Pain Relief

I woke up New Year’s day with pretty intense pain in my left hand. I managed to get through the next couple days okay but woke in the middle of the night Saturday with intense, burning pain in my fingers and wrist. I treated it with ice and was able to get back to sleep but Sunday was a tough day. Simple tasks like pulling on my socks or tying my shoes took great effort. I couldn’t make a fist or hold on to much of anything. I know. It sounded like carpal tunnel to me, too.

Today I was able to see my doctor. He thinks it’s gout. Yeah, I know. I laughed, too. I mean, does anyone get gout anymore? Isn’t that the stuff of American history? Ben Franklin and those other guys with knee-highs and buckle shoes?  Turns out gout is pretty common and is caused by too much uric acid hanging out around your joints. It’s not that hard to treat and it looks like my doctor has this one figured out. I’m thankful for that but my brief exposure to pain opened my eyes.

For the many of thousands of people who experience chronic pain everyday  most of them do so in virtual isolation. Do you know which of the people you see at church, at the restaurant, or in the mall are in intense pain? I think most of us have a problem accepting that people are in pain when there are no visible signs of injury. If there’s not blood how bad can it be? If there isn’t a cast, a wheelchair, or a pair of crutches you probably just assume that the person is pain-free. But many are not. There are untold thousands who are trying to get through the day under great physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. They are all around us. You may even be one of them.

How do you respond to people who are in pain? Sympathy? Avoidance? Empathy?

3 thoughts on “Pain Relief

  1. Matt @ The Church of No People

    Hey SecondChair, thanks for commenting on my SCL post today! You’re right on about why Jon is not recognized in church, not to mention the fact that he is about the same height as a middle school boy.

    Hope to see you around again!

  2. Dave Treat

    I’ve had gout twice… with a similar reaction to yours: Am I the first guy since Henry VIII to get it? I was on crutches for 3 days each time…

    As painful as the gout was explaining to people that I had gout. I was team training small group point leaders from around the country and had to limp/shuffle to the front for each of my teaching segments. I failed to gain the insights you mentioned above. I only learned to avoid asparagus.

  3. J D Friend

    From someone who has suffered chronic pain for going on 25 years now (almost half of my life at this point), I appreciate some of your insights. We have no choice other than learning to deal with the pain, but one thing that makes it more difficult is the lack of awareness and/or understanding from those around us sometimes. As you touched upon, when there are no outward physical indicators for others to see, it’s sometimes easy for them to dismiss, or at least heavily under-estimate the severity of the pain we’re in. It’s especially hard for those of us on “disability” because we may look just as healthy as the person standing next to us. In such cases, we’re often written off as little more than lazy slackers intent on scamming the system rather than legitimately disabled citizens.

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