Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Illness

Women's diseases: arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, TMJ - did you know women more than men experience pain? Yes. There's research.

Would you care to see a tomogram of my jaw? A year ago I didn't know the word existed. Nor "arthritic changes" and it means pain and discomfort and spasm in non-medical jargon. Even the word spasm. To those who are healthy. I salute you. To those who are healthy, spasm should sound orgasmic, 18th century French description of it, a "petit mort."

Instead a little death is to me a little death, a big gorilla, wearing out the joint. This is supposed to be kind of thing that "makes you stronger," as they say. Illness. Seeing the positive. Suffering. Counting the muscle relaxers, I mean blessings. But as the late cancer patient Christopher Hitchens said, "Bullshit."

The Old World is out of sight. I read Hitchens, nod my head. The New World looks like gorillas on the beach, damp heat, malarial, infested. We're supposed to make camp where?


  1. I'm glad you have this space, Elizabeth.

    It's difficult to explain, and words will never paint a clear enough, graspable picture, of how pain becomes the center as well as the backdrop to the entire day.

    I hear you, sweet, sweet woman.

  2. *sigh*, Poor, sweet thing. I wish I could do something to help.

  3. huge, therapeutic hugs, my dear.

  4. I had Maxillofacial surgery over 20 years ago and remember well the 'spasms' my jaw experienced when forced into its new position. Bloody fecking agony.

    I haven't had a day without pain in over a year. A good day is a day when the pain isn't my main focus. I feel like a rock on the beach, the pain are the waves , grinding me down daily, til all that is left of what I was is a pebble.

    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? That was said by a healthy man.