Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Worst Pain?

As Mike and I were laying in bed the other night, I asked him if he thought he's already experienced the most physical pain he's ever going to feel or whether there are worse things to come.  We both agreed that, obviously, we hope we've already experienced the worst pain we'll ever feel, but there are no guarantees in life.

In Mike's life, he has experienced a broken ankle, a broken knee cap, appendicitis (and the appendectomy that followed) and two ball surgeries (one was a vasectomy and the other was sperm retrieval...for the love of god, make up your mind!).  Out of all those things, the worst pain he has ever felt are his toothaches.  Yes...toothaches.  And I can understand that.  Mike said that all those other pains were localized, whereas toothaches radiate almost throughout your entire body.  He also said that if he had to pick one of those pains to live with for the rest of his life, he would pick ANYTHING but the toothaches.

Throughout my life, I've always based my level of pain on whether I cried or not.  In descending order, here are my top four pains:

4) When I was ten, I flipped off my bike and smashed my face on the ground, resulting in losing my two front teeth.  I didn't cry (pretty sure I was in too much shock).  They put the teeth back in (given that they fell out roots and all), but ten months later my body rejected them and I had to get them pulled out.  I didn't cry.  Fast forward thirteen years later and I was part way through my dental implant process (it took close to two years to complete).  My oral surgeon was torquing on the titanium bolts in my gums (sans any type of freezing) when one of the bolts broke loose and twisted.  Imagine taking your solid front tooth and twisting it, roots and all...I'm pretty sure you'd shed a tear or two.  Two things happened almost simultaneously - I cried and they finally administered some freezing.  Up until that point, that was the worst pain I had felt.

3) Enter my experience with in-vitro fertilization.  During the egg retrieval surgery, I was wide awake but doped up on a little bit of fentanyl (or however it's spelled).  I can't even begin to explain the type of pain that is created when one has a twelve inch needle pierce through the side of their vaginal wall and up into their ovaries.  They kept doping me up in an attempt to get me to stop crying.  It didn't work.  I finally pleaded with them to leave the 14th egg in there or I was going to lose my mind.  The doctor finally relented and left the last egg alone.

2) The pain I felt after Miss K's birth had nothing to do with pushing her out of my lady garden and everything to do with the two-inch v-shaped tear in my vaginal vault that went un-noticed.  Everything about Miss K's birth was text book until a few hours later.  I had some stomach pain and didn't want to ring for the nurse (I didn't want to be a wussy because, after all, I had just had a baby - there's bound to be some pain associated with it, right?).  My instincts said to call the nurse and I'm lucky I did.  Mike shutters to think what might have happened if I had shrugged it off.  

The nurse came and pushed on my uterus only to have an abnormal amount of blood be expelled.  She called for other nurses to help with the clean up and, as they were assisting me to the bathroom, I passed out.  When I came to, I started going into shock from all the blood loss (I also lost control of my bowels...ALL of your modesty goes out the window when you have a baby!!).  My doctor returned to the hospital (I passed out again on the way back to the delivery room) and he and the OB-GYN dove down under to try and find the source of the bleed.  Again, I can't describe the type of pain that comes from having two sets of hands and various medical instruments probing around in my lady bits.  I was a complete wreck...I was sobbing on the table and asking them to stop.  Finally, someone gave me a nice BIG dose of morphine and I started to calm down.

1) Hands down, the worst pain I have ever felt is from the four migraines I have experienced.  Like Mike's toothaches, the pain radiates beyond a localized spot and takes over your whole body.  With each migraine, I have contemplated being taken to the hospital, but I fear that between the sunlight, the movement of the vehicle and the bumps in the road, I would surely die before I made it there.  All I am capable of doing is laying on the bathroom floor, moaning and waiting to throw up again.  As each migraine slooooooowly comes to its end, I find myself hoping beyond hope that it is the last one I will ever experience. Unfortunately, I don't think this will be the case.


So, I'm curious to hear from you....what is the worst pain YOU have ever felt?


  1. 3 weeks ago when the freezing wore off after my knee surgery. And then to add insult to injury, add the puking. Then again, I've never given birth and my knee memory is still very fresh in my mind, so perhaps it wasn't really that bad? Working in the hospital, I find people are always wanting to "one up" each other with how much pain they are experiencing!

  2. For me, child birth is close to the bottom of the list, given that I opted for the epidural. The contractions were painful, but not completely unbearable and they were short lived (contractions started at 8:30 in the morning and I had the needle in my back by 2:00pm...honestly, the needle hurt worse than the contractions LOL). Pain is such a personal experience, it's impossible to compare whether what hurts for one person will hurt for another :)

  3. Gross warning to readers!!!!
    I was 5 years old. My family was 'doing chickens'...which means butchering chickens. The canner of boiling hot water was sitting on the ground, ready to dip the dead chickens that their feathers could be easily plucked off. My older cousin and I were arguing and each joggling to see who could rest one of their feet on top of the canner lid...probably showing off. When I put my foot on the edge of the lid, it flipped upside down and my entire right foot up to my ankle went into the canner of boiling water! My sock and running shoe held the boiling water to my foot....Major screaming, rolling on the ground and almost passing out.... I remember being carried to the house by my uncle and jumping on my bed screaming and screaming and screaming in pain while my mom was calling the doctor.....and then my next memory is of peeling off a 'sock of skin' ...the skin that had been scalded! I still have trouble thinking of that image!! I spent 2-3 months in the hospital because I developed a staff infection. Each day the nurses had to peel off the dead, decaying tissue...sooooo incredibly painful! Amazingly, I just have scar tissue on the inside of my ankle. However I lost feeling in my baby toe and the one next to it and this foot always freezes fast and becomes numb quickly in winter. Now that I am a parent, I think back to how horrific this must have been for my parents to go through. They felt so bad that this happened to me. Life happens...good and bad!

  4. I have been thinking about this post a lot since I first read it. Trying to think my most painful moment. I feel pretty lucky to have not had a lot of major pain in my life. The one, biggest thing that has happened to me, I was only 8 years old, so have very little recollection of the pain side of it. I was hit by a car. It was winter and I was walking along the piles of snow at the side of the road and slipped and fell at just the wrong moment and was hit by a car, a taxi actually. I had a few broken bones, lots of scrapes and cuts (including almost having my bottom lip ripped off on one side....ugh).

    It was winter, so the roads were covered in sand/salt so there was plenty of that in my scrapes. I even had a piece that stayed in my forehead until the following winter when I had another surgery and they removed it. I was lucky that it was winter and that I was wearing a winter coat and ski pants at the time. I think that things could have been much worse if I had been wearing less. Twenty three years later all that I have left to show for it is a scar on my lip, and one on the back of my head in my hair.

  5. Childbirth was the worst & recovery from infected csection incision.

    I note that only physical pain has been discussed. Right now I am having the worst emotional pain I have experienced in a long time - the loss of my beloved cat after almost 14 years together (my 1st furry child). Odd how it has saddened me -more than the death of a family member.

  6. My worst pain is I have dislocated my coccyx (tailbone) 5 times. Twice was goofing off as a kid, and three times during labour. The pain is far worse than giving birth 3 times (and they were natural births, no drugs). The pain is aching & nauseating. It hurts to touch, bend, sit, or even just laying there. Now the weird thing is whenever I am feeling sympathy for someone in pain, my tailbone starts hurting.

  7. it's hard to say....i've had 2 broken legs, 2 broken collarbones, the worst labor of my life (ok to be fair, the only labor seeing as i planned a csec for #2) followed by emergency csection and a week in the ICU plus god knows how many migraines. I recently had an internal ultrasound done that left me in so much pain that I couldn't stand up straight for 2 days. I had my wisdom teeth surgically removed at the end of january followed by an infection in the bottom extracts. That was pure hell. PURE HELL. So I would have to go with that mostly because as the time goes on I kinda forget how painful all those other things were and this one is still engrained in my mind!!

  8. S in SK: I canNOT imagine the amount of pain that would be involved with an accident like that! I only know how bad it hurts when I burn my finger a bit and I can only guess that is minimal compared to what you felt!!

    Angie: I've never had the misfortune of being hit by a car (fingers crossed I never know what that feels like!), but you're probably right that the extra winter padding probably helped. When I see kids walking on those piles, it always makes me nervous!

    Anonymous: I kept this post solely about physical pain, only because I think emotional pain and physical pain are on two separate levels. With physical pain, there is always an end in sight (I think so, anyways). With emotional pain, there isn't an immediate cure or specific timeline for when it will be over. Regardless, I know all too well the pain you are feeling of losing a furry child and my heart goes out to you.

    Anonymous2: Again, I canNOT imagine the pain associated with a dislocated tailbone!

    Becky: Holy crap...I don't know what else to say except I think you've had more than your share of physical pain!! Wow wow wow (or should that say, "Ow ow ow"?)

  9. Talk about being tough! You've been through a lot of physical pain that would make me wince, and yet, you were able to survive. Any long term physical pain we experience from injuries should be treated delicately, and if it hampers a person's ability to perform properly, a physical therapy is much advised. Thanks for sharing such an interesting article! :)

    Anita Rose @ Sports Med Online