Friday, August 15, 2008
It's a gas gas gas
Have you ever had a lumbar puncture? Small needle with numbing medicine, followed by big needle, in between your vertebrae on your low back. On the scale of things not to have done to your body, it actually ranks pretty low. I think the creep-out factor may actually outweigh the true pain experienced. Still, not a great ride.
Sister Smak had meningococcal meningitis over 10 years ago. I asked her how bad the LP hurt. She said she didn't even notice it, the pain from the meningitis was so awful.
Suffering, whether physical pain, stress, emotional distress, is a gas. It expands to fill the space provided. If you've got a bad cold, sometimes the misery is overwhelming. If you've got a bad cold and you're a resident on night float, it's like a cruel joke. If you've got a bad cold on night float and you're pregnant with twins....well, that's just not fair. But it doesn't make us feel any less miserable the next time a bad cold comes around.
Why is that? How does it take over all available space? Why can't you say to yourself, "My back hurts today. However, just a few months ago my back hurt from lying in a hospital pullout bed while my son was getting chemo, so really, it's not so bad." I do say that to myself, and it changes my perspective, but for so brief a period of time. Why am I such a whiner? Is it a characteristic of humanity, or life in America in 2008?
So this post was supposed to be about suffering, and how I'm tired of complaining about mine. Instead, now I'm complaining about complaining about suffering. Classic.
Where I was trying to go with this is here: at any time in our lives, there are things to worry or complain about. True, the last few months have been extraordinary for me, and a bit of self-reflective pity was not uncalled for. But things are looking up now, and I need to move on. My suffering fills my box, as does yours.