Pain

I just scheduled outpatient surgery on my wrist, so pain is in the forefront of my mind at the moment. I really, really, really don’t like pain. No big surprise there. But as pain thresholds go, mine is rather high. I popped my dislocated thumb back into place by myself, which is what got me into this mess. Maybe the fact that I don’t feel it as much as a lot of other people do makes me more of a wimp about pain when I do feel it.

But the scariest part about it is that I’ll have no one to hold my hand through this situation. I still haven’t made strong connections in this city. It’s funny how just knowing someone is going to be there for you can help you bear discomfort. Moral support is the best pain relief of all.

It is true that I have known people that are kind of into pain, or at the very least take enduring it as some perverse point of pride. I used to date someone who liked to say, “I’ll take my pain straight.” As in, he would refuse all painkillers, even the mildest, non-habit-forming kinds. That always struck me as one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard. Why in God’s name would someone put up with unnecessary pain?

Granted, some painkillers are dangerous and addictive and should only be taken in moderation and with medical supervision. I get that. But even in those circumstances, I say hook me up.

I was once given a pain pump after a major surgery. When you feel you need the meds, push the button, and it will give you a moderated dosage. Well, I kept my finger on that button the whole time. The nurse said, “You do realize it will only give you so much an hour, right?” “Yeah, but I didn’t want to miss out on even a second of possible pain relief.”

As an exchange student in Mexico, I fell down a hill and landed in a large prickly pear cactus. My entire face and the whole left side of my body was covered in spines. My roommate spent hours removing them with tweezers, and his hands were shaking the whole time, because he couldn’t stand making the pain worse. I think that may be the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

Pain is actually a good thing. It’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey! Something is wrong! Stop doing that!” But voluntarily scheduling myself for painful surgery and painful recovery seems insane to me. In fact, I’ve been putting it off for months. But after a certain point the pain of day to day living with this situation outweighs the pain of surgery. Even though every fiber of my being is telling me that this is not good, in fact it’s a bad idea, I made that phone call. Logically, it’s what I needed to do. Being an adult is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

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