How hard is it to empathise with pain? Pretty damn hard, it seems to me. Case in point:
This July heat has been killing me … not literally, of course, but I have reached weeping levels of pain and discomfort which is, thankfully, rare for me. I am more familiar with the grimace, grit your teeth, curtail your activities and get-on-with-it agony that so many of us neuro-types ‘manage’ in our daily lives.
Right now, however, I am feeling the heat in my feet … and not liking it one little bit!
My ongoing swollen foot problem – managed with daily use of a foot/leg pump and weekly deep tissue massages – is out of control and, allied to the heat-induced sapping of my body strength, I am in deep, writhing pain. Consequently, I have to beg everyone – passing strangers even – to move my feet to relieve the pain pressure.
If left for several hours, the pain becomes so extreme that my entire body is focused on it to the exclusion of all else. My usual mind distraction techniques for pain management – hopeless.
And, no one, except fellow sufferers, understands why it is so bad.
I try to explain to EaZyD.
“My feet are stuck, unmoving, against rigid metal plates; my legs a dead weight pressing from above. My overly hot feet swell then spasm up with pain. They return back to rigid metal plates, toes down. More crushing. More pained internal spasms as my feet are quirked into this abnormal position and I cannot get them to move. This agonising cycle repeats until my feet are re-positioned or I get off the wheelchair … which only happens when I get help. After several hours of enduring this, I am not in my happy place.”
Puzzled looks with a slight sense of ‘how bad can it be?’ lingering in the air between us. I continue.
“Imagine your hand is bent backwards, at right angles to your wrist, flat against a metal plate. A heavy weight is placed on the metal plate. You have to remain in that position, with the weight, for twelve hours, unmoving.”
I describe the escalation of sensations – discomfort, numbness, pins and needles, pain. How your brain tries to make your limb move, to do anything to relieve the pressure. Nothing works. The pain increases, over time, to screaming level in your head. When eventually released, the pain intensifies as circulation is restored until, finally, it hurts no more.
Nope. Still the able-bodied don’t get the intensity of the pain, your own inability to release it. Scrabbling for an analogy, the solution became clear: nipple clamps.
Everything I know about nipple clamps – mostly gleaned from novels like 50 Shades, honestly – describes the process of sensations as analogous to those I am experiencing. I need to stock up.
The next person – EaZyD or no – that doesn’t ‘get’ or is dismissive of my pain will receive a pair of nipple clamps from me and a recommendation to try them for a few hours whilst in bondage (duh, so they cannot be self-removed!).
Then come back and talk to me about pain!
OK, I’m off to research nipple clamps on the net – hey, they need to be stylish nipple clamps (is there such a thing?) – if Google and the Government will allow it (are nipple clamp tests an extreme abuse of carer? I need to know).
PS Am in shock: nipple clamps are being sold on Amazon. Believe it.
(1st posted on SW Archive site: 2013)