Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Pain in My Arm

I've got a pain in my right arm that won't go away. In the morning, when I open my front door and reach down to pick up the New York Times, I sometimes feel this shooting pain running up and down my elbow and forearm. When I am showering and reach across my chest to my left armpit to scrub away the grime and smell, I can feel a sore muscle or tendon in my right shoulder painfully resisting my movement. As I am slipping my belt into my pant loops and reach behind my back to make sure I'm not missing any loops, I occasionally feel the oppressive ache of a limb being pushed too far. And every now and then when I simply reach for a shirt on a hanger that is just a little higher than expected, I experience the burning sensation of nerves or muscles that feel convulsive and cramped. It never lasts for very long, but I can only go for a few hours without being reminded once again that I have a pain in my arm.

I don't know how you all feel about such things, but considering that none of this pain lasts, that it comes and goes quite quickly and under quite predictable circumstances, I am not inclined to have it checked. It's way too much of a hassle and they are unlikely to find anything in any case. But there is another reason that I'm probably not going to have a doctor look at it, you know, unless it gets a lot worse, and that secret reason is I'm beginning to like it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a masochist or anything; I don't enjoy the onset of pain. But what I do enjoy thoroughly and appreciatively is the absence of pain. And there is nothing like a pain in your arm to remind you of all those times when you are not experiencing any pain at all. I'm in pain, what, at most, 10% of my day. Which is just enough to keep me focused on those ecstatic no-pain moments. When that burning sensation rolls through my arm it hurts a fair amount, occasionally, enough to make me wince. But it happens so rarely and for such a transitory period, that it's really sort of worth it, allowing me to savor all those wonderful pain-free moments so much more than I otherwise would.

Additionally, the thing about this pain, too, is that's it not migraine headache pain or stomach cancer pain or even stub your toe pain. It can be fairly intense, but it's always bearable, always within manageable limits. That is the best kind of pain to have, by far, as you get all the benefits of said pain with very few of the disadvantages. You can accept the moments of pain that come your way while growing inordinately fond of all the rest of the moments when you feel not only good, but hyper-consciously good that the pain you experience is an infrequent but persistent visitor who never overstays his welcome and always leaves your house in a much better condition than he found it.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting series of posts that last few days, Third. I'm just catching up. Today's I particularly identify with. I won't list my various aches and pains, but I have come to view them as a part of me that is familiar and not at all unwelcome. As you suggest, you don't know that you have it good unless you know a little about bad....