Sunday, November 18, 2007

A pain in my ass

By now you must be thinking of me as quite a complainer. I'm irritated at myself for being negative. Still though, things have been rough, and I'm usually writing when I'm thinking about my life. When things are happy and cheerful I'm not writing, I'm living.

Today I have some time while I'm working in this Sales Center to sit and think. And mostly I'm thinking about pain.

Chronic pain is something difficult to explain to those who don't experience it. It sounds simple - you're in pain. And everyone has had pain at some point in their lives. You stub your toe. You fall or suffer from a migraine or run into a plate glass window. You are aching and miserable. You think it will never end. You may even cry or have to take deep breaths. You may curse and shout and even punch the wall. But usually, eventually, that pain goes away. An hour later you might have even forgotten that you ever stubbed your toe or fell down. And the only way you'll remember that plate glass window is from the constant reminders from the witnesses making fun of you. But the pain is gone and forgotten. It's hard even to remember. What was it like in those moments when the world faded away and all you could think about was your pinkie toe? Seems strange. Did it even happen?

Chronic pain is another beast. The pain may be acute at times and other times just a dull ache. But it's always there. It never leaves. Everything you do is accompanied by pain. You walk, and it hurts. You sit, and it hurts. You try to lie down and sleep, but you are in pain. Sometimes your body even wakes you up to remind you that you are in pain. You start to not be as keenly aware like you are when you stub your toe. Instead, in the background of your mind is a little voice, an muffled cry, a groan. You chat with friends and go to work, and, all the while you hear this moaning within. Sometimes it comes out, when the pain increases or you feel a wince of sharp pain. You can't help but tell the person next to you, "God, I'm hurting so badly." And you hate yourself for complaining. You hate that you look out at the world through pain colored glasses. You feel guilty for not being more present, for not being able to listen better when someone is talking to you about their life. You can become bitter. I'm bitter.

I'm bitter that I've had this to deal with for so long. I'm bitter that other people don't have pain. I'm bitter at people for not understanding. Can't you see I'm in pain?? No. And they can't feel it. And they can't imagine it. Pain is the thing that cannot be remembered once it's gone. That's why women have more than one child. If you could truly remember pain, you would never survive. You would be fearful of door jams and glass windows and falling. So when you tell someone you're in pain, it's hard for them to understand. They think your tolerance for pain must be low. They think you are a complainer or a wimp. Why can't you just deal with it? Because that's how they think - when they've had pain. But that's because they know that pain will end. Just tough it out. It'll go away eventually. They can't wrap their head around the fact that you are always in pain. They can't remember it either. You could have said ten minutes ago that you can't even sit down, and they'll ask you to take a seat. It's too bad chronic pain isn't accompanied by some sort of outward marking. If I turned purple, maybe people would remember and understand and be compassionate. If we could all see pain like infrared, then we could tell who is really in pain, who is faking and who is suffering every single day. We could offer a seat to someone or an arm to lean on or a shoulder to cry on.

1 comment:

the Billingtons said...

Hi, I come here once in a while and see how you are doing. I'm really sad that you are going through all this pain. And even though I can't understand it, I CAN understand the frustration of people not feeling it with you, or not having compassion. Must be terrible. The turning purple idea is great!

Your baby is adorable. I'm glad that you have her.

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