Hierarchy of Agonies


Of course there is one. My back hurts, I rank it a legit, understandable pain. My left knee hurts I rank it as legitimate-I-guess but also unwarranted, knee, settle down. My ankles hurt and they rank Legit, geez, one look at the MRI(s) and clearly, how could they not hurt?

But there is this one thing that happens that makes me furiously, unreasonably angry and I rank it as entirely stupid. A stupid, stupid, stupid pain, not legit. Sometimes I get a muscle spasm of some sort in my scalp, and it’s like being stabbed, STABBED, every 30 seconds or so. It’s the kind of pain that if it just turned on and never turned off, I’d be on the floor and incoherent in mere minutes, but instead I get little breaks in-between (kind of like labor, now that I think about it). Just long enough to cringe in anticipation of the stab and then feel extremely angry when it happens again. Stoppit, I tell it. “You are not a real pain. You are not legit, go away.” When I try to explain it to people they can’t understand it. No one else I know has ever had this particular pain.

I imagine that all my other pains, my Legit Pains, they would cut this pain and close ranks and whisper when it walked by, they would go all Mean Girls on this pain, because it doesn’t count, it’s stupid, it’s dumb, its mother wears combat boots. I have trouble being even a little bit nice when this pain is happening, it hurts so much. I consider trying my own form of acupuncture with my quilting pins, I jam my knuckle into it and try to crush it out of the way.

It’s funny how my mind can’t just go, “Oh, that is pain.” and instead sorts them and hugs some and kicks others in the pants and keeps on sorting like a bouncer at an exclusive club. “You, you, you…okay, I guess you, but watch it, you….WAIT A MINNIT THERE PAL YOU AIN’T IN DIS HERE CLUB, SEE, yous can take yer bizness elsewhere, hear?”

But Mr Scalp Spasm, he doesn’t really care. He just takes a breath, waits a beat, and stabs me again. Bastard.

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