Sunday, April 27, 2014

Labor is not the worst pain there is

I understand that labor is painful.

I've witnessed women in labor, and yeah, it hurts. But some people act like it's the worst pain ever, and it's not. No, it's not. It's fucking not. Stop that. I can give you an example.

Every woman I've known who has had a kidney stone tells me that it's more painful than labor. 

I've had that pain. Now, this isn't about one-upmanship; it's about combating ignorance. Someone bashed someone else for whining about a pain that I'm pretty sure is similar to one my ex-wife had, and I'm also certain that I had the male equivalent. In addition to that one, I've had three other pains worse than a kidney stone. Here are the worst pains I've ever felt in the order of severity:

 1. Four-week long head pain from fluid buildup on my brain. It was debilitating. There was nothing else in my world but pain. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I know what migraines are. This was worse. My mom knows what I'm talking about, because she had a brain tumor. It's like that.

2. Hot coal embedded into the skin of my right bicep. This one might be at the top, but it didn't last four weeks. I was ten years old when it happened, and I still remember how harsh it was. I can't imagine what people who have had severe burns over more of their body have felt.

3. Testicular torsion. This was the pain I had last July, and it didn't really go away for a month. I spent most of the first day vomiting.

4. The first six months of my chronic back pain. There were no comfortable positions. I got very little sleep. It was 24/7 pinched nerve pain. I am still in pain in that area of my back, and I get a taste of that intensity from time to time, but now it's more like a constant toothache-like pain in my back.

5. Kidney stones. These are what women tell me are worse than labor. My mom, nurses at the hospital (I was passing a stone at the same time as the testicular torsion, so I noticed it, but barely; I've now passed three), other women I know who have had them.

So yeah. I don't complain about my pain very often, but the comment I read set me off (I'm paraphrasing), although it was about someone else: "I gave birth to a 9lb 2 oz baby and you don't hear me whining." The person who talked about her pain simply talked about it; she wasn't whining, and the pain she's in? I don't know, but given the symptoms my ex had with her ovary issues, I would say it's a lot like testicular torsion, and childbirth has nothing on it. Bottom line: if someone is talking about pain, don't dismiss it out of hand. Even if you think they're whining, they're in pain--they're irritable. I know; I'm always trying to control my irritability, because I'm always in pain. It's been 19 years for my neck now, 10 for my back, and I think I stay pretty nice most of the time.

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