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Week of March 11, 2015 - Trauma Care, Part Five, contd.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 4:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Trauma Care in the Wild, part 5

Story medicine is central to the Wise Woman Tradition, which heals by nourishing, because story is a kind of nourishment. And, as with anything we use for nourishment, there are “junk foods” in story medicine, too.

Blame, shame, and guilt are the junk foods of story medicine. Unfortunately, many of us were raised on this junk, fed to us by parents, teachers, religious figures in our lives, and even our friends. We have internalized their voices, and now heap shame and blame and guilt on ourselves. . . especially when we are in an accident or get sick.

The predominant story about health in our culture is that you are never supposed to get sick or injured. If you do, something is wrong with you (shame and guilt), or you are the victim of someone else’s bad intentions (blame). These ideas have deep historical roots and lots of modern offshoots. The Heroic Tradition is exceptionally fond of blame, shame, and guilt. If you are sick, you did something to cause it; if you are injured, there is a lesson to be learned – or so they would have us believe.

I asked my mentor Elisabeth Kubler Ross why people blamed themselves for their accidents, their cancer, their terminal diagnosis. “Because guilt is preferable to chaos,” she replied with a sad smile. “The world we inhabit is fundamentally chaotic. Bad things can just happen. We aren’t in control of everything.” she continued.

When Eaglesong pulled me up out of the river, I did not blame myself, the rock, the water, or anyone or anything. Blame looks backwards, to a time that we cannot change. Affirmations take us into the future, into a time that we can change.

Affirmations take the place of blame, shame, and guilt. They help us avoid looking for the reason we are hurt.  Affirmations short circuit our desire to blame. Affirmations lead the way to a new story.

 “My body heals rapidly and well.”

And it does. Now eight weeks since the injury, most of the swelling has receded, say 99 percent. I have stopped using ice packs and I wrap my wrist with a comfrey poultice only once or twice a week. I apply arnica oil or St. Joan’s wort oil or comfrey root ointment twice a day. I am able to bring in firewood, though mostly left-handed. I can hold two pounds unassisted in my injured hand. I can finally type with two hands. I can’t milk with my right hand yet, though.

Next: Rebuilding muscle mass and strength. Looking for a physical therapist.  To be continued. . .

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