The worst physical pain that I ever have is when my sciatic goes out. Luckily, that doesn’t happen too often. I have had a natural home birth with no anesthesia and a C-section as well…neither compare to the back pain. I handle pain pretty well. For example, the last time that I broke my toe: I used a little ice to take down the swelling. Didn’t take anything for the pain. It’s my preference not to if I don’t have to.
I think that life is pretty good at preparing us for the pain that we will eventually experience along our way. There may be a few random individuals out there that never have to endure much of it, but I think they are pretty rare. I’m not only talking about physical pain, but emotional pain as well. We may first endure the loss of a pet as a child. Maybe later we lose a grandparent, which might eventually help to prepare us for the loss of our own mother or father. The break up that we have with our first boyfriend or girlfriend in high school, might prepare us for the heartache we will feel when we can’t be with someone we truly love.
I don’t really feel like parents today are doing the best job of letting children slowly develop a tolerance for pain. As a matter of fact, I think that doctors are encouraging parents to do this. Kids are learning to be far too dependent on pills to make pain go away. I once drove the high school girls softball team to a game. After we got back, when I swept out my bus, I found five dropped painkillers on the floor. Five over the counter pain killers, and those are only the ones that got dropped!
My friend who is an ER nurse told me that the other day she treated a teenaged girl for several hours for stomach pains. The girl was sobbing and moaning, and she appeared to be in a great deal of pain. They did blood work, took x-rays, the whole nine yards. I don’t know if she had any insurance coverage, or not. At the end of the day her diagnosis was gas. She had gas. Mom took her to the ER and spent hundreds of dollars to diagnose gas.
When my daughter needed a baby tooth pulled last year our dentist referred us to an oral surgeon. This joker not only thought that she needed general anesthesia to have a baby tooth pulled, he also specified that she must take two doses of Ativan (a prescription drug that causes disorientation, and loss of memory, and is not to be taken by children under twelve. My daughter was seven at this time.) And even beyond that, he wanted me to administer a topical numbing agent to her arm on the morning of the procedure. This was to numb the spot where the general anesthesia needle would be inserted into her arm.
Needless to say, not only did we not do that, but also my husband spoke for an hour with the guy about how messed up it all was. The man defended his position. He never wanted a child to have a bad experience. My daughter had the tooth removed rather un-traumatically with nitrous and a local. This babying of our children may very well be the reason that we have such a growing problem with painkillers in this country. My same friend from the ER tells me that there are constantly people at the hospital with made up symptoms, trying to get their hands on prescription painkillers. She says that they get irate when they are denied them. She told me that they scream and yell at the doctors, and that sometimes the doctors just give up and give them the pills, because they are so tired of dealing with them.
At our house headaches are cured with drinking water and lying down to rest. My kids know that they can fix their own cuts and scrapes with a squirt of saline and a Band-Aid. Stomachaches call for a glass of milk or some crackers, sitting on the toilet and trying to burp. I am not saying that we don’t give them a lot of love or sympathy. We try very hard to be supportive without coddling. I want for my kids to be ready for the big bad world when it is time for them to get out there. My kids are pretty tough. My son once pulled out his own loose baby tooth to win a bet with my husband. He came out of the bathroom, with blood running out of his mouth, bloody tooth in hand. He was smiling from ear to ear and demanding his twenty dollars. I was pretty impressed.