Day 20 – Rest & Reflection #2

If you wonder why I’m going on this Camino, here is a great blog post that expresses it better than I can. Enjoy.

bill bennett

Every morning for nearly three weeks now, I've got up before sunrise, in the freezing cold and the dark, I've put on my boots, I've hauled on my backpack, and I've set off to walk some 20-30kms that day, which will get me incrementally closer to a place called Santiago de Compostela.

In the gloom, and as the sun rises and it begins to get lighter, I see ahead of me a beeline of several dozen others like me. I turn and see more behind me.

Elsewhere along this well trodden path of some 800 kilometers, at this same moment, thousands of people are doing the same thing – we're all following little yellow arrows pointing us towards a distant cathedral on the west coast of Spain, where supposedly lie the bones of a Saint.

We're all walking the Camino de Santiago.

Why?

That's the question I ask myself each…

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Camino minus 22 – the X-Ray-ded edition, with a special warning for the faint of heart

Knowledge is power.

I mentioned yesterday that I had gone to the lab to get medical work done. I realize I’m not as young as I once was, although my Wii Fit instructor/avatar seems pleased as punch with the shape I’m in.  But in preparation for this trip,I knew I’d better find out anything and everything that’s wrong with my health before I go.

I especially wanted to make sure my leg is in good shape. Several years ago, I broke one of the most break-resistant bones in the body – the femur. The thigh bone. I did it snowboarding.

My DH had sent me off that morning with a cheerful “Ha,ha, don’t break your leg!” Well, within one hour of getting to the mountain, I was face down in the snow, unable to get up. Never having broken a bone before, it was an unusual experience.

Also, being in Japan and not speaking the language, it was especially unusual. I think the “rescue” people thought I was just an old American lady slacker, whining over nothing.

OK, here’s the warning. I’m OK with these x-rays of my leg. But others have turned slightly green at the sight. If you tend to turn green, I advise you to scroll down and avert your eyes for a bit.

Otherwise, here are some of the x-rays taken 9 hours after the accident, when I finally got to a hospital:

Side View - OUCH!                        Front View

Ouch.

No problem, though. The American military doctors were excellent. I never had a cast of any kind. Three tiny one-inch scars. My care was wonderful.  And, although I was NOT HAPPY at the time, the Air Force physical therapists had me out of bed and very gingerly back on my feet the next day.

      Kathy5                        Repaired, see the original break towards the top right.

As I recall, the PT to get the strength back in that leg was much more painful than the break.

Thanks to my PT wizards, my recovery was swift. Within a week, I was very carefully getting around on crutches, and, within months, had climbed Mount Fuji, pain free (except for the pain of climbing Mt Fuji, but that’s another story).

However, years later, the site of the break  occasionally gives me a little discomfort. So, I wanted to take a peek inside, before the trip, to make sure nothing weird was going on.

I suspected the discomfort was caused by my simply being out of shape and my poor muscles not being able to handle stress. But for an 800 km walk, I needed to  be sure it was just me failing my body, not technology failing me.

Well, I saw yesterday’s  x-rays. They looked excellent. Even better than they did years ago. No slightly jagged edges where the original break had been, everything looking clean and smooth, like a normal bone, just with a giant nail running from top to bottom. The medical people call it a nail, I think it looks more like a sewing needle.

The metal does not set off airport security.

So, one more hurdle jumped over. The leg is in technologically good shape. I can’t blame anything but my own laziness and “junk in the trunk” for any aches and pains.

Thanks to those amazing military doctors, nurses, and therapists, not to mention the craftsmen who kindly put in hours building structures so I could get around our house, I’m no worse off than before.

All of their names will go with me on my Camino, on a slip of paper, so I can remember them in my prayers along the way. My prayer list will be long, as I remember how blessed I am.

A big hug to my DH.

And, no, I no longer go snowboarding.

Camino minus 23 – Too Late

This is going to be quick. Several things have happened today and it’s just been busy.

1. Went to the doctor to get blood work and x-rays – no problems, just want to make sure everything is in good shape for the trip.

2. The shoes I wrote about a few posts ago came in. I barely had time to open the box, much less try them on. Tomorrow. I promise.

3. Found a new place to get really fine coffee. And I needed some this morning because I had to do the starvation thing before I got that blood work drawn (don’t eat for 12 hours, etc.), which I didn’t get done until about 1 p.m. No coffee until after lunch? Grrrrr. Found out too late that black coffee would have been fine.

4. IKEA didn’t have the stuff I was looking for.  BLAH   😛    (Are people still allowed to use manual emoticons?)

5. I learned that the library cannot keep track of the books I borrow (I knew that, of course; I was around for Bush II when librarians took the lead in standing up for privacy) but I can!!  Good news because I always borrow about 2,000 pages worth of books from the library each week, knowing that I can realistically read maybe 20 pages in that time. But I’m addicted to the “new non-fiction” book shelf at the library. Now I can keep track of the books I don’t get to finish.

6. I had the most delicious pasta shells caprese at a snack bar on base. A new addiction.

7. Writing is more fun sometimes than watching Star Trek re-runs.

Sorry. I had hoped to make this a tidy list of ten but I can only come up with seven. This may be God’s way of telling me to call it a night.

8. Discovered that emoticons are a fun way to drive your spell check crazy.And that spell check cannot handle an emoticon with a tongue sticking out.

Camino minus 24 – a Heavy Religious Dilemma

A recent, non-scientific  survey found that the majority of  people who walk the Camino Frances believe they and their fellow pilgrims are walking for religious reasons. However, it also found that the overwhelming majority do not attend religious services on a regular basis.

Curious.

I finally got to the local English language Church, which I had been told about a while ago yet never made it to because, well, who knows why.

When DH and I go to Mass, it is on base, a hefty distance for busy people like us to travel (too busy for God??!!)  Since most of the people who attend Mass on base seem to live on base, I feel disconnected with the parishioners. Since I don’t work on base and do not have children who go to school on base, I have little in common with them. I don’t run into them during the week, I don’t go to the same places they go, I don’t shop at the same stores.

Of course, Mass is about you and God, not you and the people around you, but it’s also a community effort. And, after a year, I feel like an outsider.

So, I was looking forward to this local Church. I was a bit taken back, however, to discover that this Church is –  dare I say it – Anglican!! Heavens! Heathens!!

Nevertheless, since I had raced out of the house to get there on time, I went in. It was a lovely, warm, friendly service, about 40 people of all ages and, different from my parish back in Virginia, lots of young adults, not so many wrinkled faces (not that there’s anything wrong with wrinkled faces, mind you, being a proud owner of one myself).

I had been to the local Roman Catholic Cathedral, right downtown, and asked about English language services in the area and hadn’t gotten an answer I could understand. This nearby Church was my last great hope.

The Anglican service is very similar to the Roman Catholic service – same structure, same prayers, same sacrament, same scripture readings.

But, Catholics are not allowed to partake of sacraments in Anglican services.

Darn you, Henry VIII!!!

The survey I mentioned earlier said that many of the pilgrims on the Camino felt left out of many of the pilgrim Masses they had been able to attend – they didn’t understand what was being said, and/or they couldn’t participate. That sense of loss and longing is one the Church struggles to address and correct. After all, the purpose of the Camino to Santiago de Campostella is to arrive at the Cathedral in Santiago de Campostella, the final resting place of St. James, a pretty holy, Catholic,  place.

Yes, I know about the ongoing questions of “who is REALLY buried there, how can it REALLY be St. James,” etc. However, belief  and faith are what it’s all about, right?)

Maybe my pilgrimage will find a local parish in Germany for me to attend?

It’s a strange day for me to be pondering these questions. Today is my Dad’s birthday, who passed away two years ago.  He was not a religious man, but his mother, my Grandmother, certainly was. Her Catholicism was strong but not overpowering to me, as a child. It was a source of mystery and strength, just the things an immigrant family needed in a new culture. You could always depend on it being there for you. Why Dad didn’t pick up on it is a mystery to me!

And I love being Roman Catholic. I love the rituals and the ability to question. I love the legacy of learning and the charity. In Venice a few months ago, I loved going to daily Mass at the  Church around the corner ( you know it was Catholic) and participating, even though I couldn’t speak a word of Italian. It was a beautiful place and a beautiful feeling. They had an English service every Sunday, and DH participated as one of the lectors.

IMGP1724

Here, locally, something is missing for me.