Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Things to Ponder While Yelling "Ouch"

(This is NOT the blog I promised you after losing the rant I wrote on Sunday.....that is yet to come.)

 I am sharing a hard won life lesson with y'all today on the off chance that my struggles may be helpful to someone out there.  If you are one of the lucky ones who never has a pain or an ache, for heaven's sake, don't waste your time plodding through this....just keep on smoking whatever it is you are smoking and move on to a more exciting blog.  However, if you have ever uttered an "ouch" or "oy vey" you might find a nugget of interest here.  I am not preaching anything, by the way, nor am I trying to entice you into my cult where magic is a daily ho-hum happening.  I offer my experiences with all humility and much's a kind of take- it- or- leave- it thing.  I hope some crumb will resonate for you and make things better.
 As most of you know, I recently cancelled my plans to have a bum knee replaced when I realized that my suffering from the knee only accounted for about 30% of my total miseries and it did not seem worthwhile to incur the pain of surgery, recovery and the damned physical therapy to only feel perhaps 30% better.

I definitely feel like I made the right decision for me....(I encourage anyone who is facing replacement of parts to proceed like gangbusters if that surgery will eliminate most of your discomfort or give you mobility you are lacking).  The most interesting thing is, that in order to make that decision, I had to face, analyze and get on speaking terms with all of my various aches and pains and was reminded (once more) of a lesson I learned years ago but keep forgetting:

When there is no possibility of immediate relief from a pain the best thing to do is to stop fighting the pain.
Stop resenting, resisting, hating and trying to pull away from the pain or tear it out of yourself.  Relax and get neutral.   (Easy to say, I know, but it can be done).

Accept the pain.

Take a deep breath.  Look inside.  Examine it for shape, color, size, texture, general characteristics.  Start thinking of the pain as not your enemy but a sort of are both stuck in this together.  As soon as you do this the pain becomes less intense and/or more manageable, I swear.  When you quietly accept the fact that there is no quick fix, you develop an odd respect for the pain and begin to learn to live with it rather than be at war with it.  Sounds crazy I know, but it has always worked for me.  And it has just worked again.

Now, before you all pelt me with camel dung I must state (I should probably have said this at the beginning),
I am not talking here about Grade #10 or even #8 or #9 pain.  This method did not work for me during the week on the ship when I was having the extreme sciatic attack and was incarcerated in my cabin unable to move and with excruciating, ceaseless agony for 7 days 24 hours a day.  No amount of accepting made that better or distracted me from its intensity for a moment.  I don't think it helped with an abcessed tooth I once had either.  But it has helped with a lot of the inbetweens and it is helping me a lot with my knee.  For one thing, my  unceasing spewing forth of streams of curses and naughty words has fallen to a trickle.  I am not nearly as exhausted by the end of the day or even when I get up in the morning.  I have stopped obsessing about the damned knee, screaming at every twinge and have actually noticed one or two pleasant things in between groans.  All in all, my condition is much improved without having undergone surgery, tenks gott.  Of, course, the day may come when I re-evaluate things and find the percentage has shifted, and I may very well reschedule the knee replacement.  But, for now I feel I made the right choice and I am content.

So when they find you seated in the lotus position with eyes crossed breathing heavily and they ask what the hell  you are doing, just tell them, like Lois said, you are making friends with your pain.


  1. Amazing, as usual. I have a couple of friends I need to spend some time with...

  2. Mind over matter ~ works far better than you would suspect!
    Yay for you for learning the lesson! I used this when getting my open-heart surgery patients up out of bed for the first time...

  3. Infinite wisdom here, Lo. Thank-you.

  4. As you know Lo, I have lived with this wretched pain for a long while now. I find that if I tackle a task that seems impossible, complete it, I feel like I have earned the right to lay down, (which helps) take an extra pain pill, (which also helps) rejuvenate, and finish out my day doing my own work,,no help. I may be completely done in at the end of the day, but I feel like I am still good for something, SELF SURVIVAL!!

  5. G'day Lo. Good on you for making the decision that is right for you. I like the lotus position and making friends with the pain bit. Take care. Liz...

  6. I did much the same with my hip - I thought of it with sympathy, it was worn out and needed looking after, but also had to be chivvied into doing what I wanted to do. it was only after I had recovered from the operation that I realised how much pain I had blanked out.

  7. Great post Lo
    Over the past years both of us have got stiffer and stiffer. I have blamed the wheat, the dairy, the chocolate and just about anything I could think of.
    It's not until I decided that it's okay to make a noise when I get out of the chair and its okay to take a few yards to get upright that I have begun to feel better.
    I think pride comes into this a lot. I hate to think of myself changing and getting older, especially if the kids visit. I don't want them to see me as an old lady. But old lady I am and have now decided to be me, warts and all and I feel better for it.

  8. Great advice, and a wise decision considering it is not incapacitating you.

  9. I find this works pretty good. Perhaps it's being more relaxed? So far, I've been able to avoid those potent drugs with the horrendous side effects. glad it's working for you Lo.

  10. When it becomes debilitating to the point of not sleeping,or unable to do most of the things that you want to enjoy... its time to move on. Otherwise ignoring it seems like a good plan to me. :)

  11. Lotus position... Try as I might, I simply can not even do "Indian Style."

    Still - acceptance. What an odd and oddly freeing idea.

  12. I can sit Indian style..but then if I sit too long my legs go to sleep..I will have to work out some new position to make friends with my pain:)

  13. My sister suffered debilitating migraines four days out of every seven for fifty years (until menopause, when they disappeared and then she lost her lung function, but that's another story). Some therapist or other stared at her once and said "so you have three good days, right?" and, apparently, changed her life.