Blog .:. July 2006 11 Entries
My arm is in a sling. I’m not thrilled about it, but I had to stop myself from doing stupid things like picking up a full bucket of water with my injured arm. You’d think the pain from the pulled muscles would stop me from doing that, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of chronic back pain, it’s how to ignore pain when it stops me from doing something I’d really like to do, actually, and thank you very much.
I never said it was a smart attitude to take towards pain.
So. Sling. It means there’s a ninety percent chance that when I go to lift up that water bucket with my injured arm I’ll remember in time that I really shouldn’t do that. And the other ten percent of the time I just spill the water all over myself anyway, so no harm done.
It also means that every random stranger I meet thinks they are clever when they say “Are you a righty or a lefty?” Oh ho ho. So funny. I never would have thought that a) I was really lucky I injured my “off” shoulder or b) I was horribly unlucky for injuring my writing arm (whichever the case might be), but now that you pointed it out, that’s the most amazing thing I’ve thought of all day! Excuse me while I get a chair and a cup of tea and some biscuits and sit down here in the middle of the parking lot to contemplate my luck (or lack thereof).
I don’t understand why people care. I mean, it’s not like they are going to help me get groceries or anything. They just… feel the need to comment on my “condition.” I feel like pregnant women must when people stop them in the street and try to rub their bellies. People, bugger off. No one asked you to touch the pregnant ladies. For that matter, Blue Haired Lady In The Grocery Store, no one asked you to poke my arm and ask if it hurts, either.
Do people think I don’t realize my arm is in a sling? Do I radiate vibes that tell everyone else I need to be reminded that I’ve done something, probably something stupid and embarrassing, to injure myself? Is my bad luck somehow communal property and I just didn’t get the memo?
I mean, why do people stop someone who is visibly injured and probably in pain to annoy the crap out of them? I don’t care about your Uncle Joe who broke his pinky toe and how it was so much worse for him than me. Or about the time you almost broke your wrist but it was just a sprain and they gave you X prescription drug for it and I should really try that because it was great. I have tried X prescription drug, and Y, and Z, and a few you’ve never heard of, and in at least one case my doctor was forced to write a formal letter to the drug company stating I’d had an adverse side effect that wasn’t on The List.
You know The List. It’s the list of side effects that you read and then go “Who in the world turns blue with purple spots from taking Really Common Over the Counter Medication?” That would be me.
I realize that you can’t tell just by looking at me that prescription drugs and I get along like a house on fire, but I think we can all assume that my doctor and I have my drug regimen under control and I probably don’t need the advice of Average Jane on the Street, especially if Average Jane on the Street is walking out of the grocery store carrying a case of Orange Soda. Who drinks Orange Soda, anyway?
Tagged: Injury & Illness
Earthquake this morning.
Pookie: yawned and went back to sleep.
Me: would have yawned and went back to sleep, but
Tweedledum: jumped straight up in the air, bounced off the back of the bed like it was a trampoline, careened into the bedroom door, knocked over his food bowl, overturned the water bowl, knocked my sweater off the chair it had been hanging on, knocked a pile of books off the kitchen table, jumped on the couch and tore through the cushions, bounced off the coffee table, and came to a stop in the middle of the living room, all fluffed up like a puffer fish and with eyes bigger than the moon.
Apparently, in the year we’ve had him, Tweedledum has never experienced an earthquake.
I don’t think he liked it much.
A discussion in progress (of which I am a witness only):
Person A: Sometimes I feel pressure to do X, and it can get overwhelming. Does anyone else go through this sort of thing / what do you feel pressured to do?
Persons B through Q: Yes: This, and This, and This, and I agree with what D said, and for me it’s like This, and That Other Thing, and This, and I think I feel This because of This…
Person R: Look, I think the issue here is not so much social pressure as it is the way you react to it. Plenty of people are able to cope just fine with it, and I don’t think a discussion like this is the way to go about resolving your issues. Intellectually understanding what you feel (which is where this discussion is leading) is not going to automatically make you feel better. If the issue is as traumatic as it seems, professional help is probably the best option.
One caveat to add: Person R’s point is not that everyone involved in the discussion needs to see a therapist. It’s that therapists are qualified to deal with these sorts of issues and can give people not only an intellectual understanding of what is happening but also the tools they need to change that. Whereas a discussion between friends may lead to an intellectual understanding but knowing why a person feels the way they do may not be enough for them to change the underlying cause.
I find it interesting because my reaction is split:
On an individual basis, I agree: there’s a danger that people will attempt to “cure” themselves by hashing over their problems with a group of friends when what they really need is qualified, professional care. If Person W feels so much pressure to do X in their life that it is affecting the quality of their life, an intellectual discussion on where the pressure comes from and whether or not it is shared by other people is not going to help them (in all likelihood) deal with that pressure in their day-to-day life. On the other hand, most people feel the pressure to do X in their day-to-day life and find ways of coping with it and are, pressured or not, healthy and stable people. It does no harm at all and, I think, can be quite liberating, to stop once in a while and acknowledge the pressure exists. To hear someone else admit they feel that pressure as well is a good thing: the pressure is not imaginary, or in one’s own head, and other people are coping with it as well—so on those off days where it suddenly seems too much, communal support can be just the thing to make it through the rough patch.
If I went running off to a therapist every time I felt like people were pressuring me to do to many things, I wouldn’t have time to do anything, including make the money I’d need to finance the therapist.
I find two things particularly intriguing about the discussion, and then I’m leaving this open-ended. No questions, just an invitation to y’all to respond in whatever way you like (if you like).
First, the discussion is split gender-wise, with Peoples A-Q being predominately female (as much as one can tell online) and People R being male, with at least one other male supporting his position.
Second, Person R seems to see the discussion as an attempt to “fix” the issues people are raising, while I felt they weren’t so interested in solving everything as acknowledging it exists. The next step, of course, would be to take some sort of action, and some of Persons A-Q have suggested various resources (and Person R’s comment about therapists/doctors being a valid and for some people necessary option is, I think, as appropriate as any other resource).
I guess I have a question after all:
I don’t see this type of discussion as an attempt to fix the issue; I see it as a way to determine whether 1) the issue is common; 2) what options others have tried; 3) how successful they’ve been; and 4) how much of an issue it seems to be with others. It’s information gathering, with a side of social support. If it’s not a major issue (e.g. “I feel all this pressure to wear make up so that I can be ‘beautiful’, social support may in fact be the fix: ‘No, you’re beautiful just the way you are.’”). But if it is a major issue, the information gathering would be ground work to help determine the next step, whatever that step might be. Person R’s response, however, makes me think he believes the discussion is an attempt in and of itself to solve the issue(s), whatever they are.
So, I’m just curious, since we’ve all had these discussions before: When we start a discussion like, “Sometimes I feel all this pressure to get married, like I can’t be a complete woman if I’m single and baby-less” (or, equally valid, “Sometimes I feel all this pressure to stay single, like who I am as a woman and my achievements are somehow less valid if I get married,” or, again, “I’m supposed to be this strong, independent woman able to manage both a career and family perfectly, and sometimes that’s just too much.”)—what are we hoping that discussion will accomplish?
In grade school and high school and, actually, come to think of it, in some college classes I was forced to memorize… whatever. Stuff. Things. Poems, mostly.
I can still muddle my way through the first twenty lines or so of Canterbury Tales (the correct way, even: “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote / the drougt of March hath perced to the roote” and so on). And I can… no, that’s it. I know the English version of the excerpt from Virgil’s Aeneid (“Friends! So things suck right at this moment, but we’re men and we’ll tough it out. We toughed out everything else, didn’t we? And please don’t think about what it means that, as your leader, I keep getting you into these horrible situations, because what I’d like to do now is send some of you hunting. If we’re all very lucky, the only thing that will die is our dinner. And given how hungry we are right now, if you die, we might just eat you. But don’t think about that, I said! Now, who wants to go hunting?” — Ok, so that wasn’t exactly the speech, but it’s pretty close. The first word is right, anyway.)
I don’t know the… uh… um… the other poem. Wait, I’ll look it up.
[You know what really bites about blogs? No sense of time passing. I’m just saying. Put on some Muzak for about three minutes and then start reading again, would you?]
Ok. It was “The Trial of Those Responsible for the Fall of Style City,” by Williams John Watkins. There’s a funny story, sort of, attached to my memorizing that one, and it ended with WJW (I’m pretty sure, anyway) emailing me a copy of the poem that included an extra verse I didn’t even know existed.
Anyway. All these things I had to memorize and have since forgotten, and what pops into my head this afternoon?
If I am going to be drowned, if I am going to be drowned, if I am going to be drowned—
Why, in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea,
Was I allowed to come thus far and contemplate the sand and trees?
I didn’t even have to memorize that. Why is it taking up space that could otherwise be filled with the syntax for a MySQL query, which I had to look up last night?
Or at least more Chaucer. You cant go wrong with shoures, soote or otherwise.
Tagged: Aeneid by Virgil, Books & Reading, Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, Geoffrey Chaucer, Learning Education & Research, Open Boat by Crane, Stephen Crane, The Trial of Those Responsible... by Watkins, Virgil, Williams John Watkins
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