The August Off-Topic Thread

By July 31, 2018Other

A little on Pain.

Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong — avoid it, fix it up, and the pain will go away. We learn about it through toothaches, cuts, breaks and things like that. I have a spinal fracture, and fractures take six to eight weeks to fix up. I am in week seven, and it may take eight or nine or ten weeks to fix mine up because I am old. Old bodies don’t heal so well. Even then I may still have painful episodes. So I have chronic pain, and pain is my constant companion. I’ve now read a lot about it, and here is a tiny sample.

The Wikipedia entry on Pain has 130 references, which is substantial. There are innumerable links. I haven’t by any means read them all, and the more I read the plainer it is that pain is a mystery. We can only tell someone else what we are feeling. There is no measuring stick that the wise doctor can use to tell us that we have 6.78 standard units of pain. People are different in their capacity to bear pain. I have discussions with my nurse practitioner pain specialist (who is amazing in her knowledge and capacity to tweak my system to good effect), and her view is that I under-report my pain. I say what I think is my case. She is judging on hundreds of cases like mine. Who is right? In general Mr Pain hangs around at about 2 on a 0 to 10 scale. I can cope with that, easily. She says I should experience no pain at all, and I am not taking enough painkillers. But I say that if I’m not noticing the pain, what does it matter?

So this is my current preoccupation. The day is measured in units of DA pain, where 0, 1 and 2 are good days, and anything higher is bad. And you are pre-occupied with it, as it gets in the way of anything more creative, which is vexing in the extreme. Everyone is sympathetic, but no one has anything to offer. Wherever you turn there are ‘remedies’ but the medical team knows all about them, and can explain sensibly why, given my disease and my medication and their interactions, known and possible, these alternate possibilities will not help.

Good news: more good days now than bad days.

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