A Pain in Time

"There is no magic immunity from pain. Mostly there is just blissful ignorance." --Amy Calistri

I am a bit consumed by pain today. Partly because I moved one too many boxes of books yesterday and am now paying the somatic price. But also because of several oft delayed and disparate ruminations of the topic of pain.

Amy made the point the other day in her piece on recent events in Austin. Humans tend to think that "it" simply cannot happen to them. Whether the it be financial, familial, psychological or other. We do have some unreflected set point that points to bad events happening to others and not to us. But, of course, every thing good or bad does indeed happen to someone and one of these times around the existential track the us will be us. Pain can motivate or demotivate people to do all sorts of things that one would not ascribe to them. Which is why the neighbors always look right into the camera and say: "He was always so friendly, I can't believe he could have done what they are saying he did."

Pain is a bitch of a motivator and psychological pain with no bleeding or bruising can be the worse. Not that physical pain is not the cause of many a out of character moment, we hope others will overlook or forget. I remember being enraged watching a news program on medical marijuana some years ago and hearing some smug 30-something congresswoman say: "Well, we can talk about this for the terminally ill, but I hear people wanting us to make pot available for arthritis, that is ridiculous." Clearly the words of someone who had never experienced pain. At the time I was supplying grass to a woman who had knuckles the size of walnuts and six inches of her spine supported with steel pins, all as a result of rheumatoid arthritis. But heaven forbid, we allowed her to seek relief from her pain in some natural substance. How could such legislation be justified? What is this to be, a nation where the health and welfare of each human is considered paramount? But, of course, should relief of pain also bring happiness, relaxation or euphoria; well that would be wrong. Sorry, no 420 rant intended.

Too many politicians only come around to enlightened positions when they or someone close to them falls victim to some painful, degenerative disease. Then they become wise and profound. Remember Lee Atwater, he saw the light and changed his position but only after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

And then there are the physicians who mouth platitudes about pain management but have never experienced pain; so they prescribe tylenol when morphine is what is needed. Pain management has been the rage for over 30 years in the medical profession but I heard yet another NPR show the other day, where the same criticism was made about doctors who don't get it yet. Whack those ignorant bastards across the shins with a tire iron and see if they don't run for the oxycodone.

Take a look at this picture, which was labeled "Back Pain".

Trust me, as someone who has had back pain for five decades, this is not a depiction of someone with back pain. This is someone with a sore back. Because if you are experiencing back pain you can't get your arms around behind you to massage it away. You are lucky if you can stand up in less than five minutes and you keep a loose pair of loafers around to eliminate the impossible task of tying your shoes.

And I haven't even ventured into the realm of psychological pain, which for now will be another post for another time. Because I am going to take another pill and crawl back between two heating pads and a cat.