What Makes My Heart Beat
Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite authors. And not because of his obvious literary works. It’s just that, too often, I can relate to how tortured he felt in life. My childhood was quite painful. And then into adulthood, I was forced to deal with adult things.
For any number of factors, lack of money, support, self esteem, I had to develop a high tolerance for pain as most often times I could do nothing about it. The joke at my physician’s office, is that there is an “emergency button” under the desk if they see me walk through their door. They expect only the most critical of conditions when I arrive.
Before I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, it took four months for me to convince myself that a doctor might just be right and I would have cancer. I ignored chest discomfort for months to the point of risking a fatal heart attack. Common headaches will last a month because I won’t do anything for them. Painful side effects from my cancer days? I have been told that I wear them like a badge of honor.
While my thinking is obviously flawed in the health risks that I take, it does assure one thing. When I do actually make the decision to see a doctor, I am taken seriously. Does that mean I have no limit to pain? Absolutely not. But again, when I scream, people listen. No testing that I had gone through for my cancer, not even open heart surgery could compare to the pain of having a kidney stone. So there it is, my kryptonite. Unfortunately, a pain level like that results in me passing out as I don’t remember half of the car ride to the hospital but vaguely remember walking into the emergency room in my socks. It turns out I tried to kick the windshield that I was in so much pain, my wife took my shoes off. So I do have limits.
But then the question is why do I let things get to that point? I see myself as a burden and always have been. Anything that knocks me down health wise becomes a burden to someone else, my family, my employer, or even me. So I just struggle through it. And because I can withstand and hide my pain, it has resulted in an uncanny ability to listen. My empathy has grown throughout these years, and that actually makes me happy. So that is my trade off – my misery to help others – that makes me feel worth and value.