adoption, family

Portrait of Pain

It hurts. Pain is a slippery thing to define. Like grains of sand, the words seem to slip through my fingers. At the doctor’s office there is a scale with emojis in various stages of frowning. This is how I am supposed to measure my pain. A scale from 1-10. How can a number convey what this feels like?

It hurts. I choose words like throbbing, stabbing, constant ache. I mention hot electric shocks running down the back of my right leg. The muscle spasms in my right side are grabbing, squeezing, deep and unbearable. My hips feel so sore that when it rains I walk the tin man without his oil.

It hurts. My daughter isn’t here. She doesn’t want to talk to me on the phone. We didn’t buy her a live white tiger cub for her birthday so she has found a new mom. Mary hasn’t called us since her birthday. When I call her she proudly proclaims her new “valentine” is who she will be with now. She calls her godmother every single day. It is always a woman she chooses.

It hurts. I am glad she has her godparents. I feel lucky they are understanding about attachment disorders. They don’t believe her when she says that we don’t provide for her, love her, or meet her needs. She still says it, though. Manipulation is her survival skill.

It hurts. The new Residential Center where she is now living understands. We are having a meeting with clinicians today to discuss her phone calls and how to set appropriate boundaries. One of the reasons she is there is to learn how to handle relational models. You cannot beat someone physically until they buy something you want. You cannot trade moms in for newer models.

It hurts. I am back at work full time. I sit in a chair. I walk down the halls. I always feel like my lower half is on fire. Every step I take is one step closer to convincing me I need the revision surgery my doctor is recommending. A constant, burning ache engulfs my lower back. It engulfs my heart. It hurts.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


9 thoughts on “Portrait of Pain

  1. C says:

    The interesting thing about pain is that whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological, the brain inteprets it all the same in the same area of the brain. It’s all the same to the brain. You are probably in super overload right now. I know insane this sounds but try to interupt that pain loop. I know it’s so hard but it will help. I am glad to hear that you are meeting with the clinicians today. Good luck and do keep us updated.


  2. I always wondered about those pain emojis and also about rating pain on a scale of 1 – 10. Rather than using words, I mean. I can’t relate the emojis to pain, even the frowniest, most wailing one. The numbers make a bit more sense to me. I suppose the emojis were invented for when people can’t speak. Still, they don’t convey pain or distress to me: too cartoon-like. But your description of pain is sadly, brilliantly eloquent – I hope you get a resolution for it soon. And the pain in your heart as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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