Pain don’t hurt

I get bored when I’m not home incessantly fucking with my wife about every silly thing (I still have no idea how I tricked my wife into marrying me) so I end up looking up equally silly stuff on the internet instead.

Today, I was wondering why I’ve never had a headache… I need to caveat that by saying that I don’t have a lot of memories of what went on in my youth and I may have had headaches then, but I don’t now. Also, I do experience sinus pressure in the mucus membrane when I have a cold or the flu, or other viruses, but that’s just pressure right behind my face. I don’t consider that a headache. In the broader term, I don’t get headaches.

It turns out that the “never getting headaches” thing goes a bit deeper. It’s most likely not that I don’t get headaches, but more that I don’t process them in a normal way. I’ll get to that slowly with a couple of scenarios below.

In 2016, I broke the top rib in my back. The doctors at a couple of places said that was nearly impossible (I talk about that here ) until the second doctor got an X-ray and confirmed that, yeah, I did that. While I had that broken rib in the top of my back, I could not turn my neck without extreme pain, yet, I called the pain a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10 with spikes to maybe 6-7 (that’s also covered in the link above).

In March 2022, I fractured my left medial orbit, which is a tiny little bone around the eye-socket. The pain of that was literally a zero for me. It sucked, obviously, and walking around looking like my pimp had roughed me up for not turning in the right amount was pretty embarrassing, but pain? Not so much. -That aside, it is humorous to me that now there is a spot I can touch on my left eyebrow that immediately makes my forehead itch. That’s a parlor trick for one…

In, I think, August of 2022 (it cold have been early September) I fractured my my Fibula in two places, while simultaneously suffering a severe sprain to the ligament on the opposite side. I don’t know which actual ligament was the source of the sprain, only that the doctor was way more concerned about the sprain than the break (2022 was a bad year for Donnie in the traumatic injury column. I didn’t post this one anywhere because I was more concerned about how to get to the bathroom without being able to walk than anything else).

I didn’t get Xray copies on this one, but I did snap a picture of the monitor where the doctor was showing me what was going on, that is below. The fractures are pointed out by the arrow coming in on the right side, while the sprain is highlighted by the arrow coming in from the left. The sprain isn’t obvious to me in this image (it was more obvious in the other Xray images he showed me, but I didn’t snap pictures of those) but a sprain is ligament damage as opposed to bone damage. I’m certainly not qualified to figure that out from a picture of an Xray.

The incident which caused all this happened while I was in a second-floor hotel room in Las Cruces, NM. I got out of bed to go take a shower, took a step (which was one of the ones where you know you are going to roll your ankle over) so I took a second step. The second step was worse than the first. My big ass fell right on the ankle when I went down and it fucked it up pretty badly… I immediately knew it was broken. In that moment, I said “Ow.”

I did not say “Ouch”, I did not spout profanity, I just said, “Ow”. If my loving wife ever reads this, she will concur that I say “Ow” for all injuries equally. Stub my toe? “Ow”. Break a rib in my back that basically incapacitates me for weeks on end? “Ow”. Kinda like a robot trying to mimic human emotion without knowing what pain is.

Anyway, I’d like to say I soldiered on and continued to the shower, but I didn’t. There was some pretty intense pain coming from the fractures and sprain. Let’s call it a 5 out of 10 on the pain scale that evidently I alone follow. I instead packed up my stuff, walked down a flight of stairs, made my way to my car, and tried to find an urgent care in Las Cruces, NM.

I was able to find two urgent care centers in Las Cruses (that were open at the time. Be it time of day, or otherwise) and both of them required an appointment. That’s right, they wouldn’t let me walk in (hobble in?) on my broken ankle. So instead, I drove about six hours home (with the badly broken ankle) which sucked and hurt the whole goddam way. I eventually landed at the “Meh Hospital” ( I call it the “Meh Hospital” because I saw the vacant lot before they started building it. There wasn’t enough space to make anything “exceptional”. But, kudos to them for naming the thing the “Maricopa Exceptional community Hospital”. If only the word “community” wasn’t there, it really would be called “Meh.”

When I got there, every parking spot within 100 yards of the door was a handicapped spot (and still is). I think there are seven parking spaces fairly near the doors. While I appreciate what they were trying to do there, I fucking hated it then and still do to this day. While I knew at the time that I had a broken ankle (or worse) I didn’t know the severity. I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive my car home. If I parked in a handicapped space without a permit, I could be ticketed and/or towed in addition. I wasn’t ready to accept that risk. So, I parked in the first available spot in the side lot, which was probably 200 yards from the door to the place. I hobbled, very slowly, to the doors. It probably took 20 minutes. I was probably in far more irritation than pain the whole time.

After all that, guess what happened… Just guess, you’ll never get it right…

If you guessed that they led me back to a room where I sat for a long time waiting on a doctor, that portion would be right. But, the doctor ordered some X-rays and determined that yeah, I was pretty fucked. He told them to slap a temporary cast on me (ace bandage on some leftover sticks) and referred me to a specialist (it was the specialist several days later who identified the extent of the damage). This “doctor” did literally nothing but give me a referral.

Well, I’ve beaten the last example to death, but getting back to the actual point: Pain Don’t Hurt. It turns out that there is a lot of truth to that statement. With dependencies…

When I was too little to have memories, I managed to dump a pot of boiling water on myself while in a hotel room in Nevada (I think). I have zero memory of that event, though I carry signs of it to this day. My earliest memory is of the therapy that resulted from that event. It was pain that wrapped around the scale. Again, I have no idea how old I was, only that it hurt so fucking bad that I don’t know if anything will ever match it.

I literally can’t remember what they did to me for the therapy. In my mind, the vision just comes back of me being held in a big vat of boiling water. I’m sure that’s not what actually happened, but that’s what my mind conjures up when I try to remember it. That and the pain… A pain so intense that my mind kind of let me stop processing pain and it just turns into like a technicolor blur. I know that probably doesn’t make any sense… It doesn’t really make any sense to me either.

That is my first living memory: A pain so intense that my brain literally couldn’t process it and kind of broke.

Many studies have proven out that perception of pain isn’t real. Don’t get me wrong, if I touch the red-hot burner on the stove, I’m still going to say “Ow”. But that’s it. I yank my hand back -just like you do- that’s why we have sensory input; to protect our bodies from harm. But, do you know what I’m going to say when I touch that burner? That’s right, “Ow”. Just ask my wife. She never knows if I stubbed a toe or broke my ankle in a couple of places. That’s all the emotion I can muster.

It’s funny, with all the traumas listed above, the one thing that will make me say something other than “Ow” is if I stub my pinky toe -hard- on like the edge of a bed or something. Broken bones get an “Ow”, but that stubbed pinky toe will get a series of deep, through-the-teeth inhales and exhales with no other noise whatsoever. Call them like an 8 on the pain scale. Them suckers hurt!

It turns out that about 4% of Americans surveyed say that they’ve never had a headache. I bet if there was a study done on that 4%, they’d probably find a similar type of trauma very early, and I mean like their very first memory, in their lives that just kind of broke their ability to process pain.

Or it could just be totally random… Like me not being allergic to poison oak, while both of my brothers are.

Leave a Reply