Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dealing with pain

It's 1970 and the Complete and Total Loser is twelve years old. His crippled right leg, stunted by three operations to remove cartilaginous tumors, has ceased growth. X-rays show that the Loser may reach a height of six-feet-two-inches. The discrepancy would be debilitating, as the Loser already wears a shoe with a lift of over three inches. 
The solution is to cut clean through the bones of the Loser's left leg, five times at both the ankle and knee, shattering the growth plates to stop the leg's growth. The orthopedic surgeon is, like many bone guys, a tough man; his last name is Steel. He performs the operation with a drill and chisel and the Loser awakes in a cast that immobilizes the leg and goes around his hips. Blood leaks from four long incisions and soaks though the cast at both joints.
Even when done with clean instruments and skill, a major bone break hurts, and the Loser is in intense pain. This being a different era, they are reluctant to give much pain medication. The Loser howls in agony off and on for two weeks and is in much discomfort for another three weeks after that. He doesn't crap the first week. His adult height will be five-feet-nine-inches, and he'll wear a shoe with a seven-inch lift for the rest of his life.
The lesson learned is that pain of all kinds subsides. It takes longer than you think, much longer, but it does go away. Recently dumped by the first woman to like him in years, the Loser hurts now. He knows, however, that in a year or so he'll start keying in a name similar to hers in an email address line and when her name pops up he'll think of her for only a few seconds. Then he'll resume and think of a catchy subject line for the person he means to write.

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