When Did Physical Ailments Become a Competition?
By Four Walls
May 22, 2016 11:38am CST
I have to thank @JohnRoberts for the idea for this discussion yet again. Sheesh, if I keep getting ideas from him he's going to demand half of my payout here! The Information Age hasn't necessarily been great in every regard. One of the things I think it's doing is turning us into a nation of hypochondriacs. Let the "health watch" segment on the local newscast have a feature about some disease and the next morning every doctor office in town is fielding calls about it. There's something else in the health world that's become an issue, and that is -- for lack of a better descriptor or term -- pain comparison. I"m not talking about what someone thinks is the "worst pain" (I've heard that kidney stones usually win that argument, which scares me because kidney stones run in my family). I'm talking more along the lines of, "Oh, that's nothing. MY pain is/was so bad...." We are ALL individuals. That means that ten people can experience the same thing and have ten completely different and unique reactions to it. That also means that we each have different reactions to pain. I remember this from being a medical transcriptionist: some patients were labeled as having a very high threshold for pain and others very low. (I'm in the former category, if you're interested.) That means that some people can have the exact same issue (let's say, a broken ankle) and some will be on a morphine drip (that's a joke, son as Foghorn Leghorn used to say) and others will be taking half a Tylenol every other day. I don't know if it's an attempt to generate sympathy (as Warren Zevon once sang, "Poor Poor Pitiful Me") or if people really think that the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality of having a bigger house and better and newer car somehow translates to having bigger medical issues. I'll just say this: for all of you hurting, physically and/or emotionally, I pray for relief. It doesn't matter if you're hurting more or less than I am. That pain is real to you, and you need understanding and relief, not a smug, "Oh, you aren't hurting as badly as I am" dismissal. Here's a Levon Helm cover of a JB Lenoir blues song:
8 people like this
• United States
22 May 16
Yes, we all need to realize that pain of different degrees depending upon the individual. I always rail at those who suffer from a mental illness are met with a "snap out of it" by some non-suffering individual. Unless one is an authority on a wide variety of ailments and the suffering involved, then it is wise to keep the mouth shut.
• Pikeville, North Carolina
22 May 16
You wanna talk about pain, let me tell you.... Okay, just kidding. On a more serious note we as a country, and perhaps the whole western world, need to wake up and realize we are pawns in the hands of the medical/pharmaceutical complex whose goal is not to make us well, which makes them no money, but to manage our ailments, which makes them tons of money. There is no money in wellness, only in sickness.
• Northampton, England
22 May 16
I have a friend who's a total hypochondriac. Every time I call her she regales me with all the tales of what's wrong with her. It's hard work. And she never has a gippy tummy - it's always 'gastric flu' and she doesn't get a cough, it's an 'upper respiratory tract infection'.