This morning started out very similar to most of my mornings. I was unwelcomingly woken up by various body parts vying for my attention. As I lay in bed doing my ‘cat yoga’ and trying to stretch out my aches enough to get up, I thought of an interesting idea.
I began to think of all the various types of pain that I have and decided to familiarize myself with each, and give them names. My thought behind this is that perhaps by becoming familiar with the pain on a different level, I will be able to understand and accept it a little more. Think of an instance where you may have been meeting someone for the first time and perhaps they make a sarcastic comment that rubs you the wrong way. Was it the comment itself that had this effect? Or perhaps it was the fact that you may not know this person or their personality? Do you think that you would have reacted the same way if it was a friend that had made the comment?
The first pain label is the Frida Kahlo Pain. Early on, and before my diagnosis, I described my pain to my wife. At the time I felt like I was laying face down with someone standing on my back. One foot rested on my neck, while the other was nestled into my lower back. It felt as if belts were strapped around my chest and midsection, while the unidentified person cinched them tighter and tighter. Shortly after diagnosis I came across the painting The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo. It is believed by some, me included, that this was a painting Frida did to signify the suffering she lived with…one many of us can relate too. Fibromyalgia.
The Cy Young Pain is named after the famous baseball pitcher Cy Young who played 22 years in the Major Leagues and for whom the yearly award for the best pitcher in baseball is named after. This pain is my most constant pain and is located in the shoulder joints and down the exterior of my arm. The pain results in lack of strength and grip in my dominant arm.
Keeping with the baseball theme is the Tony Gwynn Pain. Another famous baseball player, Tony Gwynn played his entire career in San Diego and was a childhood hero of mine. Tony was an amazing hitter and was well known for hitting the ball between the shortstop and third baseman; or also known as the the 5.5 hole. 5.5 out of 10. Those of you know that have chronic pain, or have been to a doctor know what I speak of. The pain chart; that imaginary numbering system that you are supposed to use to judge your misery at that very moment. For me 5.5 is an average day.
Have you ever watched The Music Man? That darn Harold Hill, trying to sell instruments in Capitol City. What a pain. Oh, pain, that’s what I was talking about. The Traveling Salesman Pain travels all over the body landing in different areas starting up trouble. You can never anticipate where or when that Harold Hill will arrive, or how long he plans to stay. You do know that when he is in the area, things are going to get interesting.
Butterfly Effect Pain. This is a play on words in a couple of sense. The butterfly Effect is a tenet of the Chaos Theory which states that any little action will cause another, possibly larger, action, and so on. The simple action of a butterfly flapping its wings may have a much larger effect later on. In my experience I have found that often times I will start having stomach cramping. Dependant on the severity, often times my back will soon begin to tighten up as a result of the stomach. The feeling of nausea is similar to a bad case of butterflies in your stomach.
As I mentioned earlier, I was rudely awakened by my Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, or Wham! Pain. This is that morning stiffness that greets me each new day. Hopefully I am able to sleep enough to get some rest before opening my eyes, because once they have been opened…Wham! It’s time to go.
It’s a Fibroman’s party, who could ask for more…everybody’s comin’, leave your body at the door. The Oingo Boingo is not so much a pain label, but a mental state of dealing with the pain. Unlike Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party, I choose to keep living…however; I do like the idea of a party where I can leave my body at the door.
And finally we move from music to cinema. I would like to give a nod to one of my favorite movies, The Usual Suspects. The Verbal Kint Pain is a reference to the character played by Kevin Spacey. His character has a severe limp which happens to me when I have been walking or standing for too long. It will come without warning into one of my ankles locking it up like I had just sprained it. I’m sure it’s interesting to see a grown man walking normally, and in full stride, through the store one minute, and then hobbling down the aisle the next. That’s the Verbal Kint Pain.
So take a moment and think of your pains. Do they have names? Do they have personalities? Let’s become familiar with our pain and be more accepting of our relationship with it.