One thing I have realized is that a lot of people just think pain is a normal part of life. We always assume we will get better and the pain will go away, but that just isn’t the way it works. I have even had doctors tell me pain I’m experiencing is normal. I can tell you one time in specific they were very wrong. I had just given birth to my beautiful baby boy two nights before, when I started feeling an excruciating pain. I am someone who has a very high pain tolerance but I was begging the nurses to check me out. I had one doctor get very rude with me and tell me it was normal to experience pain after child birth, but I knew this was different. They gave me Motrin and sent us home. I was on cloud nine with my brand new baby, but the pain persisted. About a week after being sent home we were getting ready for my family Christmas party when I dropped to the ground in pain and couldn’t move. I told them to go without me and that I would catch up with them, and that the doctors told me it was probably just gas pains. Within the hour I was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. After an MRI the doctors came in and told me I had an ulcer in my stomach that ruptured and I needed to go into surgery immediately. They put me under and I wake up with stitches in my abdomen. After about a week of my family having to take care of my newborn, they sent me home. I was not allowed to eat, I slept sitting upright in a chair, and I proceeded to take care of my new baby while being In the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced. I won’t lie, to this day I’m still a little mad about the nurses dismissing my pain after I had my baby. I can’t help but think this could have been prevented if they just took an extra measure to find out what was wrong, rather than tell me my pain was “normal”, and convincing me of that. I have learned from this experience that pain is rarely normal, and if you are experiencing pain, do not ignore it. Your body is talking to you and you need to listen. As I was reading our “Talking about Health” book, the section about not thinking pain is normal really jumped out at me, because I know how detrimental this can be.
Just this month I lost my grandpa because he went too long without going to the doctor after his hyetal hernia surgery, and despite being in a great amount of pain he never got it checked out because he thought it was normal at his age to be experiencing a lot of pain. It turns out his stomach was jammed up into his lungs, which caused him to pass away before they even had time to do surgery. If he hadn’t thought his pain was normal, maybe it could’ve been prevented.
Even more recently than that, on Friday my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Again. It had been gone for 12 years, so she didn’t think she had much of a reason to worry when feeling pain under her arm. She assumed it was a swollen lymph node due to stress, and waited for it to go away, and it didn’t. These things make me realize just how important it is to listen to your pain as early as possible, and get it checked out. Pain is not normal, and it is so important to identify why you are having pain. You won’t regret it.