Wednesday, November 10, 2010

D Day Plus 226: (October 20, 2010): Chain of Pain

“How’s the pain?” That was the question of the day. And I was a little sick of it. The first time it came up was as soon as Dad got out of bed and nearly tripped over your tan brown recliner. The second time was around eleven when I called Morgan at work to ask her to let your posse of blog followers know I was on sick leave. The third time was a little before noon when Aunt Janiene called to tell me she missed me. After that, it was Aunt Sue around two to tell me she was thinking about me. There were a lot more calls from Dad and Morgan that I’m not bringing up. Well, not in detail. I just wanted to make a point and explain why I had pain on the brain. 
“Fine or getting better,” was my usual response. If I felt a little chatty, I’d add, “Memories of your pain were worse.” Then I’d get resituated on your tan brown chair, like it was tied to my response.  

All the focus on pain got me to thinking – maybe even pontificating – if you want me to get all fancy. Pontificating about the chain of pain and what sucked worse.

Remember how I’d say that vertigo was by far and away the worse kind of pain. You were there. And you were scared. You’d never seen me so sick and it came on without warning. It was during the snow storm. I was projectile puking on the kitchen floor and couldn’t move.  You ran like Chicken Little outside to get Dad, who was shoveling snow. 

Vertigo was the front-runner because I was so scared and physically out of control. I couldn’t even walk. After that, I’d say appendicitis and gall bladder attacks were the next worse because I couldn’t fart. But, I got good drugs to dull the pain. And my naughty nine year old to add some bawdy bathroom humor. Then I’d digress to childbirth, strep throat, and broken bones - in that order. This was before my latest link on the chain of pain– the bowel obstruction.  Even with nearly dying, I’d put that link somewhere in the middle of the chain of pain.   

As I went through each link, it dawned on me, that my entire chain of pain was all physical – but in the big scheme of things it was nothing. It was nothing compared to the emotional pain of watching you go through the physical pain of your cancer.

You said you had it easier than me. You said it in airports, waiting rooms, on elevators, on escalators, in cafeterias, in your room, on the phone, in hospitals, and hotel rooms. I didn’t believe you. Now I do. I know. Especially, after last week’s wild ride: physical pain is easy; emotional pain is not. And the emotional pain of watching someone who you’d die for go through so much physical pain is the ultimate worst on the chain of pain.   

I'm just saying physical pain shrinks over time because you forget it. Emotional pain grows over time because you relive it. Think about! You know I wouldn’t lie. 

Last week, I knew the physical pain would end because either three things would happen: I’d lose consciousness because my body would not put up with more than I could handle; I’d get some sweet mind altering drugs to dull the pain; or I’d die. And now that I know there’s an eternity that would have been okay with me. But then Morgan and Dad would have to go through the emotional pain that would grow and grow and grow. That would suck big time for them. And I really have so much more I want to do –like tell your story. So it all worked out. 

There’s something that’s been bugging me though. Did you feel how lost I was on Lake Philpott kayaking with Dad on that Sunday? It was all about no butterflies, you not getting to kayak or enjoy the beautiful fall colors, some blubbering, empty feelings, a little yadda yadda, and some major woe is me. I think you did. Even if I didn’t think so at the time. But you knew. Right?  It was just that I was so wrapped up in my own emotional pain to realize you were there the whole time. I would’ve known that if I would have done a better job at feeling better instead of feeling lost. Don’t you think?  Now I sound like our broken record: words don’t teach; life experience does. But honestly, did it have to be so radical? I’m not an idiot. I’m a quick study. I didn’t need to have a near death experience or relive the horrors of your pain to believe. 

Or did I?

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