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I started writing this column on Thursday morning, as I emerged from a haze of pain and pain medications. The day before, Wednesday, I had plastic surgery on my face to remove pre-cancerous basal-cell lesions brought on by too much sun in my youth.
This was my third session. Originally I had seven spots removed. Then I had to have four of them done over, because the first session didn’t get all the suspicious cells.
As surgery goes, these were minor -- certainly when compared to organ transplants and amputations. As pain goes, though, these surgeries were an eye-opener.
Another writer once sent me this line: “There is no such thing as a pain thermometer.”
That is, there’s no objective way to measure the pain someone is feeling.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: pain, morphine, surgery
Towards the end of the cross-country ski season, a friend mused, “Does snow feel pain when I jab it with my ski pole?”
We all laughed.
“Why not?” she persisted. “Aren’t we all made of the same stardust? Everything in the universe came from the Big Bang. Whether it’s snow or trees or me, we all consist of the matter that was created 14 billion years ago. So why should I assume that I’m the only one who feels pain when I get jabbed with something sharp?”
A physicist will tell you that all matter is made up of particles. For convenience, we call them electrons and protons. But there are no exclusively human electrons and protons; no uniquely human quarks or gluons. At the sub-atomic level, water is made of exactly the same stuff as humans.
So why can’t water feel pain?
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: life, Snow, water, pain