I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Getting Used to Pain

The hours of pain outweighed the hours without it.

There were nights when I would lay down exhausted from pain and wondered if what my life had become was worth living, but still I wanted to live.

My daily commute when I could make it to work was uncertain. I never knew when the pain and vomiting would make me pull over. I never knew when the pain would strike and make me stop what I was doing; dinners, and get-togethers were planned based on my status “at the moment”. When I had the pain, when I didn’t (if ever), when I could function.
My life revolved around the pain.

I hurt every day, but in the days when I didn’t hurt so much I functioned. I had gone so long with pain that the memory of what normal was had become faint. Normal to me was not being bent over throwing up, no clenched fists biting my lip not to scream. No lying on the cold tiles of the kitchen hoping the coldness would work a magic. If I could sit in an upward position, that was normal.

I found a way to function through pain that kept me normal. When the pain was not demoralizing or inhumanly impossible to endure, I did my tasks, I worked, I talked to people, I went places, and I hurt.

The human spirit makes us resilient though almost anything when the will to survive is strong enough.

That same resilience allows a person to stay in relationships and situations far longer than they should settling for what has become normal. As long as the pain is doable, we become experts at functioning through it and far from remembering what is normal.

And so we endure forgetting that what we have is not good.

I remember my conversation with the doctor after the surgery. I announced I felt great. He looked at me and said “you don’t know what great is. It will be a long time, maybe a year before you know what it is to feel good again”.

It took me a year to know what it was to be physically pain free. It has taken me a long time in other areas of my life to know what it is to feel good again. To know the difference between mediocre and good. To move from substandard to good.

Humans are creatures of habit. We can get conditioned to anything. To forget the taste of sweet when we are fed sour. It takes a long time to awake the taste buds. It takes a long time to know what normal is. Normal good, that is.