Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life is Pain (Revisited)

I have been giving this some thought, the last day or two. For previous thoughts on this subject, see here and here.
I think there are different kinds of pain and suffering we can experience. Some of it can be useful and instructive, some is not.

There is no good reason for me or anyone else to suffer from prolonged physical pain. If you are hurting, please, get some relief. Take some drugs to control the pain, find out why it hurts, and correct the physical problems that are causing it. There is no reason for anyone to endure physical pain and discomfort because of some problem that can be healed. If it is a chronic condition, there are ways of dealing with that too.

I have heard that doctors are generally too reluctant to prescribe pain-killers, even when the cause of the problem has been determined and treated. This is wrong-headed and counter-productive. People that have pain should get drugs that relieve their pain. They don't need to suffer in silence to prove how strong they are, or for any other reason.

These days, I have chronic pain to remind me that life is precarious and fragile. I forgot that for a while, and was hurt as a result. I already learned my lesson -- there is no need for any further reminder. So, when I hurt, I take tylenol or ibuprofin, or something to make the pain go away. I have already been sufficiently instructed, and now this superfluous hurting just interferes with normal function. I don't need any more of this particular pain.

Of course, there are other kinds of pain and suffering. Perhaps they are useful, but sometimes I know it is as destructive and counter-productive as other kinds of pain that we can block with analgesics. Perhaps this kind of suffering can be good for the soul, but I think there are practical limits that should not be exceeded. Mental and spiritual suffering can be more painful than the thorn in my side that I deal with all the time right now. Those hurts need salve just as badly. A different prescription is needed.

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