*Warning: I'm stressed and I'M ANGRY*
I don't have very good pain tolerance.
Unfortunately, I have also spent a good deal of time in a good deal of pain, so I've had to find ways around that.
I don't like painkillers. I'm not trying to be a martyr but I don't like drugs - any drugs - in my system. Only someone who's had an opium headache and woken up feeling like they've died and want to die again after a surgery can be as anti-drugs as I am. I'll take an Advil very very occasionally if it's an exam and I've got bad period pain, but that's about it. Painkillers don't really work very well on me anyway - my mysterious 'pacemaker pain' didn't respond to liberal doses of paracetamol and codeine, and when I had chicken pox Mum gave me Phenergan and I slept for fourteen hours - and clawed at the scabs on my legs the whole way through.
Heat is a wonderful but underestimated form of pain relief. It's underestimated because it very rarely takes away the pain completely - and in our anaesthetic-happy culture we're willing to pop a pill or poke a needle of any random crap so we can continue in our bubble of utter numbness. But the feeling of comfort and security of warmth is very primal and is more important than fully eliminating discomfort.
The advantage of heat packs and warm cuddles that I find most disappointing - if that makes sense - is that it's silent. People have next to no sympathy for others in pain anymore. They see it as an annoyance, an infringement of their rights to go about their business. No. No no no no no no. When I'm in pain I don't give a fuck about your peace of mind or the epiphanies that require dead silence. When I'm in pain fucking help me, or I swear to God I will watch and laugh and not do a thing as you hobble down flights of stairs when you break your leg. The thing that is most useful about heat as pain relief is that it shuts you up - but I don't like bowing to that social pressure.
The best form of pain relief is physical - pacing, crying, 'vocalizing' - moaning and groaning and 'carrying on'. I didn't believe it until I tried it. You can groan your way through anything. And quite frankly I'd rather piss off a roomful of people I don't give a shit about then poison myself with drugs. I don't care if I'm quieter when I'm high on Advil or shoving a heat pack down my shirt. Humans had to live somehow before microwaves and ibuprofen. And I think humans were much better off without them.
I hate the stigma of so-called 'martyrdom'. Anyone who doesn't do anything they can to avoid the slightest bit of discomfort deserves all the pain life throws at them. You can't complain if you've got a headache if you refuse to pop pills. You can't complain if you've got the flu if you refuse to get flu shots. You can't complain of labour pain if you refuse to get an epidural.
No no no no no no no....
Medical fashion used to dictate that anyone with the slightest oral inflammation had their tonsils hacked out. I mean, what if we took that kind of approach every time someone broke an arm or something? We'd have a lot of limbless people in our society. In hindsight, it's stupid. The solution to a broken or faulty body part is not to hack it off (tell that to the porn industry, people - the labia minora is not a defect or an obscenity, it's a part of the fucking human body), but to treat it with, ya know - 'science' and 'medicine' that my teachers kept barging on about when I failed physics and biology. Now the medical fashion is drugging children who can't pay attention to boring stuff in a world filled with interesting stuff on demand - as if that makes any sense. Surely there's something wrong with the child who willingly concentrates on something they consider boring and ignores something they consider fun? Oh wait...that's the whole theology of abstinence education...
I don't trust doctors. It's a well known fact. I don't claim to be a medical expert but I do my research and I do know my own body - it is, ya know, my body, and I've had nearly seventeen years to get used to it. I don't trust that doctors always know what they're doing or that everything they do has the best motivations - I know that most C-sections (nicknamed the 'unnecaesarian' because let's face it, women have been having babies 'the old fashioned way' for millenia and the existence of the entire human race does not rest on the invention of the scalpel) happen between 6PM and 10PM, and there are higher rates of C-sections on weekends, Friday nights and holidays - coincidence my ass. I don't like doctors' attitudes towards drugs and painkillers and I don't like doctors' attitudes to the intense and traumatic experience that is surgery and I don't like doctors' attitudes towards 'statistics' - just because everything might be fine once you've drugged me and performed an extremely fiddly operation on me doesn't mean that it will be fine. Tonsilectomies, ADHD diagnosis, C-sections - they're just medical fashion. The actual medical necessities of these procedures are extremely extremely rare - much rarer than how often these procedures are actually performed.
A lot of people tell me that I live in some la-la land where people never got tonsilitis and never get ADHD and can squirt out babies effortlessly. Hahaha...no. But tonsilitis is rarely fatal, whereas the mortality rate of tonsilectomy is 1 in 15,000 - which might not scare you but it scares me, considering that's about the same stats as my heart conditions - and guess what? I'm the lucky bastard who has a fucked up heart. You could be the lucky bastard who dies because someone thinks it's fashionable to be tonsil-less. ADHD exists, I won't deny that, but it's not an epidemic. It certainly is not an epidemic that travels east across the USA, as Sir Ken Robinson humourously points out. And it's disturbing that ADHD diagnosis increases with the increase of standardized testing.
As for childbirth - people have been having babies naturally for millenia. C-sections should be the exception, not the rule. I was actually a C-section baby - being the drama queen that I am I just had to go into fetal distress and freak the crap out of everyone. But such was the perceived emergency that my mother had an anaesthetised birth - which is not normally done anymore.
So how do these two stories connect?
There was a way but I forgots.