Big surprise there.
When M and I met with the doctor for a surgery consult, the doctor asked me about my pain threshold / tolerance. M laughed out loud, which was kind of annoying because, remember that baby I birthed a few years back – that rather large baby – with zero pain relieving drugs? He pointed out that I begged for drugs in those final moments, but I countered with who doesn’t? I alternated between pleading with my lovely nurse for drugs and complimenting her profusely on her fabulous complexion (because I felt it necessary to get my face as close to hers as possible to make it through each contraction). She probably wanted some ear plugs and a breath mint to shove in my mouth, but if she felt anything but complete compassion for me in those moments, she certainly didn’t let on.
So I stand by my argument that I have a slightly above average tolerance for pain – when it comes to delivering babies. For all other things non-birthing related, I will now concede that my standards are much, much lower. Pain itself doesn’t really fall neatly onto a chart of numbers between one and ten. If birthing an eight-and-a-half pound baby naturally is considered a 10, then what is an intermittent stabbing pain in my foot? A four? A five? Frankly I think pain cannot be separated from context. Childbirth hurts, but could I really call it a ten when there are other things out there, like those torture scenes in movies where the dentist extractors come out or that awful stretcher machine in The Princess Bride?
Suddenly waking up in the middle of the night because you’ve flexed your feet muscles just enough in your sleep to cause the sharp end of the pin that’s been stabbed into your foot between the first and second toe, skewering the bones of the foot together until they heal, to catch onto that delicate webbed skin between the toes, creating a ripping sensation that jolts you out of an already hard won sleep – while it’s not equal to childbirth, it’s pushing its way up the pain charts in my books. This lovely phenomenon started two nights ago, and continued again last night – I have to slowly move my toes back and forth to “unhook” the thing. It’s put me on edge and made me much more tense – a feeling that is working its way through my body, resting in my shoulders and my neck and in the new crease I’ve found recently in my forehead.
Today is a big day (I think). If all is progressing well, the stitches will come out, and I’ll have the doctor looking at the pin issue (with some helpful solutions, I hope). I can tell the swelling is continuing to go down – and that’s probably what is making the pin’s presence more obvious and troublesome. It all gives me the heebie-jeebies – all of it. Stitches and cut and mending bones and muscle spasms and pins and staples and screws – gross, just gross.
I’ve been told by so many people that getting stitches removed is no big deal. Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited to have them out – less itching, less pulling, more bathing! But the thought of sitting on a table feeling someone unthread my feet makes my stomach turn. I’ll be brave, and channel my best inner-pain-manager, but I can tell you this for sure – I’ve got zero control over my inner-ick-manager.