Pain? My wife says I am insensitive. I guess I am not as sensitive as most people. An indication of this is that I am continually doing inadvertent damage to myself: cutting fingers, or bumping into things. But I do heal fast.
Sometimes I am standing on the sidelines as a spectator in freezing weather in my short sleeve shirt. As I concentrate on the players battering each other, someone will say, “Aren’t you cold?”
That’s when I notice that I really am cold. But I have to be told.
The only pain I dread is the dentist’s needle. I always refuse the shot. He shrugs his shoulders and begins drilling my molar for a new filling.
He stops every now and then. “Are you sure it doesn’t hurt?”
“No,” I insist. Even though he hits a nerve occasionally, I resist jumping.
But he drew the line when I told him to go ahead and pull that last wisdom tooth without shots. He insisted to go ahead with his pain killers. The pain of the shots was terrible. 150 years ago, the barber would pull your tooth after giving you a shot of whisky. My dentist refused that too.
It is really all mental. The fear of shots started in the second grade. At the start of the morning class, the teacher announced, “This afternoon, children, you will be getting your shot for diphtheria.”
This was six hours away. A better system would have been for the teacher to say, about a minute before the shot, “Children, stand in line here. You will be getting a cookie.”
She didn’t realize how much the thought would torture us. We looked at each other. The bully in our class said, “It won’t hurt me. I can stand it.”
But through the morning class the teacher went on and on about multiplication tables but we heard nothing. It must have been multiplying the nines. I have always had trouble with the nines. Each of our little minds could only think of that shot we would be getting. It was like trying to prepare ourselves for a firing squad.
We stood in a long line. It was a blessing for those who were at the front of the line. We at the rear of the line agonized over the thought of the shot and the needle. It was going to be a big needle, about like sticking a sharp pencil in your arm.
The bully was just ahead of me. He fainted as soon as he saw the nurse holding the needle. The shot was painful, but short lived. And I didn’t faint.
Years later, I realized that most of the pain was in my head. Piled up over six hours of waiting.
If the teacher had done what I recemmend, as we turned the corner into the nurse station, there would be one nurse with a cookie and another with a needle ready to give you your shot. With no anticipation for this shot, I would not have dreaded getting a shot for the rest of my life. At least I don’t faint. It is in your mind.
Now, when the nurse pulls out a needle for a blood sample or whatever, I tell myself to think of that great chili-cheese hot dog that I get outside Home Depot. The wonderful aroma always seduces me. Besides, Marlene won’t know that I am violating my food code. Or I could think some other pleasant thought.
But I am not going to let the dentist give me a shot for my filling tomorrow. I can stand the drill.