What is pain? Scientifically, I wouldn’t really know how to explain it. But I’m sure it is a reaction – it’s a physical reaction relative in intensity to some sort of external stimulus.
You stub your toe…ouch. You break your leg – OUCH! Your parachute doesn’t open when you skydive – AHdvhsjjNkskaksjsbJshshsjeb!!
When I was a kid, I shut my finger in the car door on the way to 7-11 for a slurpee with my dad. First of all, I didn’t even notice – second of all, my dad locked the car over my finger! When I finally got the car unlocked, my finger was flat.
“Well, do you want your slurpee?” my dad asked me innocently, making his way towards the entrance. Surprisingly, it didn’t really hurt; but I was aware that I needed to go to the hospital.
At the emergency room they made me fill out a chart where I had to circle a smiley face that best described how I was feeling. I thought it was a ridiculous method to determine my level of discomfort, so I drew a laughing face. I think the hospital staff thought maybe I was looking for the psychward…
When they finally took me into a room to see me, the doctor administered some sort of anesthetic to my finger.
“Can you feel that?” she asked me. I still could, so she added more. We repeated this process another few times before it seemed like she had injected the whole vial into my pointer finger.
“I can’t give you anymore.” I nodded. “We’ll have to proceed while you’re still sensitive.” I nodded again. “It will be uncomfortable.”
“I imagine not as uncomfortable as shutting my finger in the car door.” She laughed oddly and proceeded.
I felt each.and.every.stitch.
Why don’t I feel pain? No, I do feel pain. I feel it. But why doesn’t it hurt?
I don’t know about my ability to compartmentalize pain. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me. I don’t know why I don’t react.
But, then, pain in general just doesn’t make sense to me because it is just that: a reaction. Pain is not a feeling but, rather, a reaction to a feeling. I suppose this also translates into other types of pain for me, such as emotional pain.
Ow, that hurts. But will I die? Probably not. So why does it matter? I suppose it doesn’t.
And if I do die?
Then I suppose it didn’t matter anyway.