It was unseasonably warm here in Boston yesterday, so of course I was in excrutiating pain. It’s an odd symptom, but it’s a consistent one. I made a comment about how I was probably the only person in the city who was looking forward to today’s brutally cold temperatures. A neighbor pointed out the risk for slipping on the ice and breaking a leg.
I understand why he was concerned, since he had a bad fall on the ice once before and did break bones. On the other hand, he just wasn’t listening to what I was saying. Yes, today he might fall, and if he does then he might get hurt. But yesterday I was definitely in horrible pain. I won’t debate which kind of pain is worse, since I’ve never broken a bone and have no way of knowing. But I do know that his healed and he’s now pain-free. I can’t say the same.
I’ve encountered this kind of thing so many times, and you probably have, too. People assume that their potential for pain is to be avoided at all costs, even if it means I’ll definitely be in pain. In this case we’re talking about the weather, so we can’t control it, but it happens in other ways, too. They think they’re worse off having to climb 5 flights of stairs with a healthy body than I am if I have to climb one flight with a sick body. I remember climbing 5 flights with a healthy body. I used to do it a lot. I didn’t like it, but 10 minutes later I’d forgotten all about it. I can’t say the same now. Now, 1 flight could hurt for the rest of the day.
Other people’s pain matters. I’m not saying that it should be ignored. But just because I’m in pain every day, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to avoid making it even worse than it already is. It’s not a contest. Really, it isn’t. But shouldn’t the definite be avoided even at the cost of creating a possibility?