Thoughts on pain

16 Jun

****Disclaimer – this might be too much information that you don’t need to know about me, but I have no shame, apparently (probably comes from working in some capacity in the health care field, and interning with an OBGYN). If you’re ok with that, read on.

I’ve always been pretty good at suppressing expressions of pain or discomfort (I have a thing against going to doctors for some reason – probably because I’ve been to too many when I was younger, and also know how annoying and complicated and expensive the health care system can be anywhere), be it a collapsed lung, sunburned feet, cankersores (often multiple at a time), girly cramps (I used to get really bad ones, and have relatives who pass out occassionally from the pain – I think it’s partly genetic?), or attacks by my mace.

My lung didn’t just collapse that one time – it collapsed several times. It’s just I never bothered to do anything about it. Sure, it hurt, but it wasn’t as bad as the first time (except for maybe 2 or 3 times – especially that time at the Larry King Cardiac Foundation event when Jenn took over my duties and made me take a nap before the Gala that evening). I don’t tell my parents because it worries them. I just take it easy for a day or so and it gets better.

The only scar I have on my body is a scar I got from my mace – when I was first learning how to spin, and some high winds crashed my mace tip into the middle finger of my right hand – I think bone was exposed…I’m not sure. But we had a football game that night (where we play in-stand music and perform the field show), so I simply wrapped it up and went to the game. This is only one among many many injuries during my tenure as Drum Major at TO (I’ve lost countless brain cells, no doubt, though the many times I hit myself in the head. Bruises and blood were an every day occurrence – come to think of it, this may have been the time in my life when I simply stopped complaining about pain because I’ve learned how to deal with it – I once spent forever practicing a move that involved body-wrapping the mace around me, and kept dropping my mace on the same spot on my hip, which bruised so much it ended up oozing blood by the end of the weekend).

I’ve had Scout or Sabi or other dogs get so excited they’ve accidentally bitten me or scrapped me with their teeth or claws. They tend to go unnoticed (only my mom would make some horrified comment about how there are huge red scratches on my arms that look on the verge of bleeding).

So, what prompted this post in the first place? Well, there’s been this sort of muscular pain in my, erm, groin area for a month now. It feels like I just pulled a muscle there, and it started out rather painlessly – more or less just a subtle uncomfortableness – more accented when I stayed on my feet for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, in New York City, I’m on my feet all the time walking places.

I thought it would get better on it’s own, but Paris is, of course, a walking city. Between the walking tourism I’ve been doing (museums, gardens, Paris in general), walking places I need to be (classes, dinner, afternoon excursions with our professors), being tired, being on my feet all day, the pain in my groin got worse. It came to a head yesterday when we had a welcome dinner for the people in the new class. We sat in a sort of set-up where we had to move rather heavy tables for people to get to and from their seats during dinner. During one of these exertions (as I was moving a table out to let someone out), I felt that weak muscle give, and it HURT. I limped all the way home, and it’s the worse it’s been. I was worried enough to ask Grace to ask her sister what I should do. Her sister said it might be a hernia, but a second opinion from Dr. Emily seems to state that it’s probably just a pulled muscle.

Still, I’ve made a point to stay off it as much as I can (Grace and Sarah went out and got me lunch today as I sat around and waited for our next class to start), but I can’t avoid going to class or going on excursions and the other basic necessities of using my legs. So I went and found myself a cane today – it’s not that I need it all the time, but it’ll help with some extra support when I’ve been on my feet for a long time, which will no doubt happen during one of our museum trips later this week and next and the next one after that.

I hate having a cane though – I feel ridiculous and I feel like people will think I’m making too big a deal of something (yes, I realize people really don’t think much about me, but I don’t want people thinking I’m trying to garner sympathy). Back in college, Adam, Cris, Kevin, and I went to Catalina one summer to kayak, and my feet (and only my feet) got incredibly sunburned. It was REALLY bad. And hurt really bad. So much that I had trouble walking (we went to watch Fiddler on the Roof once shortly after – our seats were Mezzanine, and Xia had to literally carry me up the stairs) – Cris, among some other friends, apparently were talking smack behind my back (things like “What a faker, it can’t be THAT bad.”). A couple days later, we were at my place watching a movie or something, and my socks were off. This is how the conversation (in my very very muddled, perhaps somewhat re-constructed memory) went:

Cris: Uhh…Cynthia, why are you feet black?
Cynthia: It’s sunburned.
Cris: Ohh it really IS that bad…

Later, I realized it was a second-degree burn and probably needed to go see a doctor, but it eventually got better on it’s own, with the help of lots of aloe, and friends. Actually, when I sprained my ankle the week after I came back to school after taking a week off to heal up my collapsed lung, Adam, Cris, Xia, and whoever else was around were regularly giving me piggyback rides to my car since I couldn’t walk.

In any case, two points. Point 1: This muscle in my groin hurts – not bad enough for me to go to the doctor, (I’ve only been to the doctor once for pain – and that was the collapsed lung), but bad enough for me to speak up and do something about it – which is getting this visible evidence (argh) of my gimpy-ness to prevent potentially more serious damage. Point 2: I have awesome friends that may make fun of me for being a baby, but are there for me when things like this do get bad. (Muahahah – they’re being taken advantage of and don’t even know it. Shhh.)

The only fun thing about a cane is that I can spin it when I’m bored. Perhaps I’m destined to always carry a long, blunt object that I can spin close to my head.

(Juliana, I know you’re going to make some pointed comment about the paper cut at the LA zoo, but that’s an anomaly, right?)

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Posted by on June 16, 2009 in Uncategorized


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