Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caring About Pain

The only time I have experienced the complete disappearance of pain was in the hospital while waiting to have my emergency appendectomy. The kind male nurse gave me a shot of liquid morphine, and it not only completely eliminated all traces of pain -- and that was some serious pain -- but made me feel warm and floaty and loving and as though I could answer any question. I can still picture the room, and the feeling of knowing everything, and having the answer to anything right on the tip of my tongue.

My usual experience with pain pills that work for me, is a feeling as though the pain does not matter -- it's still there, still recognizable as pain -- but the feeling that it is bad -- or important or meaningful at all -- is gone. So what brain access does it block?

I'm thinking about this because I have just taken my midday pain medication. I can still feel the tooth and its surrounding lake of pain, but the bridge to it has been cut. It does not affect me any longer. I don't care. So what is that -- the caring about pain -- that has been wiped out? What do you call that?

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