des douleurs physiques.
Je m’arrangerai avec
les douleurs morales.
Milt’s Muse, whose blog was mentioned in the New York Times, together with Time Goes By and Octogenarian, wrote about pain, and his reaction to it.
It brought me back to lots of memories and thoughts that most of the time, I’d rather not think about. But sometimes, it’s useful to think about such things, because, they are with us, and they will come back, for sure. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been what they call in French ‘douillette’. When looking for the word in the dictionary, I found ‘soft’, which I am not sure is exactly the same thing. Basically, it’s a pejorative word, which means that you can’t take pain.
Well, I can’t take physical pain, and I don’t see any reason why I should if it can be avoided. Plus it’s all very well for other people to decide what you can take and what you can’t.
remember the doctor who decided that I could take the pain when I gave birth. They had promised me an epidural and finally decided I didn’t need it. Why? Because I put up a brave attitude, was very polite about the whole thing and refrained from screaming. After quite a few hours of being polite though, I figured I had had enough and started screaming and then, suddenly, THEY couldn’t take it and did give me pain-killers.
That was the time when I decided that I wouldn’t be polite any longer. When I go to a doctor’s or to hospital, or the dentist’s, the first thing I say is: “I have to tell you that I am over sensitive to pain”. And I find that this helps. This way, doctors take my pain into account and in saying that I am oversensitive, I think I’m giving them a way out of thinking THEY are hurting me.
hen I went through radiotherapy a couple of years ago, I did find it very painful after a few days, my skin was burning, but also found that by telling the operator that I was scared and ‘douillette’ he paid more attention to me.
Pain cannot be evaluated by other people. Only I know what pain I experience and if I can take it or not.
Hospital staff have to be able to take our pain, so a lot of the time, they act as if it didn’t exist, just to protect themselves, and I can understand that. But I found that when I expressed the fact that I was hurting, it helped me, and maybe it helped the people who took care of me treat me better.
I am just going through Paris for a day and am off to the south of France until Sunday, but reading Milt’s post, I figured I had to write this down while I thought of it.
I might come back to it later on.
The quote is by French writer Nicolas de Chamfort,
Mon Dieu, préservez-moi des douleurs physiques. Je m’arrangerai avec les douleurs morales.
My quick and inadequate translation: God, please keep me from the physical pain. I’ll manage moral pain on my own.
The three blogs mentioned in the NYT article are on my daily reading list 🙂
Incidentally, I hadn’t noticed the first time, but you can also hear Mort’s voice in the NYT article. I couldn’t get the link to the audio right, but I really like being able to listen to people’s voices.