We have those people (who shall remain nameless) who, as my older brother, Aaron, puts it, “When asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how much something hurts, they usually start with 35.”
Then there’s the men in the family – and me. We’d probably chew off an arm before admitting we were in any kind of pain. You could call it some kind of psycho machismo, but I do it, too. Not just with physical pain, but emotional pain, too. We all do it.
“Why do we do that?” I asked myself at 5:30 this morning, after pain itself woke me up, rather than my alarm or cats pouncing on me, wanting their breakfast.
As you know, my work out has changed. The new and improved version will… take some growing into, let’s say. Tried it for the first time on Wednesday morning. Not good.
My nice, easy bike ride has been traded for a 5K run, three times a week.
(And by the way, I'm sorry to tell you folks that there’s no way in HELL that AIDS walk was 6 K. It was a charity walk after all, not a proper running event, and they didn’t actually advertise the distance anywhere, as far as I know. I took the organizers at their word when I asked what distance it was… But there’s just no way… and that’s probably why they didn’t actually advertise the distance anywhere! I’m thinking *maybe* it was 4.5 K… MAYBE!)
Wednesday’s 5 K around the track proved challenging on a variety of levels:
1) I have to actually count the number of laps. (It’s 25.) So, I marked each lap with a different finger, alternating between hands every five laps. Now, despite the fact that I might be considered smart with some things, I confess that I tend to lose count as I’m running around in circles… At one point I had to ask myself, “Was that 9 or 14 laps? Let’s see… If I started counting on my left hand then ....if it was nine, I’d be using my right hand now… But I’m using my left again, so….No, no, I’ve done 14. OK, it’s all good, now…”
2) By the end of 25 laps, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do more, pass out (seeing black splotches, is not good, I don’t think?), throw up or cry. Definitely couldn’t cry. That would be too wimpy! So, I ducked into the bathroom thinking my guts might rebel.
They did not, thankfully. That may have been due to the lack of breakfast though. There was nothing in the gut to rebel against… But maybe if there had been, it wouldn’t have been so hard in the first place? Hhhhmmmm… interesting paradox that… (Note to self: Can’t run on empty; eat something – anything – before leaving the house!)
I did what I could with the rest of the workout, but… it wasn’t pretty.
By last night (Thursday), things had gone from bad to worse. Went home and took advantage of an empty house by running a steaming bubble bath, lighting some candles, putting on some quiet music and soaking for an hour.
While sucking back three ounces of tequila.
As I lay there in the tub, I thought to myself, “You’re SUCH a girl! Look at you! Bubbles and candles and everything! Why don’t you just suck it up and not be such a friggin’ wimp?”
The fact that I AM a girl just didn't seem to be much consolation, somehow...
Pondered that thought, with shot glass in hand.
(Honestly, I really don’t drink much – or often! But I must admit, tequila has remarkable healing properties, if taken occasionally – and in moderation. Trust me, three ounces was moderate yesterday… Considering that there seemed to be some relief, but no impairment, after having it.)
By the time I went to bed, I felt better. But being a sound sleeper who doesn’t move around much isn’t always a good thing. Gives everything a chance to seize up. And that’s exactly what happened.
So, by 5:30 a.m. I was awake… and sore. Seeing as how I couldn’t sleep and had no intention of getting out of bed that early, I did what comes naturally, and waxed philosophical. I lay there and pondered pain and why some of us in our family don't like to show it.
I finally figured out that it’s not that we don’t show pain, it’s that it simply doesn’t even seem to register until it’s beyond reasonable.
I thought about Aaron, who’s diabetic. I know that when he says, “I could probably start thinking about having a bite to eat here, before too long.” It really means, “Feed me or call the paramedics. I’m about to pass out.” (And I might point out that Aaron is a strong man, both physically and otherwise.)
Though he’d never admit it, I know what’s going on, because I know him – and I know myself. And in that way, we’re similar. We just don’t register what’s going on until it’s beyond reasonable.
I thought about how I would register pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
Being hit by a car (which happened, by the way) would probably register as an 8 for me. Couldn’t walk for a few weeks and took months to heal. But still, it could have been worse, you know?
Being someone who doesn’t react well to dental anesthetic and therefore has chosen not to have any since about the age of 16, I would say that fillings, crowns and the root canal without anesthetic might register as a 2.5. (The root canal doesn’t really count though, as the root was already dead, so there really was no pain.) Meditation is a wonderful thing, in the dentist’s chair, as far as I’m concerned.
The Chinook headaches I get (I’m loath to call them migranes, though there are times it is difficult to stand or see straight because of them) would probably get a 3.5.
Yesterday felt quite different from drug-free dental work, or a Chinook headache, but would probably have been up around 3 or 3.5 somewhere… so… almost half way to being hit by a car.
The whole thing made me ponder how and why we register pain at all… and why some people register it differently from others.
I’m not sure I have any answers, so I’m putting the topic out there for feedback.
PS: I did do my workout again today. Ran slower, but ran (well, you know… plodded). Having breakfast definitely helps.