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Soft Sickness

Updated on September 18, 2018
Ericdierker profile image

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.


Just an example
Just an example | Source


There is an illness that makes it very “uncomfortable” to sit. The irritation may sometimes need surgery to correct. Bowel movements are tough with this sickness. It is of a mechanical sort. What most people do not know is that babies can get them. There are remedies. Hospitalization and surgery are possible. In fact because of their locale they can cause some serious issues which may require emergency before a type of sepsis sets it. Again because of their locale they cause embarrassment and inconvenience. Many a crass joke are made of such matters.

Oh my! I hope you did not think we were talking about hemorrhoids. Nope hernias. There are many types but what we think of when you say that it is in the groin. To this day I remember when I got mine a decade and a half ago. 4 miles into the Grand Canyon and I picked up my 45lb backpack wrong. Just this gritty tearing feel.

Oops! And it was an irritant for the next 3 days or so. For the next 4.5 miles that day it was numb and by camp it only hurt like the rest of me from head to toe. Big first night meal and drink and I was feeling no pain by bedtime.

6 miles the next day. And it was basically a hike. But the next would include real climbing. Of note here is that hiking is generally walking across country, more than a walk on a sidewalk. Whereas climbing requires hands and legs. (not technical with a rope although there are sometimes ropes used in non-technical climbing but not like belaying or rappelling. If you care we are talking about class 4 climbing here) I have been doing it since before Boy Scouts so at least as early as 10 years. It is like riding a bike when you grow up in Mountain 12,000+ and mile deep canyon lands.

So the tear got my attention. But it must of only been one layer torn because I got up fine and only took it easy for a few days after. Along with a cancer issue the took scheduled frequent CT Scans and there that baby was over a decade later. Just sitting there like a ticking time bomb for the next layer to blow. Some might think, major pain. No not at all.

And just recently that baby blew! Real weird carrying a three gallon in each hand and you can almost hear the little pop. Finish up with gardening and you realize something is weird.


In daddy's shoes.
In daddy's shoes. | Source



Now I wrote rather eclectic above in order to give our life meaning discussion a canvass. Let us fill in, at least the hues and some abstract notions. Way back a lifetime ago during extreme cancer chemotherapy you could tell the stages of cancer by their attitude. Stage 2 guys suffered so mightily I felt sorry for them. Stage 3 guys just did what was told and carried on. Us stage 4 guys were having a blast.

In otherwords what I am saying is that, those who are inconvenienced are so bothered and self consumed. While those of with no chance found little time to suffer. When all is lost only hope and today are left. And that is a fine way to be. Yes a bummer when out of the seven of us only three made it and it hurt like hell when their chair was empty the next treatment. Believe me only death would have you miss one of those appointments. (keep that in mind next time you have to “reschedule”)

Now my wife and I do not wear ill health on our sleeves. She is just as grumpy as usual and am over in my Pollyanna world with a stupid grin on my face. (hey you would be grumpy too raising an 8 and 60 year old child at the same time ;-)

But here is a weird factor on a medical inconvenience. Give it some time and you will adapt. You can adapt happy or suffer – that choice is yours. It took me a few days. And I am still learning. But the process of change is painful. No, I mean really painful. You must learn to use different muscle groups that you have not used in that way. So a back ache or more from sitting in a chair.

I wonder if I was speaking of just plain physical pain due to change or was I speaking of other types of change and pain. To be fair I will give you 48 hours to accept and embrace the pain of change. Shoot I can usually get it done in a week or 2.

This issue is cool because you can just lay down and go vertical. I judge horizontal and vertical by which way my nose is going. Go figure, with a schnoss like mine you would get it.

What is This About a Fire?

Really? | Source

A Concept

Just a Thought


So back to stages of climbing and cancer. When you go for a walk, you can complain. A hike you can complain. When your butt is hanging over a 60ft cliff you better have your mind on the task at hand, or else. When you have a little hernia you can whine all you like and choose to suffer.

But I go forth in this way. Regardless of your condition the next step may be your last. Pay attention and leave the whining to someone else. I heard this guy named McCain adapted to hell on earth and retained is honor at all times. Jeez we should be able to do it with a hangnail, hernia or trouble in relationships.

My elder son at about 12 told me while on a climb, “Dad they should make this easier”. I gave him one of those, “really buddy?” looks and we laughed like hell. Suffering is optional. Meeting the challenge is required. Do not mistake me as discounting pain and suffering.

And do not mistake me for tough love. I have found that the toughest love of all is that which we require of ourselves yet do not give ourselves, and then fixing that problem. That is tough.

The hernia? My wife said I caused it to get out of chores. Therefor I limped through chores and smugly asked if there was anything else I could do for her.

If you have never stood in the sleet with a backpack on in a foreign country with no place to stay go do it. Man does that hot coffee taste good and that bus feel warm.

I hope that you feel comfortable enough with me to take me for granted.

So I went into the doctor’s office and the gal doctor asks me “On a scale of one to ten how bad is the pain?” Good for her. I said “not”, “just uncomfortable”. She had her prescription pad out and raised an eyebrow. I told her that if it takes my breath away I will give you a call. Otherwise any pain is just part of life and should not be endured but cherished just as no pain.

Can you imagine being heartbroken and being an observer of it. Please note here that with my children I have never told them “don’t cry”. I am not a god over their feelings. They are born with the inalienable right to feel what they feel. But I can say “I would save my tears for someone else”.

“If you see me brought to my knees do not be concerned, know that I am only praying in praise”


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      10 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dianna, today the boy plays outside while I watch. But inside it is chess and we are going to make a flute out of a carrot. Around here we are willows bending with the winds of life but not breaking to them.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      10 days ago

      My mother had a hernia way back when and the recovery period was longer, but she did recover eventually. I admire your positive attitude and encouragement. Praying all things will continue to complete restoration.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Devika. It is really cool, all the things they can do now. Laparoscopic surgery is so cool and I can watch. I like to think of medicine as a constant experiment.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Our neighbor had an hernia and had it removed with lazer treatment. An interesting write on such experiences

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana they have these great terms "strangulated" and "incarcerated". Those are the concern. If he cannot literally push it back in after some kneading he needs to go straight away. Otherwise it is just a soft sickness.

      To me it is something that prohibits doing what I really love. So off to surgery.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 weeks ago from LOS ANGELES

      My X, has a hernia the size of a golf ball. I told him if he didn't do something about it, it would burst. Mind you almost fifteen years ago he had a hernia and had surgery. I'm not sure if it's the same one that has grown back. Or, if it's a new one.

      Nevertheless, I have been worried and nagging him to do something about it. My Aunt had a dog with a hernia and the vet saw it and was furious with her. The vet told her the dog could have died because the hernia would burst. So, the dog had the surgery.

      Now, I'm worried to death that my x's hernia will burst and he's going to die. Oh, well glad to get that off my chest.


    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bede I read that forty percent of us men get them. Absolutely a get out of chores card -- bummer but that leads to boredom. We are doing great here. I am a very good sloth ;-)

    • Bede le Venerable profile image


      3 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Eric, I know two persons who had hernias but had no idea that it was such an ordeal. On the other hand, if it gets out you out of chores once in awhile, that’s a plus. There’s usually something to work on when sidelined, though. What about peeling potatoes or making salads? Hopefully, your wife won’t read this and get some ideas.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Bill and back at you with the positivism. It is going to be a great day.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Always so positive, my friend. That's a good way to be - no, that's the best way to be. Thanks for the encouragement and a challenge all wrapped in one. May we be changed because of it!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks for reminding me, time to go hug my boy for no reason!

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      4 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

      Admiration and Love to you my brother! And a big hug...


    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, I am pretty sure that I talk a good game but that that line is directed toward me.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Pamela. That really inspires me. It is good of you to let me know.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      I like to pick up the gem and hold it. This is it. "Regardless of your condition the next step may be your last. Pay attention and leave the whining to someone else."

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      i have a new attitude afte reading your article. Thank you for makng me look at life in a bit more depth.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Best wishes to you Mary. An old minister of mine once told me "adversity is God asking you to shine His light". Something to think about.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for sharing your upbeat attitude. My husband just had surgery to remove the tumour in his bladder and we need to have this attitude, to continue to live life to the full as you've done.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I am so lucky that I have already shared the love this morning. How fun is this life anyway?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      There ain't nothing soft about you, buddy, other than that big old heart of yours. There is much I could say, but let's leave it at this: thank you for your friendship.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Clive always great to have you visit.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Ann. The finest compliment I can receive. A great way to start my day. Charge On!

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      4 weeks ago from Jamaica

      From the mind of an Eric.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      This is full of motivation, hope and sheer cussedness, Eric! And I love your last line. You have given me a different outlook on a (small in comparison) event of my own - thank you.

      I love reading your thoughts as they occur - so conversational, so refreshing and so human.

      May you continue to inspire everyone around you for a long time to come!


    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I hear you Linda.

      Yes I do not do physical pain well, my son and I practice it.Like getting shot and screaming and writhing in pain and the contorted face and falling to the floor and moaning when we die. Who knows he could be the next John Wayne!

      Not to jynx it but we got no heart ache either :-)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Victoria, I love layers. Call me strange but I like to take an onion apart layer by layer and the chop. And I love the layers of rock in the GC.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 

      4 weeks ago from Fountain, CO

      Beautiful article Eric. You always have a variety of layers to consider in your essays. I love your depth.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I've been asked that "on a scale of 1 to 10" question, and replied "what is a 10? A compound fracture of the femur, jagged bone penetrating flesh, 2nd-degree burns over 10 percent of your body, or giving birth to a 9-pound baby without pain medication?" (I've endured all 3).

      Actually, your article has nothing to do with physical pain, does it? Pain of the body cannot hold a candle to the misery of the soul.

      "If you see me brought to my knees do not be concerned, know that I am only praying in praise” Amen brother.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Manatita. I can see you in that stairwell with your sister. I know she loved having you with her.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 weeks ago from london

      Yes, yes.

      I was reading about the question of acceptance recently, how it can in fact make us feel better when we accept. Yet I agree that it is not always easy. My sister in Texas is stage 4, but you wouldn't think so. She is very active and does so much!

      One day we were climbing the steps at the library in Austin and I suddenly realised she was not with me. I turned around and she had stopped to regain her breathing composure. I realised then that we all have 'tender' or if you like 'vulnerable' moments.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Nicely said Manatita, Oh how the notion of embracing hardship is so important to us. Of course, easier said than done. My boy had a bout of consternation about something important to him. It was amazing when I asked him "how does that make you feel". Just with the question he was back on track.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Chris it is good to hear from you. Your roommate knows or knows of my two brothers there.They are in fact legends. Humphrey Summit is one of if not the oldest privately owned ski shops in that area, meaning the four corners.

      Check out the peaks and Oak Creek to Sedona. I am excited for you. If you have the time get over to the North Rim for a view and hike.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi John, thank you for coming by. I wish you had not told me about the inevitable part ;-) I am shooting for some light gardening today. Not a day to push it to a limit.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 weeks ago from london

      In some ways, this is a powerful piece … if I understand rightly what you are saying. You seem to understand, with Rumi, that both Light and shadow are the dance of Love. That every moment, is made glorious, by the Light of Love. How beautiful is that! Let us give thanks and praise

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 weeks ago from Flagstaff, AZ

      I experienced the other hernia last winter. Had the surgery and recovered. FYI, Eric, I am now in Flagstaff working and will be here at least into December. I'm renting a room with a young guy who guides trips into the GC and on the river. I'll be planning some kind of hike into the canyon. I just don't know yet what/where it will be.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Been there, done that, Eric.

      I was erecting a fence with the help of one of my sons and felt that tell-tale tear. Yep, hernia time. 18 months later into the hospital to have some mesh inserted (and a few weeks of rest) and good as new.

      Have since managed to get another on the other side (Doc said that was virtually inevitable.) This one they said isn't serious just fatty tissue so it is more just an inconvenience, but three years later I don't even think of it. You do adjust how you do things and it becomes natural in time. I think so many people go through life with much worse conditions and don't complain, so why should I.


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