Friday, August 10, 2007

Twenty Words for Snow

I took painkillers at work yesterday (they didn't work, but that's another story). As I did, I told my student that she was witness to a rare event; I didn't take pain killers often. "So the pain is bad?" she asked.

I contemplated that for a second. "You know how the Inuit have twenty different words for snow?" I asked her. "Because there are so many different types of snow to them? Well, to a person with chronic pain, there aren't enough words in the English language to describe the types of pain they have." I went on to describe how the barometric pressure headache that I took the painkillers for wasn't just sitting above my eyes like it normally did, but was wrapping itself around the eye socket and optical nerve. Still couldn't do it justice.

I don't talk much about chronic pain, either here or in person. When someone asks, "How are you?" they generally don't want a litany of complaints every time. And besides, it's all relative. My "Fine" is another person's "Terrible." When I say "Fine," it means the pain is at multi-day bearable levels. But I've been in pain so long I can tell what pain is muscular, hormonal, digestive, nervous, related to the circulatory system, related to the skeletal system, related to barometric pressure, and it's rare now that I get a pain I can't point to the cause for.

Mike said we need to win a million dollars, so we can both take a year or two off of work and just recover. Days like yesterday, and the way today is shaping up, makes me think that's an excellent idea.

In other news, you discover things when you're trying to figure out how to have a Harry Potter birthday party for adults. Things that make you want to cry a little because you want them. Things like this. Hate eBay sometimes...



Pain is not a pleasant thing. I had one of those weather related headaches yesterday and the day before, too. I can't imagine what living with chronic pain is like. I'm so sorry you do. I wish I could take your pain away...

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