Category Archives: Other

Such a Pain! (On a scale of 1-10…)

It’s funny, I haven’t blogged for quite a while, but I felt the need today, and when I came to write the post I found this one already started but not finished, on the exact same subject!  It was drafted from January of LAST YEAR, so some of the details are no longer current, but I’m gonna leave the text anyway and just add to it at the end…

Circumstances this week (1.5 years ago) brought to my attention the fact that I, perhaps, hide my pain too well.  I’m not sure how that’s the case, I feel like I whine about it non-stop sometimes.  I am constantly upset with myself for not being able to better hide my pain.

I have dreams once in a while in which I’m tortured relentlessly, but somehow manage to make it through without uttering a whimper.  I wake up from those dreams feeling both proud, that I was able to go survive it all without caving, and disappointed because I know I can never come close to that in real life.  The trauma and emotional upset, of having been tortured all night long, tends only to hit me later.

And therein lies the rub.  I am in in constant pain, and have been since I was young.  I take a number of meds that help keep it at a bearable level, but I think bearable for me is quite different than what bearable would be for anyone else.

When I see a doctor, and he asks me what my pain level is, I just throw out a random number.  I have never understood those pain charts (though at least this one is cute:  Every time I have broken a bone I’ve started laughing uncontrollably.  The worse my pain is, the more I try to smile and laugh to make it through.  I may grimace in between, I may moan and groan, or whimper uncontrollably when I am half asleep, if it’s bad enough I may sputter and cough, or cry out uncontrollably, but under most circumstances I will do my utmost best to hide it, or brush it off with humor.


Here begins today’s rant…  The whole pain-scale thing is really starting to get on my every last nerve.  Every single time you talk to someone at a doctor’s office now, they want to know where your pain is on a scale of 1-10.  They have to mark it down in their notes so they can feed it into their computer, presumably to track whether they’re “helping” you or not.  It’s such bullarky.

My pain scale is different than your pain scale.  My pain scale today is different than it was 6 months ago.  Pain is relative by it’s very nature, it’s also fluid.  When you’re in constant pain your body adjusts to it, and one pain is not the same as another.

So when a doctor asks what my pain level is I have to ask “overall, or in the realm you care about?”  They always look at me sideways when I ask this.  “Well, where is your pain?”.  Everywhere!  It’s everywhere.  My neuralgic pain is system-wide.  My arthritic pain is clustered in and radiating from myriad joints.  My muscle pain depends on what got ‘over-used’ 2 days ago.  My back pain varies from moment to moment.  My arm pain is ever present, but sometimes so bad that I can think of nothing else.  When one pain relaxes a little, the others start screaming louder to garner my attention.  I sometimes rejoice when I get an acute injury, because I know I’ll have one focal point stealing my attention for a little while, and the rest of my pain will be forced to fade into the background, if only for a short time.

I can’t explain this every time, though, so I generally just leave it at a “yes, everywhere” and the doctor or nurse either says “well, just give me a number to put in the chart” or they say “let’s focus on the pain you’re here about today”.  And this is where I guess a number, randomly, because the pain chart is completely meaningless to me.  1 is no pain, they say.  10 is the worst pain you can imagine.  I can’t imagine saying anything less than 3, just because I can’t even remember a day with no pain, I have no idea what that would be like anymore.  The worst pain I can imagine?  How can you imagine a pain that’s worse than the worst pain you’ve felt, if the worst pain you felt caused your eyes to roll back in your head and your body to move involuntarily?  If that happens fairly regularly, then you can’t say it’s the worst you can imagine, because experience tells you there’s always something worse.  The worst pain I could imagine would probably kill me, maybe put me into a coma, how the heck do I know?  If I can process your words and respond then I can’t possibly be at 10.  The worst pain I’ve seen so far must be a 9, but I’ve seen it fairly frequently lately.  3-9 doesn’t leave all that much room for nuance, really.

Average is supposed to be somewhere in the middle, though, right?  So the middle from 3 to 9 is what, 6?  Can we use fractions?  Am I having an “average” day?  Maybe I should say 6 or 7 if it’s a ‘normal’ day for me?

But here’s the rub. if you tell medical professionals that your pain is nearly always higher than 5 they don’t believe you.  At best, they think you’re exaggerating — maybe they think you don’t understand the scale — at worst, they think you’re drug-seeking.  If you’re smiling and trying to grin and bear it then you’ve just broken their entire scale of sad faces, so you can’t possibly be being accurate.  For your own protection, it’s best to round down.  Except if you’re not in a high amount of pain then your care doesn’t seem pressing, either.

It’s a catch 22, and I absolutely hate it.  I hate dealing with it every single time.  I’ve gotten to the point where I just want to tell them to look at my face and try to figure it out for themselves, but I know that would screw with my medical charts in very bizarre ways.

Do you have to deal with this on a regular basis?  Have you figured out a solution or do you just pick random numbers as well?


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Aliens Among Us

I love the sci-fi genre.  Not only is it entertaining in the same way as other literature (or eye-candy), but science fiction pieces almost always incorporate the exploration of new concepts and topics, deep philosophical questions, and a cautionary look at what can happen if that information, or those concepts are used for nefarious purposes.

Unfortunately, our societies seem to find it impossible to heed these warnings (or learn from history, even) and we tend to make the same mistakes over and over and over.  In fact, people in high places seem to quite regularly misread the cautionary tales as challenges, and dive head-first into the very mistakes the authors were trying to warn us against. (If you question my assertion here, I challenge you to go back and re-read Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and consider where society is right now compared to where it was when he wrote the book.)

In any case, aliens come up quite frequently in science fiction works, for various reasons.  Their presence provides the opportunity for an author to share his view on the universe at large, to weigh in on the age-old debate about whether life exists elsewhere, and/or to show off his creative abilities and conceptual talents.  Many times they also give the author an excuse for showing off his scientific knowledge or pseudo-scientific knowledge.

On a deeper level, alien societies are a very convenient tool in the arsenal of a genre which has such a rich history of exploring politics, philosophy and theology.   They provide the opportunity for the author to pull the reader completely out of their comfort zones, away from their political or religious views, and into an entirely different world, where concepts can be discussed in the relative absence of per-conceived notions.  Introducing a human character into an alien world, for instance, allows the author to explore the wrongs of society without having to step on the feet of any particular society, group or nation; while introducing an alien into human society allows her to explore humanity from an outsider’s view, again without directly stepping on any toes.

It is the deeper level that draws me into science fiction novels so much. While the actual implementation of an alien story, especially when Hollywood gets involved, can be superficial, annoying, or cheesy, the underlying principles and politics can be quite fascinating. This is doubly true for me, I suppose, because I’ve always felt rather like an alien being raised in a place I do not belong, so the issues the main character is dealing with may seem very familiar to me, or at least parallel some of my own experiences.

That last sentence is sure to raise the hackles of some in the advocacy communities, and I apologize for that. No one’s ever supposed to say that they feel anything other than human, but I pride myself on being honest and that’s precisely how I’ve felt for most of my life. I have never really belonged anywhere, at least for very long. I very rarely understand why others act the ways they do, and the motivations behind my own actions are very seldom what others expect they should be. This leads to quite frequent misunderstandings in my personal relationships, some of which have cut to the very core of my being and left scars I’m not sure will ever heal. I’ve felt like something other, broken, out of sorts, and unreal for as long as I can remember.

So even as a child, I identified with Pinnocchio’s desire to be a real boy (though I found his propensity to lie perplexing at best). I watched Star Trek TNG in awe at finally seeing a character I could identify with: Data. I am fascinated by 7 of 9’s slow transformation from borg back into the human society of the Star Trek Voyager crew.

Historical novels, romances, and much of the more standard fiction that others love so much rarely have characters that I can identify with. But even when I don’t directly relate to the characters in a science fiction novel, the themes generally contain things that are interesting and even useful to my every day life. Many of the standard “things everyone is just supposed to know and understand” get boiled down and explained in minute detail when an alien commits a social faux pas. Body language that would just be mentioned in passing in most novels, with the expectation that the reader understand the implications, often gets pointed out and explained in detail when an alien misses it. Even when the social foibles are just introduced as comic relief, the fact that they’re in the spotlight helps to explain them.

I wish I had read more science fiction when I was young, but I didn’t really discover it until I was an adult. I watched a lot of sci-fi on tv, but I think all of the dragons and swords of fantasy thrown into the scifi section in the bookstores scared me off.

I’m trying to read more these days. I did read a lot growing up, but I seem to have done a very bad job at my selections (I missed a lot of classics, as well). Do you have any reading suggestions with interesting characters thrown into worlds they don’t understand?

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I’m a wiener!!

Versatile Blogger Award

My first bloggy award.

I’ve been debating about posting this for a couple of days.  I’m torn between loving the fact that someone actually sent me a bloggy award, and hating it because it’s basically the blog world’s version of annoying chain mail.  Hubris won out in the end, so I’m gonna go ahead and do it.  I reserve my right to turn down future awards though, so don’t get any smart ideas! :P

So anyway, here are the rules:

✿♡✿The Versatile Blogger Rules:

1. Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell 7 Random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award on to 15 new found bloggers.
4. Contact each blogger you want to pass the award on to and let them know you’ve done so, and let the giver of your award know you accept it... or not. :-)

This award came from my friend Karen at Solodialogue, Thanks Karen!! :)

7 random facts about me:

  1. If you ever go with me to Toys “R” Us you will may leave completely embarassed, as I act like a 5 year old, try out half of the toys, and do obnoxious things like singing at the top of my lungs.
  2. In the winter I often go weeks at a time without leaving my house.
  3. I like to eat pickles and ice cream in the same meal, even though I’ve never been pregnant.  I also regularly drink pickle juice and tuna juice.  It’s okay, though, cuz I have to drink over a gallon of water most days anyway.
  4. I like washing dishes and folding laundry when I’m at someone else’s house (and have company) but I really really hate doing my own.
  5. I’m on the phone with a friend right now and he says to say I’m generous :]
  6. I used to play wheelchair basketball for a men’s Division II NWBA team.
  7. I was a math prodigy as a kid, took college level Calculus in 3 weeks one summer as a teen.
  8. My best friend lives over 2000 miles away and I just found out he’s probably gonna get to come visit me this summer, and I’m SO SO SO SO excited I had to add a number 8! :)


15 bloggers!?!?  That’s way too many… I’ll see how many I can come up with.  I’m trying to avoid people who I know already got the award, so don’t think this is any kind of popularity contest.  Also, I could care less whether any of you actually forward this thing or not, but I love the opportunity to share your blogs with others :)

  • My cousin-in-law at Vintage Victuals – who makes some incredible food :)
  • My friend Jake, who is much cooler than the back-flipping monster truck on his latest post.
  • Jake’s wife, at This Crazy Thing Called Life, who is pregnant with twins and is sure to have many cute baby pics coming soon :)
  • My sister, at Optomistically Walking IN God’s Sight, who will hopefully start posting more now that she’s gotten an award.
  • My friend Josh at Neon Cross who has some incredibly deep and thought-provoking posts.
  • Noah’s mommy, at Noah’s Miracle – Noah is one of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen (warning, auto music player)
  • My friend John at As it Happens – a new friend that’s definitely a keeper.
  • My friend Whitney at Living and loving the mom life who also has adorable kids (there’s a theme here)

Okay I’m gonna stop there cuz the list is getting long enough, I’m sure I’ll think of more I should have added later, but it’s a good start anyway, and maybe I should keep some back in case I do decide to do another one of these silly things :)


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Just checking out this LJ thing…

This is a test entry, just setting up my journal…

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