Some people call it bad luck. Some people call it karma. Some people call it weakness. Some people call it being born under a bad sign. Some people say it’s a result of a bad attitude/misspent youth/past life. Some people say it’s the result of giving up. Some people say it’s a curse. Heck, sometimes I say some of the things above.

But yeah, I do have a lot of physical and medical problems. Not nearly as many as some people I know. I’m glad all the above judgemental people don’t know them, because if they say all of the above about me, I hate to think of what they’d say about someone worse off.

There does seem to be a clustering effect. Probably because, as I wrote in The Mathematics of Pain, pain makes you more susceptible to pain, and other things. If one condition or ailment or disease or mechanical issue is causing you problems, then you’re less likely to be able to fight all the other ones off.

This is especially true of mechanical issues, by their very nature. (more…)

Published in: on May 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Laughing in the Face of Pain


We’ve all heard about people who “laugh in the face of pain”. They can undergo any trauma or torment without flinching. They withstand extreme hardship with a smile. They don’t complain. Never complain. Ever.

These people are admired. They are either seen as superheroes or saints.

The superheroes are physically tough, tougher than ordinary people. They can take anything. They simply don’t seem to feel pain. Stereotypically, they are male. They laugh with big, booming laughs, take a licking and keep on ticking.

The saints feel pain, but they don’t complain about it. They just lie there and take it. Saints often have fatal diseases, or have a lot of babies. Hence, they are often female. Not a word of complaint leaves their (often) pale lips. They suffer, and their suffering elevates them to beautiful, beatific sainthood.

Sometimes women are the tough ones. Tough old birds, most often. And men can suffer in silence as well. In fact, that expectation of suffering in silence can lead to complications, because these superheroic, flinchless wonders rarely seek treatment until it’s too late.

We don’t seem to question that these people exist. As a society, we seem to accept that there are some people who are simply immune to pain.

So why can’t this society accept that the opposite exists at the same time? If there are those who feel no pain, then there must be those who feel more than their fair share of pain.

If people are willing to accept people who feel less pain, why can’t they accept that some people are more susceptible to pain?

It makes sense that pain sensitivity exists along a continuum. So why are people unwilling to accept that while most people exist somewhere in the middle, there are indeed people who fall at both ends of that spectrum?

Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm  Comments (2)  
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Of isms and igns and ints

This post is part of the Blogging Against Disablism Day

Isms and ists come from igns and ints.

Disablism, or antidisablism, or however you happen to label that particular ism and ists, is the result of the same things as all the other ists and isms – ignorance and intention. (more…)

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm  Comments (12)