pain: a blessing

when i first heard of a girl who had congenital insensitivity to pain, i have to admit i was a little jealous. my thoughts drifted to what life would be like if i didn’t have the pain in my joints from arthritis. how lucky she must be to not be able to feel pain, i thought.

but then i did some research. congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis not only prevents pain but also heat and cold. i read story after story of children who would put their hands on hot stoves, severely burning their hands, and not even blink. children who have to be followed around on the playground during recess and thoroughly checked by the school nurse before going back to class. one girl chose to have her appendix removed since she wouldn’t know if it ruptured. another young girl went blind in one eye because she rubbed it raw when it was dry. she couldn’t keep it moistened. most cipa patients have to use eyedrops frequently to keep their eyes from drying out.

the stories opened my eyes. i felt so sad for the children whose stories i read, and i felt so naive. i couldn’t even begin to imagine what they and their families go through on a daily basis. it was ridiculous to even think that it would be nice to live without pain. pain is essential. it’s amazing to realize what can happen to you if you can’t feel pain. so, it’s ok that my knees are sore a lot, especially with the recent cold spell. pain is a blessing.

pull the plug?

i’ve been following the terri schiavo case lately. it’s very interesting to me. for once, i’m not leaning one way or the other. on one hand, terri’s husband says his wife told him she never wanted to be kept alive on a feeding tube. on the other hand, starvation is a horrible way to die. and terri’s husband already has a fiance, with whom he has two children. no wonder he wants his wife to die. what really bothered me was cnn’s report that when the doctors removed terri’s feeding tube “her husband was by her side.” in the words of joe, what a tool. so, needless to say, i’m quite interested to see how this end up when the judge decides to make his ruling.