Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Warning Will Robinson!

I was feeling a bit nostalgic last night and began thinking about television programs I watched as a kid.  All the regulars came to mind, but “Lost In Space” came up in the next discussion about bad movies.  I started reminiscing about “Lost in Space” and the robot was one of my favorite characters.  The voice, and of course the warning with his arms swinging made him more believable.

Over the past four days two of my co-workers have had a family member go in for emergency surgery.  In both cases it was quite serious and had they not gone to the emergency room when they did they both may have died.  Did they have any warning?  Were there no indicators prior to the moment of excruciating pain that there may be a problem?  In some cases I know where is no warning, but in many if not most there were indicators that were explained away as something else in the individual’s head.

Pain is not normal, unless of course you bash your toe into the nightstand in the dark (then scream loudly and even use an expletive or two).  Pain is an indication that there is something not right and yet many of us, if not most of us explain pain away.  It’s kind of the like the frog in the soup pot.  The frog was put in the pot in cold water and then put over the flame.   The temperature increased by inching its way up the thermometer and the frog didn’t realize the subtle increase and eventually was boiled to death.

We’re a culture that explains pain away with a pill.  We come up with scenarios that discount why we’re in pain and continue with the activities at hand.  I currently have a co-worker that is going through treatment for cancer.  His pain is quite bad and the doctor’s don’t seem to be able to control it.  It’s also because of the type of cancer he has and its progression that are causing the pain.  I hope the doctors have told him that his pain will increase over time.   Those are the circumstances where pain is understandable, and our tendency to obtain medical care is more prominent.

Do me a favor.  When you have time (this applies whether or not you have a chronic or other life-altering illness) sit or recline in a quiet place.  Make sure your clothing is comfortable and not pulling or tugging.  Simply close your eyes and from head to toe do your own body scan.  Start at your head and just slowly and consciously do a scan from head-to-toe.  Notice if anything feels different, is sore, or painful?  These are your body’s way of letting you know it needs attention. 

Don’t wait till they have to rush you to the emergency room…take the time to become familiar with your body.  It will save you a lot of trouble, pain and problem.s


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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