Thursday, June 11, 2009

horror at the dentist / compassion

yesterday, June 10th i had an awful reminder of physical pain
not even the root canal experience was this bad
they had to cut my gum to take an impression
for the new coming bridge in my mouth

not sure why, but the anesthesia was not working right
the dentist would inject me and work in my mouth
for about 10 minutes when i started feeling pain again
then he would have to inject again...
instead of 2 injections of anesthesia
(the usual amount for this procedure)
i had to have 6 injections!!
the dentist said that probably 'cause i was so nervous
the anesthesia wasn't working properly
also, since i am asthmatic i cannot use regular anesthesia
and that could've been a factor too, he said...

by the end of the procedure (that took about 2 hours)
my lips were sore, so my throat
my nose full of water and dust, and crusty blood
and then the anesthesia had faded again

i haven't been in such a physical pain for a while now
this pain of a cut gum also is very different from a
migraine pain, i wouldn't recommend neither of them

and i am not sure why while i am at the dentist
i always think of the 1800's and before times
when nor anesthesia nor dentists existed
i always think, what if i were a 40 year old woman
living back in those times?
probably i'd be dead by now of tooth pain
or any other of my maladies
must've been awful!
no pain-killers, any sort of comfort
and then i always cry thinking of our
ancestors and all they've been through

also i thought yesterday, not sure why,
maybe because of my large dose of the pain
of Michelangelo Buonarroti and the fact
that he was long time dead
(i admire Bounarroti's work of course
but i not really that much 'into him'
so why my thoughts run to him? i don't know)
but i thought of him
and on how sad is that he's dead so he can't
see the herds of people who admire daily
his Sistine Chapel or his David
and then i felt this horrible empty feeling
that most be how you feel when you are dead...
i felt, why, if even a big guy like
Michelangelo can't be here to share his dose of glory,
then, why? all this existence of pain?
I felt bad for Michelangelo, for myself,
and our human race
i felt afraid of pain, and i felt afraid of death....

and in the midst of all the pain
i was reminded of one of the human feelings
that make one feel worthy to be alive
a feeling i admire the most in humans
compassion
sadly there's not much of it going around anymore
people tend to think more of themselves
without asking about other's pain
we care about our own finances, our own pains,
maybe we care about our relatives or friends
but the global feeling of compassion for humanity
every day seems to be fade

but yesterday, this wonderful man, David, showed a
big deal of it towards me...

David, is my dentist's technician
a humble smiling Mexican man
he saw my tears of pain rolling down my cheeks
after the procedure, and he said,
you know what? this is just not fair
even if I was already holding on my hand a prescription
for vicodin and other anti-inflammatory drugs
he went to grab the dentist and asked him
to give me one more injection of anesthesia to numb
my gum for the amount of time it would take me
to go drive to the pharmacy, get the drugs
and they to take effect

David's attitude reminded me of myself
of my care towards the gatos i take care of
i have to go thru a daily amount of pain to take care of them
i am asthmatic and have a marked CAT allergy
still, i know there's nobody else to take care of them
specially of the allergic one, and if i send them to a shelter
they will be euthanized in about 3 days
my mom says i am an idiot for risking my health
but my argument is that i have the possibility
to go to a pharmacy, get allergy pills, and i even got
a set of opposable thumbs to open the pill's bottle
and what about them?
i feel as a human who happened to appear close to them
i have the responsibility of helping them!
we cannot just ignore creatures and pain
'cause they are inconvenient and they don't go
with our life-styles, sorry, but that for me is bull-shit...

human traits were not given to us for free!
but to help each other and other species as well
is the least we can do after having altered their natural
environment to adjust it to our own comfort
we owe animals and nature and whole deal of care!
so anyways...

David reminded me of what being a compassionate person is
David got out of his regular duties of just helping cleaning
during the surgery and assisting, moved by my tears
of course, after his words i cried even more!
moved by this man
who barely knows me and still gets moved
by a stranger in pain

lately, i've been thinking a lot about compassion then
even before this episode
and i've realized that sadly
compassion seems to be a characteristic rather feminine
men tend to be colder and more objective to pain
while women, we tend to melt when we see another human
or animal in distressed
men do care, i always get "I am sorry" and "Can I help"?
questions from my male friends
(not my best friend Perro, he's always there when I need him
but then again he's not to count on the bulk of people either)
and i know there are some really sensitive men out there too
but when it comes to pain and help
they seem to paralyze
they don't stand up and cure your wounds
as most women would do
i guess 'cause of the maternal instinct we have embedded
also 'cause our bodies tend to go through so much more pain
so it's for us easier to relate to it instead of running away

so wondering what this compassion feeling is all about
i went to the silliest but probably most logical place
to find a meaning, a dictionary (dictionary.com of course):

com⋅pas⋅sion
  /kəmˈpæʃən/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuhm-pash-uhn] Show IPA
–noun
1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

and also found this wonderful quote that confirms
some of my suspicions about 'womanly' feelings:

"Womanly ingenuity set to work by womanly compassion."
--Macaulay.

Macauly put my attitude towards the gatos in some wonderful
womanly quote... i ignore my own sickness in order to try to
alleviate these furry creatures' pain...

& so glad to have met a compassionate man yesterday!
a quiet mexican nurse with a helping smile and hand

if you are in a position of helping someone today
maybe feeding a hungry bird some crumbs of bread
or rescue a spider from a trap
or share a Subway sandwich with a homeless guy
i say, go ahead! then you will feel like a human again
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