pain is interesting

so last night i sat up for hours entertaining some pain. this is the second tooth to go like this, the nerve in a wanna be root canal giving up waiting for the dentist & committing suicide. in my life, this feels liks sparks. this *sounds* like sparks. i have tooth pain i can hear, & clearly. i have a lot of electricity in this body, & believe me, when it’s good it’s very good, & when it’s bad, it’s a fucking mini-taser going off in my gums like SNAP it goes just like that SNAP

laying there in the quiet dark not moving a muscle because of this fear that anything, anything, any impulse traveling down any neurons anywhere, might somehow provoke or prolong the enemy action in my face, i searched for ways to deal with it. i could see the red-orange gleam of the gameboy charging unit on the dresser, so i used that as a focal point & tried to breathe through it or whatever it is those annoying nurses tell you to do when you’re having a contraction & fuck breathing it’s time to scream & kick anyone that tries to put my foot in that fucking stirrup got it? so what do i know about breathing techniques? nothing.

so then i tried to visualize the little gleaming led was the pain, so i closed my eyes & changed it to a soothing blue white color. kinda aqua actually. however this is not the sort of pain that is impressed by that touchy feely new agey stuff, this is rude crude socially unacceptable pain politically incorrect pain that doesn’t give a fuck pain that stands scowling its best badass scowl & growls, so do ya feel lucky punk?

and then i thought, what the fuck?

why does this electricity have such power over me? i fucking own the shit! i manufactured it out of raw materials in my spare fucking time! these are my sparks, this is my pain. and so i stopped reacting to it with the same response that i imagine some distant ancestor of mine would have, when he would have been almost inventing fire but having a few technical difficulties & “ow! ow! fire hurt og! fire bad!” & so mankind went without heat & cooked food for another buncha years before someone finally figured out fire safety & … where was i? right, i was saying yeah, we’re wired for stupid, we homo sapiens. we have this elaborate security system in place to warn us about shit that’s bad for us, even if we already know. yes, i am aware how important it is to get to the dentist, & i will when i can, but right now i cannot. & no there is no cheap easy answer sitting right around here overlooked, i really can’t go just yet. so this pain is of no use to me. you could say it keeps the urgency first & forefront, but you’d be wrong, because it won’t — i suppose it could, but it just doesn’t — this neuron seppuku that teeth do, it’s wild painful for a good three days or a week, then it subsides & everything’s bearable.

& so i focused my thoughts, my mind my body my whole attention on this pain. i followed it around & watched it work. i observed it, i tracked it, i measured it. i did not try to separate my self from the pain, good or bad right or wrong it is part of me, it belongs to me, it is mine, & mine alone. & gathered all my stubborn bitch™ brand logic (i’ve had this since adolescence, you can ask my parents, it’s relentless) & decided that i was not going to let a bunch of electro-chemical reflexes be the boss of me. logically, this sensation i have in my mouth my cheekbones my eye sockets etc is no different from any other sensation i have, well, no different than say, the sound of the crooked cricket i call my conscience is from a humvee car alarm that goes off all night long at 175 decibels outside your bedroom window while its owner sleeps off the twenty year old scotch. you know? they’re both sounds, one’s just a wee bit more annoying.

so i still laid around much if not all of today wrapping my belief system around this, & practicing meeting the pain when it comes without that whining & cringing, trying to be matter of fact about it, calm & unfearful, unruffled like an accountant telling that stoner from purchasing that i simply will not approve any more orders for office supplies that have a first ingredient of sugar. & i did it without disassociating myself from my pain, people disassociate out of fear, i am not afraid. the pain is here, it is inside me, an integral part of my existence. “life is pain, highness. anyone who tells you something different is selling something

pain is interesting when you’re not sitting around frantically trying to make it go away. i’ll never like it like it, that’s not my thang, but i don’t have to react to it like dear old great×75324 uncle og did when he was failing to manage to make fire work for him.

i still haven’t quite got the hang of pain + sleep. it’s like having a lonely tweaker friend show up & decide to spend the night, in 100000 words or more if they can manage. which is fine, it’s not like i fear sleep deprivation, i’m pretty damn good company, even when i’m having problems with this fucked up wiring system of mine.

8 thoughts on “pain is interesting

  1. see i totally have this solipsistic thing going on about how everything’s electrochemistry. i mean, it really is all in your mind.

    you know that right? & all in mine. yeah. like this book thing i may or may not be still fucking with:

    is it real? reality is all electrochemical processes in the synapses, so yes. although most of my own reality is probably mine and mine only, i imagine. and i imagine constantly, and consider it vital to my survival. without it, none of the tangible measurable definite absolute verifiable actual shit out there would matter. i inhabit my own mind primarily and the world as necessary, and sparingly, never all of me. always part of me is wandering in the mind; i would say this keeps me sane however technically it makes me quite the opposite. delusional, anti-social, disassociative, handful of extra personalities, little nihilism thrown in for good measure� hell, i�m half the DSM4 on any given day, and i�m here to tell you, the illness is not the issue here – it�s the presentation. it�s in the way that you use it, it comes and it goes. it�s about style and proper form and a firm, solid stroke. it�s the spin and the way you use the wind. it�s in the wrist, mostly.

  2. is it infected? a wanna be root canal is a severely decayed tooth, and if the decay has resulted in infection something will have to be done. these electrical charges are near your brain for starters. anyhow. i used to work for a dentist [as a writer]. if you don’t have any peridex, gargle with salt water. if you have an abscess that should relieve it at least a little til you get yo’ ass to a dds. and p.s. i feel for you – i’ve escaped toothaches so far but know they can indeed be as painful as giving birth.

  3. This is so interesting to me. my father-in-law is a surgeon who loves to promote the news that pain is a mental construct and that no one really knows quite how the pain response works and how it differs among individuals. I often try to talk myself down out of aches and pains from cramps or headaches. It’s amazing the way you can transform what you’re feeling by paying close attention to it, just the way you were describing.

    i agree, i don’t like feeling pain but I like not feeling like it’s the boss of me, you know?

  4. barbara, i have an amazing wonderful immune system, actually one of the first things i mind over mattered. there have been two phrases, mantras i suppose, that have been on repeat in the back of my mind for a long time – decades. “i am young strong & healthy” and “i believe in my body’s natural ability to heal itself”. i rarely rarely take antibiotics, i prefer to kick bacterial infections as well as viral, the only time to take an antibiotic is when i feel my body asking for the help. therefore, i can kick a tooth infection’s ass for a good long time. i keep my lymph nodes in shape by eating food off the floor (even if it’s been there awhile), not washing my hands before i eat (especially old floor food), having lizards run loose in my house (i laugh at salmonella. after the first time, salmonella ain’t shit. after the third time, it’s just burps.), there are very few things i avoid because of germs. so i’m well qualified to tough out a dead dental nerve or three, don’t try this at home folks i am a professional.

    & Laurie, for the record i am a big fan of painkillers. i think if at all possible doctors should relieve pain & it should feel fun. pain relief, it’s such a happy thing. even better if you save the happy pills for after you get well enough to enjoy them. however i am, well, relieved to finally have found myself in a situation that taught me how to handle pain without whining for vicodin. because i couldn’t, really. & it’s good to know i can handle it.

  5. fantastic – when did you become a meditation practitioner?

    the thing i always tell myself is ‘it’s just information – receive the message and it will diminish. ignore the message and it will keep giving it to you until you pay attention.’ i think 90% of what makes major, chronic pain unbearable is that we tense up against it.

    you have mad skillz woman. are you sure you’ve never been a hunter or a soldier? scratch that, never mind – you’re a mom…

  6. i wouldn’t call myself a practitioner. i’m more like, somone who dabbles in it under duress. i’ve always believed it was mind over matter, i was born knowing that, though it was a rough patch there growing up around people that thought that was all a buncha bullshit.

    if i were more assertive / aggressive & not quite so overtly misanthropic, i would have made a great cult leader / guru. i mean, i sit around thinking up stuff like this all the time. all the damn time, man. i’m like, an oracle or someshit.

    so if someone wants to handle fleecing the recruits & handling the offshore banking, i’d happily be the mysterious guru/leader that no one ever really gets to talk to. i could sit around & make this shit up all day, while nubile young men in black lace bustiers & garter belts fed me grapes & shit. oh man, i could totally do that.

  7. Fuck pain. it overcomes me and i turn into this evil little hobbit, actually i think something more sinister than that. it turns me into to a grouch, when in pain i can stare down a cat, even a hungry one, and scream at anyone who whispers too. tooth ache is not pain to me its some nasty little fuck who has a sharp implement jabbing into the nerve ending, asking, ‘ is it safe’ over and over. also when in really nasty pain such as when some other countries government proffesional torture guy, injects you with some stuff that makes every nerve ache and scream (actually the sreaming was me) but the funny thing is the more they do it to you the less you notice, and after a while you can see past the blood in your eyes, and tell him to go fuck himself. of course what he does to you next makes you wish you had kept your mouth shut, but there it is. oh where was i , got lost in remembering the fun i had in the service, go get the thing pulled its the best way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *