I don't think my threshold for pain is terribly high, but I believe it's been growing in hellish leaps and bounds the past year or so. Right now the front quadrant of my mouth is doing its best to drive me right out of my head with the exquisitely agonizing sensation that I've come to recognize as "Expensive", or "Ohh, bollocks, not another bloody root canal!". I've talked about our budget forays into the dental world before, so I won't bore you any further with that. Pain itself, though, is an interesting notion these days.
Compared to our recent ancestors, we know nothing whatever of pain in a medical sense... We've got anesthesia for operations, you name it, it'll make you feel alllll better. I happily down a Darvocet (and would gladly take a Valium, if anyone's got some) before I even set foot in the dentists' office, but through some quirk in my system, still require enough Novacaine injections to fell a moose. Our grandparents or great-grandparents suffered bravely through all sorts of hideous procedures with a little laudnum, or a couple of shots...if that. Because there was no alternative, no way around the physical suffering that everyone went through.
I remember my mom telling me a story about her Grandma Daisy. Grandma was on a walk with her older brother. Shoeless for the summer, she somehow managed to step down on a giant railroad nail, which completely pierced her foot. Her brother removed her from the nail, took his chewing tabacco from his mouth, and used it to pack the wound. A little bandaging, and she was as good as new. These days, that little fiasco would have resulted in:
- Ticketing of minor for posessing and distributing tabacco products, practicing medicine without a license.
- $350 Emergency Room Co-Pay
- Tetanus shot(s) all round, just in case.
- Pain relief (topical and injected) stitches, antibiotic,
- Follow-up visit to remove stiches - $40 Office Visit Co-Pay
- $731.46 itemized billing statement to insurance company
- Counseling/stern warning/CPA visit for parents with regard to carelessly allowing children to wander around unsupervised, barefoot and chewing tabacco