse 3.
Let’s start with a random act of kindness,
Send hate and anger into blindness,
Sacrifice for the betterment of others ,
Remembering every homeless person has a mother. 

Stop what you’re doing,
And lend a hand,
Pitch in and clean up,
For your fellow man.

So if you don’t like the way the world is, 
Then change it, just change it,
But do it one act at a time...
Yea, if you don’t like the way the world is,

Then change it, just change it, but do it one step at a time....

Then Change It lyrics © Steven Maisenbacher (Walks on the Grass)

Published by Sings Many Songs

I'm an 80-something child of the great depression and WWII. Throughout my life I have been a seeker, an outsider, never quite belonging anywhere, still always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A lifelong student with many interests and a love of writing and editing, my elder's path led to encouraging and assisting some remarkable people to write out their amazing stories. This calling became the magic elixir that keeps me growing, keeps me alive.

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