Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pain - A Blessing?

When you break your leg it hurts.  From all that I understand it hurts A LOT!  There is a good reason behind this experience.  There are three types of pain that our body can produce, muscle, nerve, and skeletal.  All three of these parts of our body are impacted when a bone breaks.

The pain tells us that something is very wrong, we need help.

Now imagine that same broken leg.  It doesn't hurt.  There are no body alarms systems warning you to receive care.  You continue to walk about, live your normal life, all the time you are causing more and more damage to your body.  Quickly the damage would reach a point where you couldn't function.

Pain actually can be a blessing.  It is our bodies early warning system telling us that we need to care for something.  When an injury occurs, the injury sends signals to the brain.  The brain then sends signals to the injured part of our anatomy.  This pain signal impels us to a doctor, or emergency room.  In doing this we can prevent further, and possibly more permanent injury.

What if these normal pain signals become OVER sensitive?  What if a simple hangnail impels your body to send out signals of pain EVERYWHERE in your body?  How do your approach such a wide range of symptoms?

Welcome to the world of many autoimmune disorders, and long term body injuries.  There are injuries that science does not know how to repair.  These injuries can become cumulative.  Over time they may become more serious.  They can disrupt each and every part of life as you frantically run from clinician to clinician trying to discover what is wrong, and how to cope with it.  The usual approach to injury is to fix it.  What if the injury is far too widespread to ever be fixed?

One of my friends was awakened in the night by severe pain all down her left leg.  When she tried to get up to go to the bathroom, the leg would not hold her weight.  It collapsed leaving her on the floor, frightened, and uncertain.

 Surgery was able to fix some of this injury.  It could not heal all of the nerve damage in that leg,and in many of her internal organs.  She lost her job, her home, her car, and for awhile she was homeless, on the streets with two small children, and a leg that did not always hold her upright.

Somehow she found her way through the social system.  She was able to gain Social Security Disability, housing, food, and the medications that she needed.  People reached out to her and her family with assistance.

She in turn, knowing just how flawed the system can be, blessed the lives of others whenever she could.  She helped distribute food to the needy.  She educates people that need help with insurance or the social systems for medical assistance.

Finding methods to help others gives her great joy.  She still reaches out with love whenever possible.  She is the type of friend who always has a gift for you, a cookie, a fridge magnet, meaningful, loving gifts.  Has her pain stopped?  No.  She has learned ways and means to make her pain more bearable.      

Can there possibly be any positive thing to gain from experiencing pain and/or disability?  If I could change my life, never face the pain, illness, challenges that have been my personal journey I would also have to give back the lessons, wisdom, and intelligence I have gained from my experience on earth.  I would not wish to do that.

Having said that, would I wish anyone to face pain that would continue for their rest of their lives?  NO!  Yet I am grateful for the things that have taught me about the human condition, and have pushed me towards understanding the commonalities of life.

I wish that I could reach through this computer to anyone facing a frightening diagnosis and say, "You can find a way.  There are others who will be able to help you.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I can't do that, but I can hope and pray that in my small way I can reach someone with a message of hope.  There is love, and light, and joy even in times that seem completely hopeless, times of deep darkness, of pain. If you read this and know someone that needs that hope please give them a hug, send them a funny card, do something to reach out to someone else with hope for the future.


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