Thursday, May 26, 2005


No, this is not about me.

Well, it's not ALL about me. But since you asked... Yes, my tooth is less sensitive today, so I don’t plan to go back to the dentist until it’s time to put the permanent crown on. And yes, I WAS whiny yesterday. (And thanks for pointing that out. I’ll try to whine in less obvious fashion in the future.)

Gee, one commenter told me I was being a baby, and another said my post made her want to barf. Too graphic, I guess. Sorry. (Disclaimer: I will NOT be responsible for your keyboard being ruined when you barf on it after reading my blog.)

Anyway, I owe Karyn an apology. I made a snotty comment about her likely being a fan of natural childbirth, since pain seemed to be no big deal for her. She informed me that… well, read her comment to yesterday’s post (below). You’ll see.

My hat is off to her, and to all mothers who had to endure labor, C-Section surgery (or both, in some awful cases) to produce their children. That includes my own mother, of course. (Thanks, Mom!) Members of my gender will never fully appreciate what that must be like.

What? You want some support for that statement? How about the Bible? Any idea how many times in the Old Testament the writers use the phrase, “…pain like that of a woman in labor?” It’s always in reference to very intense pain; sometimes unimaginable pain. No, I don’t have a count for you, but as a regular reader I can tell you that it’s more than a few.

(There’s something you blog readers didn’t know about me. I read the entire bible all the way through every year. Done it for, oh, thirty years now. No, it’s not some Big Religious Deal, not am I looking for “points” for it. It’s just something I do. I hope that’s not a problem for you. If it is, deal with it.)

All of this started me thinking about pain.

Have you ever thought about how fortunate we are to be living now, as opposed to any earlier time in history? Anesthetics have gone in the last 125 years from a shot of whiskey and bite a bullet to the vast array of medicines and techniques we have today to control and sometimes eliminate pain.

Further advances are being made daily. I hear regular radio ads for “sedation dentistry” that promise you that you’ll simply go to sleep in the chair and wake up later with the work all done. (Don’t think THAT wasn’t running through my mind on the way to getting prepped for this crown!)

Surgical and medical techniques have been refined to be much less invasive than in the past. Arthroscopic surgery, micro-surgery, laser surgery… and I’m not involved at all in the medical professions.

I look in awe at people (like you, Karyn) who have undergone lengthy agonizing experiences or procedures and remain philosophical about them. And I empathize with people (like you, Robin) who are terrified of dentists and other painful experiences and avoid them to their own detriment.

I guess I fall somewhere in between the two. I don’t like going to the dentist, but I go twice a year. I avoid doctor visits, unless I’m sick enough that I think they could do something to speed recovery. (I don’t go for a common cold, for example).

I don’t know if that qualifies me as a wimp or not. Nor do I much care. This isn’t supposed to be about ME, remember?

If any of you would like to share a personal story about either enduring or avoiding pain, please leave a comment.


Karyn Lyndon said...

Childbirth taught me I can endure anything for 24 hours.

I'm glad you're feeling better and I'm not going to say "I told you so." Nope...not me...

Robin said...

Well, I do avoid the dentist to my own detriment. You've got me dead to rights there. *blushing*

Read this post though and discover that I do not as a general rule avoid pain.

Michelle said...

Not wanting to be critical but here in ZA I have found woman to be more tolerant of pain, their pain threshold is much higher to men's. With regards to a dentist though, I think it all depends on the dentist - I have had root canal where I nearly went through the roof and on another occasion with my new dentist, I almsot fell asleep during root canal as he was so gentle.

Duke_of_Earle said...

At the risk of appearing chauvanistic (or even reverse chauvanistic), I believe that in general women ARE more pain-tolerant than men. I think it has to do with propagation (Karyn's favorite word) of our species.

How many wonem would ever have a second, or third, etc., baby after experiencing childbirth once, if they weren't pain-tolerant?

Michelle, gald you had at least ONE invasive dental procedure that was not unpleasant!


Monica said...

I had to laugh---I am SO pain-tolerant that I called the hospital about my backache only to be told I was in labor. When they finally convinced me to go to the hospital and I'm sitting there looking for a book to read, they said my contractions were off the charts!
Apparently even for childbirth, I'm an anomaly.

Candace said...

I'm blessed with a high pain threshhold. Been thru lots of crap, okay, 'nuff said. But there was one time that I had this toothache... it was over the Christmas holidays and my in-laws were house guests. The pain "killers" turned out to be stealth pacifists (actually, the dentist said later that because of the location of the nerves in relation to the infection, nothing would have helped). I soldiered on with Christmas cooking and general hostessing (back of wrist to forehead), but one night all I could do was lay on the bed and cry. Just cry because it hurt so bad. What did my husband do? He dug around in the closet and brought me my childhood teddy bear. Isn't that the greatest? And it really, really helped!