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anaesthetic for your pain?

August 9, 2011

Now you don’t expect advice on how to live your life from a dentist. Especially not really good advice. But that is what I got a few days ago.

cleaning your teeth

For some reason I have been thinking a lot about pain of late. Physical, emotional and existential pain. Pain of my own and of others.

My approach to pain might be considered a little strange in that I prefer to experience it. I don’t like taking pills for headaches. When I have had back problems in the past I rarely dulled the pain. When there were days when it all seems like too much and getting absolutely plastered seemed to be more than an attractive option to take away the pain I just couldn’t face the hangover that would inevitably come.

My eldest had her first experience with a local anaesthetic this week. It was a small filling. Probably didn’t need anaesthetic. But given that she had slapped the dentist during her last visit we thought it was best for all concerned.

The procedure itself went off without even so much as an “ouch”.

Afterwards, the dentist told her not to eat anything for at least three hours. Not because she might damage the filling but because of the damage she might do to her tongue or cheek. The danger, he said, is that you will hurt yourself in ways that you will not become aware of until after the anaesthetic wears off.

You know that the anaesthetic is there to take away the immediate pain but the result is a loss of sensation, a loss of the ability to feel in much broader and unexpected areas. That is how we can end up damaging ourselves further.

From a filing that damage is easy enough to avoid. From a sore back, a bruised ego or a broken heart it is much, much harder.

Might just be easier to avoid the anaesthetic in the first place?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Fiona permalink
    August 9, 2011 10:26 am

    This is how I try to live my life however the pain at times can become unbearable. I look around and see so many people close to me clouding pain with medication and alcohol. They seem happy in their lives and then I wonder – is it worth the exposure to pain? And I ask myself – Which is right in the long term? A life of raw pain or unaware bliss???

    • August 9, 2011 9:35 pm

      That is the question isn’t it. I am not sure there is a ‘right’ answer though. We all have to make our own choices and then live with the consequences of those choices. All I can say is that having made the choice to become aware I would never go back.

      Thanks for commenting Fiona. Welcome.

  2. Megan permalink
    August 9, 2011 9:24 pm

    I try and remember that the pain is telling you something. A headache might mean you have not had enough water today, or that you are stressing too much. Back (or body) pain tells you that you need to strengthen your core muscles, or that your posture needs improving, or you need to stretch after exercise. Sometimes, (just sometimes) panadol (or other drug of choice) is needed, just to get through to have a little relief… but I find that the journey of finding the source of the pain is rewarding (or the sensation of needing to anesthetise the emotional pain) even though it is a little trickier.

    • August 9, 2011 9:40 pm

      For me the journey is certainly a little trickier. I have been working on a post about what lessons I have learned by tracing the source of the pain I have experienced in my back. I want to publish it but I just can’t seem to finish it. It has been frustrating me but I think these current posts and comments have helped me to realise the journey isn’t finished yet. Despite that it has, as you point out, been a rewarding process.

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