First, the caveat:
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about woodworking, trying to make sense of what it is that has always drawn me to it. I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.
My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late. (If you’re reading this Monte – you caught me)
If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.
Pain is a relative thing. I have relatives who have caused me pain, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’ve been asked by numerous doctors and nurses to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. My scale has changed significantly in the past 2 years. My 10 used to be a needle through an infected big toe. That pain lifted me right up off the table. My 10 is now the indescribable pain of a ‘spinal headache’ after a spinal tap.
That was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced or ever want to experience ever again. It was the only time I ever wanted to die. The pain was that bad that I just wanted it to stop, whatever it took. So that’s my new 10.
But what about living at a 6 day in and day out? It wears on a soul and affects everything. I’m apparently a bit difficult to live with when I’m in pain. Really? What a surprise.
I don’t live a 6 day in and day out, but I have many days at a 6 or 7 and then I have a few fantastic days when I’m at a 2 or 3. I’m so close to zero that I’m giddy. I try not to overdo it, or overthink and just enjoy it, but it’s almost bittersweet because it comes to an end.
10:46 Now that was dark and depressing. Maybe this is where I tell you that pain is a blessing, yadda yadda, has shown me how wonderful the world is, and that my friends would be complete and utter BS. Pain stinks. It rots, and it slowly erodes your soul.
10:48 9 minutes in and I can’t think of what to say. I did do 8 weeks of pain management and I must say it was somewhat helpful. We discussed neuro-plasiticity and how the brain processes pain, and what we can do to manage it etc etc. We breathed and stretched and ‘mindfully’ walked around the room. Don’t laugh, it was actually beneficial. The biggest thing I took away from that is the difference between pain and suffering.
Pain is the physical sensation. Suffering is the story we tell ourselves about it. Kind of rings true.
Don’t get me wrong, I have good days, good moments and lots of laughs. But being in pain is an isolating experience. It boils everything down quickly to ‘what am I able to do’ and within that ‘what do I want to do’.
Tonight I just wanted to get out to my shop. The nerve pain in my elbows has been bothersome but I pushed myself to get groceries today and take care of some household matters. My tank was almost empty by the time I made it out to the shop and just holding the chisel was sending the pain up my arm. I got through two mortises. I looked at them awhile, quite pleased and then reluctantly headed back into the house.
We all have a dark side. It’s not politically correct to talk about it most of the time. We’re supposed to ‘deal with it’ and ‘oh isn’t she brave’ and ‘oh I don’t know how you do it.” and my favourite “at least it’s not cancer”. When I’m on the dark side, I just want the world to leave me alone. I want to go out into my shop and measure something, mark it with a pencil and cut it. I want to rearrange my workdesk and sort through my sandpaper. Unfortunately sometimes that’s a luxury. I have a family who depends on me to keep the household running.
I know that there are people worse off than I am. That means diddly squat when I’m having a bad day.
Guess what kind of day today has been???
11:06 – three more minutes of this will be painful for anyone reading it, so what to write for three minutes?
-free shipping at Lee Valley
-winning the Home Depot survey contest
-getting the sander I want for my birthday
-a good laugh on Lumberjocks.
There. Almost a smile. One minute left. If I follow my rules I can’t delete this. Unfortunate.
-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.