On pain and tolerance

Over the last 7-10 days, I think I have eaten more pills than I have over a similar period,  ever. And that is saying something, as I completed 68 years 4 weeks ago. I have been fortunate that I have not been afflicted with the usual maladies that have become part of so many lives, especially with advancing years. For this, I have to be grateful to my forefathers – three of my grandparents lived to around 90, and the fourth died due to typhoid in the pre- antibiotic era; my father had coronary artery disease brought on by years of heavy smoking and  my mother was detected to be diabetic only in her late 70s. I, have also been fortunate enough to escape major trauma and other forms of bodily harm; my one major accident ended in a lucky escape, and was so long ago that I don’t remember the actual pain!!

My interaction with the health providers have been restricted to the ophthalmologist (except for one pregnancy followed by a normal delivery) and dentist. And believe me, I am ever so grateful for my good fortune.

So, the pills I have been having is for a nagging pain in the right hip. I found it interfering with the morning yoga session, and did not settle after a couple of pain killers. The consultation with the Rheumatologist, told me what I already knew – ‘Lady, your body has started to  show signs of wear and tear’ – in other words, there is most likely osteoarthritic changes which are causing the problem. A set of tests have been advised, which will get done in due course, and which will only tell us what we already know.

But as of now, all my attention seems to be on that hip – Its paining! Now its not! Do I need another pill? Why is the pill not working? How do I gauge the degree of pain – I have no benchmark to go by. Once again I’m not ungrateful that I don’t have that benchmark, but if an acute injury is 10 on a scale of 1-10, where will mine be? Maybe not more than a 3 or a 4, but it still manages to occupy so much of my thinking. Is it because I have not experienced pain before? or does everyone obsess about their pain? Is my tolerance less than others? All questions that are new in my mind. Is it that I am not busy enough and so dwell on the pain? Does pain become a part of you, like a limp?

Its not that I have not experienced pain around me – of near and dear ones, and of patients. But their pain, however close the sufferer is you, is their pain; mine is for me to experience. It is one personal experience, that can be shared only in abstraction, and remains yours alone to experience!! So, I am learning to accept this new reality, wondering if I am dwelling too much on it? or is it the novelty that is keeping be absorbed?

And I will keep you all posted as to how it develops…..

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