Posts Tagged With: wisdom

Blinding Pain


Indulge me for a moment as I reflect on PAIN. The electric word, pain, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time, but… wait, no. Wrong lyrics. It’s more like I have stood here before inside the pouring rain. But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.

(TANGENT: Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is a song for every occasion. And my life is a never-ending jukebox of extended play soundtracks, product jingles and sitcom theme music. But I digress…)

Pain comes in various levels of intensity that I personally believe can be classified by the initial or ongoing reaction of the body. For instance, there is the OUCH variety. As a parent you become intimately acquainted with this type of pain, since it is usually the result of being caught in the crossfire of flying toys, or stepping on a Lego brick for the 2 millionth time. Then you have the NAG variety. This is pain attributed to something like a paper cut, or in my case, the silent and invisible slice of the skin that occurs when you’ve lost your patience while trying to open the 124 jumbo pack of size 4 diapers. After the initial intake of breath from the sudden sharp cut, this pain follows you around for a day or so as it reopens repeatedly because you’ve forgotten about it, and failed to take it easy on the tickle attacks. Of course, there is the THROB level of pain. Most of us are probably familiar with these dull waves of soreness that gather in your arms, feet and legs when you finally sit down after a long day of errands, decorating and playing host to a couple dozen tyrant gradeschoolers for a birthday party.

Why am I saying all of this? Because on Tuesday of this week I was finally at the point of no return with one of the more devastating levels of pain… which is BLINDING. Blinding pain is when the pain is so intensely excruciating that you squeeze your eyes shut uncontrollably. It’s the kind of pain that wakes you up from a dead sleep and laughs at your feeble attempts to ignore it for the sake of rest. It’s the kind of pain where panic sets in because you are quite certain it will never go away and you seriously consider the horrific thought of what it would mean to endure this kind of torture for the rest of your life. Yep. That was me. It was a toothache. And you can chuckle all you want, but when your head feels like someone is shooting bolts of electricity through the roof of your mouth and directly into your brain, no amount of head-holding, temple-massaging, hot packs, or acetaminophen is going to provide you any relief. It was the kind of pain that you can’t run from though you desperately wish it were possible.

(TANGENT: This is second only to MIND-NUMBING pain in which the pain is to the point where the body shuts off all sensory perception and you knock out. This happened when I was 12 and was hit by a car. You can read that story here.)

Fortunately for me, I have a wife that likes having me around and wants to keep me around for a bit longer. So she set up an emergency appointment for me with the dentist that afternoon.

A little background on my relationship with dentists… I’ve developed a bit of apprehension about visiting them. Why? Well, not because I’m the kind of person who’s afraid of going to the dentist’s office. But it’s more about how the dentist treats me. As a kid, if I had a cavity the dentist would say something along the lines of, “If you don’t lay off the sweets, all of your teeth will fall out.” Now I know that this approach works for some people, but for me it just felt eye-roll worthy. As I got older, the dentists I visited seemed to only get worse. Instead of a jovial “Lay off the sweets,” I’d get a more accusatory “You’re too young to have this going on in your mouth!” or something equally degrading. Their comments were the antithesis of encouragement. “Hey Doc, I’m fully aware of the crummy condition of my incisors. That’s why I’m here! Can we skip the personal insults and just cut to the part where you fix my teeth and take away the pain? Thanks.”

I was happy to find that my wife (you know, that crazy-beautiful lady that tolerates my imperfections) had let the dentist and office staff know of my previous experiences. Because of this, they were extremely gracious. The dentist who took care of me that day was not only compassionate, but genuinely concerned about my overall comfort level. God bless her. After an initial examination I was told that my wisdom tooth in the upper right was broken and infected. I was given antibiotics, pain medication, and scheduled for an extraction appointment in 3 days. The next few days brought my pain level down from BLINDING to NAGGING with the occasional BLURRY thrown in for good measure. In any case, I made it to today.

My appointment was at 7am, which allowed me to get up this morning a whole half hour later than usual. I pressed through the rain, into the car, down the street, and into the familiar strip mall that contains our dental office, along with a smoke shop, a juice bar, and a much-frequented 99 Cents Only Store. As before, the office staff received me with knowing kindness and before I knew it, I was in and out with a mouth full a gauze and one less wisdom tooth!

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

I’m still taking the antibiotics and the occasional pain pill. But the blinding pain is thankfully in my past.

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Categories: health, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DOVE NOTE #20: Healthy Inequality


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

You will rarely (if ever) hear anyone talk about something being unequal yet healthy. That is, until today…

See, I fully believe that healthy relationships thrive on the premise that the love and effort of each individual is being reciprocated, although not always in equal amounts. What I mean is that it’s not so much about what they do or how often they do it, but rather the motivation behind the fact that they do anything at all. If the only effort put into a relationship stems from a desire to store up “credits” to use when they want something, then it’s destined to fail. It is impossible to experience the benefits of cultivating a healthy relationship when the root is established by having your needs met through guilt and manipulation. Those trees can only bear fruit of disappointment and regret.

You need to start with a realistic perspective of the dynamics of your relationship. This should include accepting that any attempt to measure the equality of “give and take” in a relationship is pointless without first finding out what kinds of things really matter to each of you individually. Because your sincere efforts may go unnoticed if you’re focusing on things that may mean a lot to you but mean very little to your significant other. And vice versa. A good place to start is determining your Love Language. It also helps to keep in mind this nugget of wisdom my mother offered me right before I got married…

“Remember that relationships won’t always be 50/50 give and take. Sometimes they’re 80/20 or 30/70, depending on what you may be facing. The key is recognizing when you can be a support, and speaking up when you need to be supported.”

Go mom! 😀

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DOVE NOTE #11: Listen & Pay Attention


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

Once again I realize the wisdom of asking questions and discussing specific topics with my female friends. To say that women are complex would be an understatement. But their complexity is more easily understood if I take one aspect at a time and study it to find out exactly (or at least to the best of my biased male ability) how it functions.

In a recent conversation with a dear female friend of mine, she began to stress the importance of a man’s ability to “listen” and “pay attention“. I smiled while asking her, “Isn’t that the same thing?” (I knew they weren’t, but sometimes I like to goad her). She scoffed and said, “No, they are two very different and very important qualities I look for in a man.” Now on the surface this may seem like a relatively easy thing to do. Of course you can listen… of course you can pay attention… right?? But you have to look deeper and realize how women define these terms. Because unless you’re operating with a keen understanding of how women perceive things (which most men don’t)… you could actually wind up with the opposite results.

LISTENING: It does not refer to idly shaking your head while she rambles on and on about the high price of no-run pantyhose. It does not mean that your face maintains a look of impatience while waiting for your opportunity to speak. It does refer to you being an active participant in the conversation. This is demonstrated by your ability (and level of skill) to interject your thoughts and opinions based on what she has said. It does mean that when she makes a comment or suggestion, you consider and acknowledge it by your actions as well as your words.

PAYING ATTENTION: It does not mean that your eyes pop out because you notice how her new jeans look as if they were painted on. It also does not mean that you comment on her new hair color AFTER she mentioned to you that she had it done (definitely a bad move, you get no points. Depending on how long it took you to comment, you may even have points deducted.) with a simple “Oh yeah… um… cute”. It does mean that in conjunction with listening for instance, you’re able to determine her likes and/or dislikes and might then surprise her with a gesture or gift that she didn’t expect (or necessarily ask for), but rather was implied through conversations you’ve had with her. It also refers to recognizing and appreciating any effort she puts forth for your benefit, as opposed to taking her selfless nature for granted.

Sometimes we view things as complex, only to find out how very simple they are once we comprehend them better… women are a prime example of this. And so I encourage further in-depth research.

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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