A Big Toe and A Moral Dilemma
Thursday, August 30, 2007

The internet is a wonderful thing. Some days I read a lot of marshmallow fluff, light and airy posts with little substance, easily forgotten as soon as something new and shiny shows up on Bloglines.

Other days, it's all meat and potatoes, and I end up with an endless stream of bookmarks and Keep It New's in my queue. One can only digest so much at a time.

Lately, it's been like Sunday Night dinner everyday. I've read many good, thoughtful posts, so many that I can't even remember where I read it. One on a woman who burned her foot; although she was no stranger to pain and suffering, it was the first time she had to go it alone - and was suddenly made aware of exactly how, and why, to unite her suffering to Christ.

I found posts on the greater good vs. the common good; on how to suffer well, on the medical ethics of discontinuing a treatment that clearly was no longer helpful at improving life but rather was just prolonging it. I remembered, and searched Google in vain, for an old story comparing a man in a coma with purgatory. I read this quote
When it is all over, you will not regret having suffered; rather, you will regret having suffered so little and suffered that little so badly.
-Bl. Sebastian Valfre
three times in three different places.

And then I woke up with a sore toe.

Suddenly, I am thrust into a tizzy of moral dilemmas. How best to honor God with this new suffering?

Should I not tell anyone, and suffer in silence, offering it up? But that does not reflect the reality that I am needed, must be mobile to keep the children safe, and ultimately leaving the wound untreated will increase our doctor's bill. Also, the fact that I am walking using only my heel in a strange, gimpy hop would probably tip off the family.

Shall I try my best to baby it along, staying off it, letting the family wait on me hand and foot? Or at least sit down when husband dear comes home?

How can I offer it up, if I am resting in front of the TV with my foot propped up? Should I offer up the fact that I can't suffer in silence, as St. Therese did with distractions during her rosaries? Am I simply justifying doing nothing at all, to evoke a holy feeling without a holy doing? Maybe I'll just turn the TV to LobsterWars, again, and offer that up. Pitiful, I know.

Perhaps some more information is needed. I often suffer from ingrown toenails, usually when pregnant. I've had the darn thing removed totally, once, but fortunately I was already on bedrest so chasing babies didn't add any problems. This time was a little different, in that I went to bed fine and woke up unable to put weight, or even touch, my foot. I've never had it come on quite so fast before! And it was ugly. Definitely infected.

I think about the children of Fatima, and St. Francis of Rome, who secretly wore hair shirts and put rocks in their shoes in order to suffer more for Our Lord. But where does
"rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" Col 1:24
end, and a serious sin against the fifth commandment begin?

I soaked it again when husband dear came home, and did sit around while he made dinner (frozen meatballs and jars of sauce). Walking definitely makes it worse - not just pain wise, but the swelling, and drainage too.

I made a doctor's appointment for this afternoon. Upon awakening, my toe feels much better, but I'm sure it's still infected. Even more worrisome, my joint at the base of the toe hurts more than the toe does. Did I strain it with my strange gait? Has the infection moved?

I have briefly considered cancelling my doctor's appointment, but I think I will keep it. If only the long three day weekend didn't start tomorrow! My choice is go to the doctor today, or, if it takes a turn for the worse, go to the ER on a holiday weekend. I think I'll just wince at the copay and offer that up.
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 8/30/2007 09:28:00 PM | Permalink | |