Let's talk pain

Just over a year ago I had surgery after breaking my wrist. It’s healed up quite well and I have movement in the upper 90s percent range. The pain of the break was, of course, extreme but really that was the worst. When the ER doc set my wrist it didn’t hurt much and of course I was out for the surgery.

Yesterday however, I experienced pain.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had sudden, unexplained nosebleeds. Yesterday morning after showering I had another. I was able to get the bleeding to stop with pressure and went on to work. Then, while sitting here at my computer, minding my own business and eating an apple (fuji), I felt the trickling start again. Trickling is the appropriate word here too. This was no timid “sorry for the inconvenience” drip. This was a constant trickle. I went to the bathroom and got some TP to try and stop the bleeding but this time there was no discouraging it. I kept bleeding for at least twenty minutes, during which time I was swallowing blood and a couple of my co-workers were trying to help me pack my nose and apply sufficient pressure. Nothing worked, so finally my boss took me to the nearby ER.

Cut to the gist, the doctor looked at my nose and had to cauterize the tissue. He told me he was going to spray some anesthetic in my nose and it might burn. Right. It might burn and habanero peppers might be a bit warm. The stuff ran down my throat and I nearly gagged on it, but it did at least act as a warm-up for what I was about to experience.

I had my eyes closed the whole time so I had no idea what was going on. To describe what I felt would be to say was that a pair of vise grips was inserted into my nose, followed by a bunch of fireplace matches, that were LIT! I sat there on the gurney pretending I was Superman by trying to crush the side rails with my hands, reminding myself that this was necessary while the doctor had the decency to say “stay with me here.” He recognized that right then I wanted to bite my arm off to distract myself from the pain.

Finally after about, oh, 6 years he stopped trying to brand his initials on my cerebrum through my nostrils and I was able to open my eyes. I couldn’t see, of course, since they were full of tears, but I could open them. He placed a lovely clip on my nose (sky blue) and gave me some gauze to hold under it and said that should do the trick. I then had my blood pressure taken for the second time (both times it was normal) and had some blood drawn to check my clotting, which was also fine. At this time I could also see what had been done. A nasal speculum had been inserted to hold my nostril open and several Silver Nitrate swabs had been rubbed in my nose, which cauterized the wound. Up until now I’ve always thought of silver nitrate as the primary ingredient in one of the antique photography recipes. Now it will forever be known as “that stuff that set fire to my nosehair.”

Eventually I was able to return to work with instructions on being careful with my nose for a couple of days to give it time to completely heal. Apparently it was just one of those things. The tissue became fragile and just burst, which is not uncommon.

So, I just wanted to tell that story to somebody. How about the rest of you describing your pain? Just for the sake of argument though, I concede up front that nothing compares to childbirth. I don’t know personally how it feels, but I’m willing to accept that as a benchmark.

To describe what I felt would be to say was that a pair of vise grips was inserted into my nose, followed by a bunch of fireplace matches, that were LIT!


I’m sorry, I really didn’t read anymore beyond that. shudder

If you want to hear my pain, though…hmm. The worst ever was probably when I burned my entire right forearm with boiling hot oil. The nosering piercing wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, either, although at least it was quick. Never broken a bone, I’m sure that hurts.

Um…there’s been another, which for some reason I’ve come over a bit shy on telling about. I guess I will. It was an abortion, and that was the most ungodly, awful pain I ever had to suffer.

Childbirth? Not for me. I’m not passing *that * golf ball through my garden hose, thankyouverymuch.

I went through child birth twice, the second time with absolutely no medications. That was a walk in the park compared to the pain I felt waking up in recovery after abdominal surgery. My blood pressure dropped and they couldn’t give me any pain relievers, and it was just excruciating. It was, well, like they cut me open, stirred things around, snipped some stuff out, and sewed me back up.

Ow, ow, ow!!! Note to self: if nose bleeds, and the choices are exsanguination or cauterization, choose door # 1.

That sounds worse than childbirth, and I’ve had two kids (one via c-section) with non-functioning epidurals both times.

The most sudden, severe, unexpected pain I’ve ever had was when my finger got caught between a chair seat and the top of the chair leg as I was pulling the chair up and plopping down onto it - defective chair with flexible plastic seat, not-inconsiderable amount of Zappahood plopping onto it = pain that nearly brought up my breakfast. But that was quite swift and once the initial shock was over, it merely hurt a lot.

The broken elbow was unpleasant to say the least. But the most intolerable pain has been from badly-anesthetized dental work where I couldn’t move and yet I couldn’t not move. That’s the only thing that comes close to your nasal torture.

Shingles on the head twern’t no fun but I’d take another roof full before doing that flaming nostril thing.

Let’s see…broken foot was bad, walking a block to the Jeep was worse. (Doctor told me it was actually the best thing I could have done, because walking on it caused the broken bone to move back into place. My foot was very swollen, and I would have required surgery if the bone had been out of place. As it was, I only had to have a cast.)

Tried to take an air conditioner out of a window by myself - 50 stiches in my left arm and 19 in my right. No nerve, tendon or muscle damage - I simply skinned my left arm from wrist to elbow. It was fascinating in a morbid sort of way - you could see all the tendons, etc. A few weeks later after the stiches were removed, I was getting out of the tub when the last adhesion in my left arm broke loose. It was probably the most awful pain I have ever felt - I was actually frightened to look down in the tub - I thought it had split wide open.

My toes hurt if I bump them the tiniest bit. It’s really weird how sensitive they are.

For sudden pain, my worst was breaking all my toes off my left foot. Skin was never broken, just all the bones were ripped apart.

But holy crap! You can’t get away from searing pain in your head!! Why didn’t they give you a pain shot? The doc had to know how insanely painful it was. My nose is having sympathy pains for you.

The doctor did spray my nose with some sort of 'caine. Not novocaine but similar, and I know it made my throat numb. Sort of like the feeling you get from one of those pain relief throat sprays only BURNING!

Then he started right in on the silver nitrate thing so there wasn’t exactly a lot of time for me to complain.

One thing that was funny and slightly annoying was that the doc left the room after doing the procedure and told me to sit tight to let the cauterization take full effect (that’s not the annoying part) and when he finally came back in he said “Well, if you thought I forgot about you, you were right.”

I didn’t mind too much though, because I realize he was working the ER and I suspect he was busy. Still, I’m glad he remembered eventually because the nose clip was really starting to get irritating.

Today my nose is okay, but feels rather bruised.

Oh, I almost forgot. The thing he used to open my nose? The nasal speculum?

Band name. :cool:

I have endometrial polyps. Basically, they’re just these little “things” of necrotic tissue that build up in my uterus and hang there causing pain and unexpected bleeding, but they’ve been tested and so far at this point have just been necrotic (dead) tissue with no abnormal cells. I clean them out, they would have to perform a D&C. For those males who have no idea what that is, it involved dilation of the cervix and insertion of a vacuum-like utensil and performing moves live someone vacuuming out the floors of your car at a car-wash. There’s not much care taken, and they want to be sure they get it all, but they will return, and the doctor told me this, and said he thought I would hit him (in a joking way) if he did that, and so I should just hang on, and if they became a problem, we would deal with them at a later time. Nice older man. I liked him. Wish I had been able to bring him with me when I moved.

Cut to two months later when I unexpectedly discovered I was pregnant and for reasons I choose not to disclose here, I elected for an abortion. Guess what procedure the “procedure” was. A D&C. Supposedly, they give you a shot of Novocaine (or something in the 'caine family) to numb your cervix, because the dilation of the cervix can be quite painful. After years of dental work, I would have told him that I process Novocaine quite quickly (damn healthy vitamin K in my system) and perhaps he could swipe me twice. Nah. I did explain about the polyps and he told me this would do the job two-fold and empty out the cervix at the same time.

Okay. So lying there, a nurse/supporter/some nice lady holding my hand, explaining the procedure (which I had to go to myself, which is a long story which make for some nice interesting fodder at another time) step by step, which I found comforting. Even while in the midst of dental procedures, I like to have things explained to me so I can identify what is happening and somehow compartmentalize the pain.

Step one, the dreaded Speculum. Women - shudder with me.

Step two, a “small pinprick” to deliver the Novocaine to my cervix. Um, OW! Okay, but if it helps, I can deal with it.

Step three - kind woman says, “hang on to my hand, this might be a little uncomfortable.” HOLYJESUSMOTHERMARYOFCHRIST, I almost took this woman’s hand off, I screamed, I cried out, I was on the verge of asking them to stop. And suddenly, miraculously, it was over. I don’t even know how to identify this type of pain. But it was the worst pain I had ever felt, and I don’t think I could ever stand it again. And I’ve always prided myself on what the doctors call a high thresh-hold for pain. But this almost broke me.

Worst pain ever, for me.

Except when I had two medications react and I fell down in the house and gashed my head open and didn’t realize it and was talking to my boyfriend and suddenly said “ow, my head hurts.” I put my hand up there and it came down COVERED in blood. Cut to the Jaguar testing out it’s full-speed capabilities at about 2am in Alameda. They stitched me up, and it was fine, but I think when I fell, I did something to my wrist, cause for about three months, I had such limited motility and ability to move. I couldn’t raise a coke can. I bought a brace, I tried walking the dog with my other hand (she insisted at running at high speeds to the end of her extendo-leash and YANKING on my wrist) but it took a while to heal. That was more annoying than painful though.

Oh, yeah. And tweaking my back. Which now goes out incredibly easily and makes things like vacuuming my living room an act of living on the edge - Danger-girl!!

Okay. That’s all I have. Nothing else to see here. Move along.



Ooh, I have a good one.

The nerve died in my front tooth and I needed a root canal, STAT. I guess the dead stuff inside my tooth started going seotic, because the whole side of my face was swollen up, and my dentist called all over town to find someone who could take me immediately.

Ok, so I go to the Endodontist, I am very dental-phobic but the pain I was in was a pretty good motivator getting me in the door. I sit down and he gives me a shot, maybe 2 of whatever -caine is being used nowadays.

However, I am a)very stressed and b)have a high metabolism and c)full of infection which blocks the effectiveness of novocaine, apparently.

With the end result that the novocaine starts wearing off about 3/4 of the way through the procedure (right about the time they opened up the tooth and Something Horrible oozed out) . I’m gesturing and gurgling frantically that I need another shot, because every vibration is acutely painful and they’re just getting to that part, so the Endo preps the injection.

Somehow, in siting the injection, he struck the major nerve that runs up my face. WHITE HOT PAIN from my (very inflamed) upper jaw, all the way into my eyeballs. I just can’t describe how agonizing it was. I screamed bloody murder (probably permanently traumatizing the other patients in their open-format office) and was crying from the pain – with my mouth clamped open so I couldn’t even sniffle properly. It was just horrible.

Years later I returned to the same office (different endodontist) for another root canal. I was trying to explain that I have a hard time getting numb, and I was feeling that the endo wasn’t taking me quite as seriously as I wanted, when the dental technician pulled him aside, told him my story, and he returned with 5, count them 5 novacaine shots spaced at 5 minute intervals. Plus gas to calm me down. I guess I was a memorable patient for the tech, huh?

Ooooo, another story about root canals…

When I was eight one of my bottom molars became abscessed, and I had to have an emergency root canal. Now, the pain just from the tooth ache was pretty damn miserable, but probably not as bad as the time I broke my finger. However:

After several (four or five?) shots of novocain, my mouth still wasn’t numb. The dentist (not my normal dentist, btw) informed us that sometimes an abscess could block the effectiveness of the drug, and that the best option would be to try to do it without. We decided to go ahead–the pain was excruciating by that point, and I have a heart defect that makes it Seriously Bad News to let bacterial infections do their work.

As soon as they started drilling, there was horrible, sharp, searing pain shooting through my jaw. I felt like the dentist was playing my nerves with a burning serrated knife. I was never much for crying from pain, but that day I was screaming and bawling the best I could around the instruments. Must have been traumatizing for the other patients in the office. Every fifteen seconds or so the dentist would remove the drill to give me a rest, but he was yelling at me the whole time for being upset, which made him emphatically Not My Friend. I’m surprised they didn’t have to restrain me through parts of it, given the agony and terror I was in. And it only got worse as it went along. My poor father was in the room with me, and he says it was worse than watching my mother in childbirth.

It took me years to be completely okay with visiting the dentist again. Many times I was so nervous even about regular cleanings that it felt like someone was jackhammering the floor–but it was just me trembling from nerves.

This thread is like horror films. You don’t want to watch and it scares you but … you can’t look away.

Long ago, I was walking round the house barefoot when I must have trodden on a bee. It stung me.
That hurt.
But not as much as:

I dropped a wooden chopping board onto my toe recently.
(The reason I didn’t move out the way was that I knocked over a glass simultaneously and was focused on catching that. Yes, I have now reorganised my kitchen!)
That hurt.
But not as much as:

When still a teenager, I woke up screaming with stomach pain. My alarmed parents rushed me to hospital. The pain had subsided by now, so the medics popped me onto a hospital trolley while they dealt with another emergency.
Then the pain came back.
It was so bad, I couldn’t concentrate to press the nearby call button. Apparently it was a concentration of screaming and rhythmic thumping (the trolley banging on the wall as I thrashed in agony) that brought help.
It was diagnosed as a ‘bowel spasm’.

::whimper:: what a horrifying story. And f-ing irresponsible of them to do this w/o at least using sedation or nitrous or something like that. I’d say more but this isn’t the Pit.

  1. Woke up at wrong time in OR.

  2. 13 mm kidney stone.

  3. They nicked my spinal cord during an epidural injection.


If anyone want to read a truly horrifying and apparently true tale of dental agony, pick up the book “A Million Little Pieces.” It’s a rehab memoir, and towards the beginning Our Hero has to undergo a complex dental procedure – including a root canal – completely without any painkilling, because he is still in the medical detox phase of the program.

It’s a harrowing read.

Rewind back when I was a youngin, around ten or so, I was practicing my tight rope act on a thin rail, when I fell mid-twirl onto a bicycle and gashed my hand on the chain. So I get up and start sort of sniffling that my back hurt, and asked my audience (my brothers) to check out if I had bruised it. Needless to say it was smeared with blood and my brother started screaming at all the blood. When I reached back he saw my hand, bisected right about above my thumb, the upper part flapping off he fainted, and my older brother deigned to come over himself and check matters out. Needless to say, when I saw it I gave my lungs the workout of their life. All I remember after that is rush, stitches, without any sort of drugging (it’s not a pleasant feeling feeling it go in and out), and a pretty cool scar.
And also, the story to top all stories, my uncle’s:
I’m not to sure to what the english term would be, but my uncle had a sort of fat build up in his shoulder, only it was in encased in a bag (?). Well when he went into suergery it was in Syria and the anesthetic they used on him was expired (go figure) so he felt the entire thing. From the way he described it. Shudder. Like the cutting through the muscle and the digging around and ugh! It sounded like hell.

Holy hell. Some of these stories are horrifying. Worst pain I ever had was 6 hours of back labor with no epidural. I remember screaming, “I DO NOT WANT a natural chilbirth!”

I remember wishing I would die, it was so bad. Then I remember thinking I really was dying, and my baby with me :frowning: Long story, but it was a scary, badly-managed labor.

Funny, though, after giving birth there is very little that frightens me. I used to be afraid of flying, public speaking, going to the dentist–all of that just doesn’t bug me much anymore.

Oh, man.

Three episodes for me, one of them in two chapters.

  1. Wisdom teeth out. Knocked me out cold, no probs. However, he missed a small bleeder in one of the sockets, so we had to go back down to the office that evening. He *-cained me, but…he didn’t give me any warning first and when he stuck that needle down into my fresh, bleeding socket, there was about 5 seconds of the worst pain to date until the numbing properties kicked in.

  2. Kidney stone. Chapter 1. The attacks felt like someone hammering a nail into my right kidney. They finally did the roto-rooter job on me and got it out, leaving a shunt in place between my kidney and my bladder. Had to go back to the office 5 days later to have it removed in a “simple” procedure. Chapter 2 ensues. Never trust a doctor when he says a “simple” procedure. I’m naked from the waist down with my legs up in the stirrups (for a minute, I thought I had gone into the gyno office by mistake). I get a flush up the johnson of a numbing agent. I then make the mistake of looking over the drape and seeing the doctor with a …something… in his hand that he will insert up the johnson, grab the shunt and pull it out. The thing looks like a shiny silver piece of sewer pipe!! :eek: He then lies again and tells me I might feel a little pressure, then proceeds to shove that thing up my johnson and through my spinal cord as he fishes around for the end of the shunt. And when he pulled that shunt out… :eek: :eek:

  3. Gallstones. Felt like someone committing seppuku, but using my body instead. Had the gall bladder out and then suffered for a week because one of the stitches was too tight and every time I sneezed, it felt like a red-hot poker being rammed into my stomach. Finally the stitch dissolved.

I hope the “three times pays for all” thing works here because I really don’t want any more of that kind of stuff to happen.

Four things:

  1. Tearing up my right foot at 17. My dad and I had gone out sailing on his 25’ Catalina. After we docked, I was going down into the cabin for sailbags when the wake from a motorboat hit us. The boat rocked just as I was putting my weight down, and my foot folded underneath me. I heard muscle and ligaments tear. It hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe for a couple of seconds. Dad wasn’t best pleased to have no help putting all away. When we got home, Mom was busy watching a movie and waited until it was over to take me to the ER (I have gotten SO much mileage out of their mutual bout of thoughtlessness). I was in a cast for a month.

  2. Recovering from gallbladder removal surgery. It made the gallstone attacks seem like child’s play. It was then that I learned that pain doesn’t always seem like pain. Sometimes it’s an all-encompassing discomfort that gives you nightmares while you try to sleep and makes it impossible to move without crying. Narcotics are a very good thing.

  3. Injured back muscle that clamped down on a nerve running to my arm. I seriously thought they were going to have to amputate my arm, it hurt THAT much. I could have taken a Sharpie and drawn the nerve path down my arm. The ER doc joked that well, they could cut off my arm, but it wouldn’t do any good, since the irritation to the nerve was actually in my back. When I sniffled that, thanks, but no amputation for me, he erased something off his clipboard and muttered “fine. Killjoy.” I like it when doctors can make me feel better.

  4. A stomach virus/bacterial infection. Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man. It made my gallbladder surgery fade into a distant memory. I still don’t understand how it could possibly have hurt that much - my entire abdomen, like it was on fire. A friend ran me to the ER, and in the walk from her car to a seat, maybe 100 feet, it hurt so bad that I threw up. Blargh. They ended up running many, many tests on me, rehydrating me through an IV, and giving me some Cipro (which is why I think they suspected a bacterial infection, though they told me it was a stomach virus). Irritating that no one took my complaints of pain seriously. sigh I ended up using up the last of my leftover hydrocodone from my appendectomy nearly 10 years previously.