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If There’s A Way Around, I’ll Find It

By Don Swinney | December 1, 2012

I am not a complainer. Only my familyand my closet friends know what I’m about to tell you. And when I see otherswho have real problems I feel apologetic for even mentioningmine. There are two kinds of pain – excruciating and chronic. One is bad, butusually short in duration. The other is not so bad, but can last 53 years. So I’ll put them in chronological order. Although I don’t want to try to convinceyou that I’ve suffered more than any other living human being, I do want toconvince you how to invent ways of dealing with chronic pain. I’m good at that.If there is a way around it, I will find it. {{more}} I began teaching and coaching at alittle school in West Texas in 1960. Early on, my feet began to hurt. At first,it was only my heels. Not to worry, I scooted down in the bet and let them hangoff, but alas, the relief was but short term. Throughout the next 50 years,there followed special arch supports, special shoes andfinally surgery. None helped. In addition to the pain, my feet began to burn. Back then, milk came in cartons. My wifefirst began to fill the empty cartons with water, put them in the freezer andfroze them. When I came home from a teaching job, I’d put my feet on them untilI couldn’t stand it any longer. The burning turned into freezing. Neither ofwhich is desirable. But ice gave me sometemporary relief. Then an orthopedic doctor suggested surgery. He cautionedthat it offered only a 50% chance of helping. At that time, I would have triedRussian Roulette if he had said that might help. It didn’t help. When I woke up with a plaster cast on myleg, I found out he didn’t do what he set out to do, so he decided to do theopposite thing. The doctor decided to fuse my foot by inserting two long pinswith threads in them. After two months of this, they attempted to remove thepins. After no medical tool would break them loose, they sent for the janitorwho might have a pair of regular pliers. He did. The medical man got up on the table and straddled me with his back toward me.Bearing down as strong as he could, he finally broke it loose. The screw wasabout four inches long and had grown to my foot. I felt every thread as is cameout of my foot. But there were two of them. I asked him about the second screw.He said, “Let’s wait a couple of weeks on that one.” I didn’t know whether tohug him or hit him. It sure did give me something to look forward to for thenext two weeks. When I got up off that table, both my clothes and the paper onthe table were soaking wet. I was working three jobs at that time. Itaught in a three story building. It sure was fun getting up and down thosestairs with crutches and a leg in a cast. But I never missed a day of teaching.At my Sunday job, I found it was very hard to preach sitting down. I set a barchair behind the pulpit stand. I would sit a while and stand on one leg for awhile.My third job was a business I had started makingchain link fences. But by now you know I found a way to do that too. My wifeand I worked this until she had serious female problems. We had a seventh gradeson that could take her place, even thought it was entirely against his desires.Partially to placate him, I made a deal with him. Wed make one roll aday, which would take about one to one and a half hours. I could write more,but more than years later my feet still hurt.

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