Arbitrary Designations

The pain scale is possibly the worst way to measure anything. First of all, there is genre to consider; quality, duration, impact. If ten is the highest number, then I have to put childbirth there (something I say from experience), but actually, childbirth didn’t cause me to pass out. So maybe leg amputation, or a gun shot is actually worse. But then I would factor in duration, quality and impact. Giving birth felt like water skiing my undercarriage over sharp metal spikes… but not the whole time, just for a few seconds during each contraction. Actually childbirth is a good example of many genres of pain: burning, aching, sharp, sudden, subtle, dull.

So yeah, if we put childbirth as a ten (winning out over leg amputation based on duration and diversity, sorry to those of you that have experienced both and maybe think differently), then how am I supposed to tell a doctor about my neck pain? Compared to childbirth, in it’s feel at the moment, it is a .02, or something. But then if we add qualifications, it goes up. It’s like the feeling you get between your shoulder blades when you spend too much time reading; like that, but spread out from the top of my spine, to the lower middle of my back. And it’s also like giving someone, who is a little too heavy, a piggy back ride, or like a very small, and constant volt of electricity.

I went bra shopping the other day and did not factor in how exhausting it would be to take my shirt on and off so many times. The store clerk who was helping me didn’t understand my dilemma, and so she started by bringing me one size at a time in these large wooden drawers. After allowing this “customer service” to go on for a while, I finally got fed up with having to take everything on and off, and I just went out into the store and grabbed 7 or 8 different styles and sizes: the thing I should have done from the start.

And don’t get me started on physical therapy…
I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing this post. I wanted to describe and explore the subject of pain in relation to that ridiculous Pain Scale.

My current situation helps me understand how people can avoid getting the help they need after something like a car accident, and then wind up with a life time of low level pain. I am also starting to see how people with constant, but low-level pain can become a bit cranky, or seem like complainers to everyone else. It seems especially difficult for people who have more than low level pain, and no outward signs of the cause. They’re just walking around looking normal but always hurting. I’m grateful to not be in that place, but I’m gaining an appreciation for those people.

Another side effect I’m noticing is that I don’t really want to be in the car. But I’d say my panic level is at about a 3. For the first week and a half, kind friends took me places like the grocery store (although mostly I was just home) and I could just close my eyes when road conditions scared me. Then some other friends had a car they could lend me, so I’ve been taking myself to the places. It requires deep breathing and self-talk. But so what, right? Things happen to all of us. In fact, I am keenly aware of the fact that I got best-case-scenario in the world of hitting two cars with my one car.

It would take another post to describe the other, seemingly unrelated changes taking place as a result of this car crash. I would put those changes at about an 8, but a sneaky 8, one that will take a little time to comprehend and recognize fully.

Briefly: I’m officially not YWAM staff any longer. I’ve had to drop my classes for the Winter quarter, and am hoping to be able to navigate myself back into school for Spring quarter. I think. Because I am no longer YWAM staff, there is the matter of making enough money to live. In the midst of wracking my brain for a job that I wouldn’t hate, a friend suggested I try writing for money. This idea hadn’t occurred to me, because it seemed too soon in my “career,” especially considering I really had not planned to ever try to live on writing. I had planned to go to school until I could get a teaching job, live off teaching, and write on the side.

So things change. And things stay the same, but in the sameness, I change. My sister is getting married in a week and adding five more children to the two she already has. Her change is, I think, at a 9 or 10 with nothing sneaky about it. I am constantly single, but my relationship with this state of being changes and I’d put my current level of acceptance somewhere between 2 and 9, give or take, depending on the day. Mostly it’s fine, and the other day when my boss hollered at a regular customer that “she’s still single,” I wasn’t even embarrassed. I mean, it’s true. It’s fine. But also, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I may avoid social media. My negative feelings about this hyped up holiday are at a 6 or so. Maybe a 3 if I take the time to think through what is good and real in my life, because on a scale of one to ten, the realness and goodness of my life is really up near the top.

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