Saturday, July 7, 2018

Pain, Unfortunately, Also Lives In A System

That makes it an excellent source for the commoditization of everything, and everybody, who can hope to find another way to make money. And they can come to care less and less about letting go of ever smaller pieces of their own humanity in the process.

I know about this process because I have had to have spinal fusion surgery. Way back around 1999. I broke a bone in my very lower spine, earlier in my life, that helps keep the last vertebrae in place. I did that because my old man was unable to afford to hire professionals to trim what was essentially, though not completely, a dead tree on one side of our house in Burien. One branch that didn't look quite as dead as the others, and which seemed likely to hold me, gave way and I came down hard on my butt; probably six or seven feet of fall easily, some of which I staved off some of the impact of by bringing my hands down to help out with, but still... I couldn't talk for a full minute. And of course we couldn't afford insurance at the time. So the only question my old man had was: "can you walk?" To which I was, after I got my wind back, able to do. And I was in a lot of pain, but I was used to that by then because my knees were also found out to be amazingly able to pop of the sockets, so to speak, at the oddest moments of trying to run, or dance, for that matter. And we couldn't afford to fix them either. Any more than we could fix any of the emotional pain that was a great deal worse (this is the house we lived in when my younger brother died--maybe a year or two after the tree incident, because the only doctor authorized to deliver babies, four to five years earlier, was too drunk to do it--or so my father always claimed--because he was probably trying to deal with too much pain too, so my brother got caught up in his umbilical cord, and had brain damage).

In any case, though, it is at least somewhat ironic that having to be forced to become pain tolerant early on would make for a great way to save money in my retirement.  In a civil, and human, society, however, this cannot become any kind of ideal. Not only is it not a very good way to live, it's a fool's savings more often than not, because trying to not listening to pain because you can't afford treatment is actually more likely to cost you more in the long run because what should have been treated sooner wasn't (I have just been inordinately lucky so far that things haven't gotten any more serious). Which ends up, then, being a sort of tax on everybody as the hospitals have to spread non payment accounts around to those who can pay, by jacking up prices on everything they can. What else can they do, after all, and stay afloat if the Government won't help anymore either?

A proper pain management process, though, would want there to be lots of very involving, and meaningful, ways to be so engagingly occupied, that you can take your mind off of the achs that you know inflammation can only be dealt with so much with drugs, or invasive procedures. Sometimes you have to either stop being quite so active, or be willing to deal with a bit more pain if the activity is truly worth the effort. But all you are talking about then is simply having more balance in all of the things you do; whether it's to avoid pain in the first place, or use all appropriate avenues to help manage it. To do all of that, however, would require having a system in place that valued balance at all, let alone one that might be willing to admit that it has been too much of a source, for far too many kinds of our pain, and for quite some time now. Bad choices are certainly also a part of this, but how can you make good choices if you aren't taught how to, and you aren't taught how to precisely because too many of those who might teach us are still trying to deal with not being taught by their parents, who also had a lot of pain to deal with, and so on for too many generations.

Where pain lives