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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thoughts about pain

            As I have written a few times, part of the reason why I started this blog back in December, 2010 was that I had the time to do so, due to not having the physical stamina to do a normal job.  Further, over the past three months or so, I haven’t felt sufficiently well to think enough to even blog.  Strangely, the past week or so, I have begun to feel better with regard to the latter, but there wasn’t a specific subject on my mind.
            On Friday, I was eating lunch, and I cracked a tooth down to the nerve.  It was a little painful at first, and increased over the weekend such as to realize that I needed to have it dealt with first thing Monday morning.  I did exactly that, calling my dentist about 8:15 am.  By 9:15, I had been asked to come in, had it x-rayed, had it confirmed that it was broken, given anesthetic, had it pulled, and was paying the dentist.  About 12:30 pm, the anesthetic began to wear away.  I have had teeth pulled before, and had been given warnings about pain staying around for a while, but there had never been a problem.  This time, pain was a real problem—one whole side of my head hurt.  Soon thereafter, it was off to the pharmacy to get a prescription of acetaminophen with codene filled.  Even with that, there still was some pain.  Today (Tuesday) at about 2:30 pm, I could finally say to myself that I don’t need to take the next acetaminophen with codene pill.
            Strangely enough, I feel like thinking.  One particular thought occurred to me over the past day and a half.  It is about the significance of pain.  I have never gotten around to reading C S Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, although I have certainly heard speakers and read authors make reference to major points that appear in that book, and understand that it is generally considered the major work on the subject.  This thought is really basic:  it couldn’t have been produced while experiencing significant pain.  Over the past day and a half, much of the time, I didn’t feel like doing anything other than holding my hands on my head.  On the converse, if one’s not going through significant pain, there is a degree of thinking about it as a memory, or something that is, to some degree, disconnected from one’s current state.  In other words, even as a believer in Jesus, when I was in significant pain, I was not particularly waxing thoughtful over its role in reminding me of the sinfulness of man and the all-powerfulness of God.  In fact, I couldn’t think of much else than wanting the pain to go away, and not knowing what else to do about it, or, if I had an idea about what to do about it, doing it.

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