– PAIN – GAIN –
“Tell us of Pain.” And he said, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses understanding. – Kahlil Gibran
No one enjoys the experience of pain. It can strike us in the heart, mind, soul and body. It tiring and draining on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. Not only our own pain, but when we witness others experiencing pain on any level.
Those of you who have read my last several blogs on my accident and injuries over 2 months ago and who know of the subsequent difficulties with my damaged hand and fingers, will also know that I wrote psychologically about it. Which is what I plan to do again in this blog post.
I am not going to write a treatise on pain but will simply share with you my own experience of physical pain and how I am now looking at it in a different light.
After the pins were removed under anesthetic just over 2 weeks ago, my hand and fingers were pretty numb for 24 hours and all was well – or so I thought. As soon as the overall numbness wore off, the pain was intense. Subsequent visits to the hand therapists were re-assuring in that this was to be expected; I was urged to continue to use my right hand as much as possible to get used to using this foreign appendage in spite of wearing a stretchy bandage (coban) on my individual fingers to keep the swelling down.
All seemed to proceed apace. And then several days later (last week) the numbness on the pads of my fingers started wearing off. The pads on my fingers had been numb for over 2 months. It was good to get feeling back into those pads. O good, I thought. I had been protecting those fingers as if my life depended on it, knowing that I had no feeling in those pads.
But then an extraordinary thing happened. Pain came in a different guise, in full force, to those pads. This was almost too much for me. I took a multi strength pain killer, which helped on the physical level.
How do I relate to this psychologically?
We know that there are times in our lives when we are numbed. A broken heart brings us to our knees in agony; death floors us; depression wipes us out, losing a job, losing a limb – the list is endless in the ways in which life throws its arrows. When we are numbed, we are ‘protected’ from feeling and we can unconsciously live in this cocoon of numbness for a long, long time. We may take pills, take to drink, mind altering drugs, to keep us shielded from our pain.
But then, in time, feeling comes back – along with its partner, pain. This was my experience when the feeling in my finger pads returned; it was very painful. The nerves were re-generating. And if I extrapolate this to the wider world and not just my fingers, I see that this is true too. When we are no longer numb from pain, and give up the medications in whatever form (drugs, drink etc) we have been taking to keep the pain at bay and engage with feeling in life again after e.g. great sadness, painful feelings will have to faced. Numbness is no longer there to protect or shield us. Those feelings on many levels are a reminder that we are alive, that our ‘nerve’ is returning.
So, this is my offering for today. I am just back from the hand therapist. Last night the nail on my middle finger came off and I can see the new nail emerging. The forefinger looks gross with its black and yellow nail; this too will come off in time.
It is an ongoing process. I am pleased that my physical pain has value. The nerves are starting to work again. I am taking the bitter potion that is pain and seeing it as necessary in my healing.