Monday, December 19, 2011

Hard-wired for Pain? Is this a Writer-thing?

Okay, so you know I have had bronchitis for a month and an emergency root canal in the last six weeks. These facts are actually pretty boring, and dance at the edge of naval-gazing.
At first I was all excited about the Enhanced Cough Syrup. I tweeted about it and everything.
It just gave me bad dreams.
Today I had to get a temporary crown, and a filling for the root canal.
My dentist has known for twenty years that it takes a lot to get me numb.And stay numb. He explained this to the endodontist. Both of these people are delightful.
For the root canal, she had to use three times the normal amount of numbing stuff.
She was concerned.
"You metabolize painkillers really fast."
And this is just great, and proves that the universe is laughing its ass off. Because if life were fair I would metabolize pie really fast and hang on to the painkillers.
She gave me one milligram of an Intense Medication to Create Relaxation.
I don't relax.
I try.
I stare at the soothing video of snow falling on tress and stuff. I smell lavender.
I am wide awake.
So she gave me another.
I talk to her about the best books I read this year. I give her a list.
She goes out to my husband, and says, "She's not asleep yet."
My husband tells her that even when I sleep I'm not asleep.
So she gives me a third milligram of the Intense Medication to Create Relaxation.
I feel really guilty. Because I am not tired. I am not relaxed.
"It's okay," I tell her. "I'll deal with it."
And I am bummed, because I have heard of these Awesome Relaxation Drugs and I thought, well, that would be nice.
It wasn't meant to be.
Then she has to give me some more numbing shots.
She gave me tablets with codeine. These were not helpful, so I stopped taking them. I took them back to the pharmacy for appropriate disposal.
Three years ago I had to go to the ER for an abdominal thing. It hurt. They start a drip. They go away. I am in pain. I wait for them to give me pain meds.
After a while they check on me.
"I'm really sorry," I say, and I'm sweating because it hurts. "Will someone give me something for the pain?
And they send in a drug counselor, because they have given me a full dose of morphine and I can't feel it, which means I must have Drug Issues.My husband becomes irate.
I don't have drug issues. I don't even drink, except for the very rare occasion when there is really good whisky and something to celebrate.
They offer Vicodin. I wave it away.
The dentist and my doctor say I have some seriously weird hardwiring. My body does not want to kill pain.
Is this some kind of Abject Writer's Lesson? Writers must feel pain?
Or is this final, irrefutable proof that the Mothership should beam me up for adjustments?
I don't mind, really. I'm puzzled. Pain can be funny; my students loved how I talked last week.
A great deal of things that cause pain aren't funny.
Dealing with pain.
I'm going to think about this.
And how it relates to writing.


  1. Ooh, I'm always interested in other writer's thoughts on writing and pain. It's such an interesting concept; whether or not we write to ease the pain or because it is more painful to write, if writing is born from pain. It's very interesting as always.

  2. Oh my goodness! I hate feeling physical pain and always always deal with it by taking anything that would suppress it! I'm a wimp when it comes to pain! Especially dental pain!

    I do hope the world of medicine finds something for you or that your pain goes away!! Maybe the words will do it! Take care

  3. Interesting theories. Me,I'm a 'cheap date', even the mention of pain meds,send me into the ozone. Most knock me unconscious (preferable) others make me snaky(most unpleasant). Usually I prefer to tough it out,not taking a chance with the snakes. It would be nice to think that pain might make me a better writer. I don't think it's that easy.

  4. Why didn't you just tell them to gas you? You cannot possibly be immune to Nitrous Oxide. Wait, can you?