It has been a long dry trek through the desert of pain since I last wrote. But, in the moment, I find myself in a little oasis and so I write. Yet even in this oasis comfort eludes me as I sit here, miserable, waiting for Novocaine to wear off from a root canal.
No ordinary tooth, this. The same procedure was done a week ago, but within two days pain returned, angry pain. The only way I could get to sleep was to take two Vicodin before bed, but they provided less than “normal” sleep.
There are but two bedtime positions that will allow me a respite from pain. One is on my back, which is less than ideal because I have sleep apnea in that position and often wake myself up with a loud snort. The other is on my left side. Ah, I cherish that side. But the tooth would start to throb within seconds if I dared roll to the left. It appeared that Vicodin didn’t cover The Left. The only way to get the tooth pain to settle was to flip to my back again. Snort!
The post-root-canal experience is one I know well, having enjoyed at least a half-dozen root canals, so I knew that something wasn’t right. After the second Vicodin night I called the endodontist. He assured me that, since I only needed Motrin during the day, the tooth was indeed healing. Really!!! When I called two days later, the secretary squeezed me into the schedule. (Surely she must have Angel wings tucked under that blazer.) So here I am newly and thoroughly “canaled.”
I relate this experience because it prompted me to ask a question that I’ve never asked before. The week of dental hell was only the most recent of countless incidents of severe, scary, prolonged periods of pain occurring over the past 25 years. Yet, for the first time I wondered “why me?” … but not in the usual way.
I am not thinking “poor me.” Rather I’m wanting to know what purpose this experience serves.
Is it to force me to appreciate how great it feels when my teeth don’t hurt? No, I’ve had far too many painful dental procedures not to be grateful when my teeth are happy.
Is it so I can empathize with the pain of others? I don’t think so! After 25 years of chronic pain, in addition to instances where doctors had no answers for apparently inexplicable symptoms, fear that said painful symptoms would never stop, anxiety that yet another part of my body will become the next sight of searing pain … no, no. Empathy I have in abundance.
Is it to teach yet another health care provider that his/her patients are not pressed out by a single cookie cutter? Is it to enlighten a doctor that he should listen, really listen, to his female patients because, sorry guys, he sees me as just another hysterical woman? Read … either I must be exaggerating the pain or I am not smart enough to know when something is seriously wrong.
I’ve played such roles far too many times. If I told the Creator before I was born that I chose as my job on earth to endure decades of pain in order to make life easier for those who follow me, I quit! I gave my two weeks notice twenty years ago so don’t bother with the retirement party. I’m outta here.
And then I wonder if I’m suffering because I am not worthy, because I do not measure up, because I was too timid to take advantage of an opportunity to serve, etc.,. But when I read those words, my gut tells me that I am worthy no matter what I am or am not doing. So I wonder still, why me, what purpose does this life of suffering serve?
What do you think? I will be meditating and searching for answers until next time when we can explore your suggestions and whatever has revealed itself to me.
Something to ponder until then:
“To the world you are one person but to one person you are the world.”
— author unknown
If I had the answer to your questions I am sure life would make better sense. Its good to ask just don’t hold out too much for a life changing answer that’s my take on it. For me its day by day and trying to be positive or trying to find something to focus on and right now mother nature is making that distraction for me x
Thank you for the kind response. At this point, I’m living moment to moment. Day by day is too overwhelming. Indeed, switching focus through nature is a big help. I wish I could get out into it more but walking is difficult. Fortunately, my house backs up to flood plain which is completely wooded. I just look out my window and I feel like I’m in a tree house!
It would be nice to be the person with enough wisdom and experience and insight to help you with your deep introspective searching. Some folks, from deep inside themselves, pull something to the fore, maybe even unwittingly, that moves them forward through their travails and beyond. There are many who suffer alone, no comfort from loved ones, no access to decent medical treatment, moving on, zombie like, in a haze of drugs. Way too many feel there is no answer and as is their right, simply check out. That resolution is the best they can do and I’m sure not arrived at hastily.
You have compiled an incomplete list and debunked each theory. If you are going to go forward in this search you will arrive at more and more plausible answers. Consider that in addition to learning empathy you have taught me to be more empathetic to those I love. I may be all wet here, but there may be some combination of reasons among those you have suggested, and those yet to be discovered, in varying degrees for each, that will give you some rational an peace. Would love to be a sounding board.
Thank you from my heart for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and wise response. Indeed, I have thought about those who do not have my many blessings. I think I may well have ended up an alcoholic or a drug addict or , well, you know. Thank you for your offer to be a sounding board. I’d like to be one for you as well. May I use your response in a future blog? I’d be happy to give you credit or keep you anonymous. You are a really good friend.
Those dang right-side-only Vicodin; they were supposed to recall that batch; you should call the pharmacy… 😉
I relate, in my own small way, and am in awe that no matter what has happened, you are still here, you can still laugh, and play with your granddaughter, because without those small things, we truly have nothing. I wish I could take your burden and carry it for you for a while. I would give anything to give you one, long, sun-drenched, pain-free afternoon. Thank you for sharing these intimate thoughts and feelings; it helps all of us. Long, gentle hugs. -TGA
Helpful information. Lucky me I found your website
by chance, and I’m surprised why this accident did not came about in advance!
I bookmarked it.