Unbearable Pains: A Prose Poem

Anesthesiologists and neurologists acknowledge five kinds of unbearable pains:

Trigeminal neuralgia is the facial pain that comes with toothaches,

The accumulated trauma of grinding on lost hopes turned to bone,

The horror of a bullet in the eye,

An unremovable moat floating beyond the grasp of forceps and forgiveness,

The tingle of skin at the end of an affair and its discovery,

A lighting bolt of guilt, shame and unredemption, not by God,

But the unforgiving heart,

The unfeeling mind.

Anesthesiologists say it is equal to two minutes of hell,

But only God knows it fully.

Mothers say the pain of giving birth is worse,

But mothers who have had children and than

Trigeminal neuralgia know that it is far worse.

Tegatrol provides temporary relief but also

A lower IQ, spaciness and dysphoria.

Surgeries are limited to opening the skull

And putting a little pillow between

The dilated or hypertrophied blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve

Or ionizing radiation targeted usually deep into the head

And takes what seems like a lifetime to work.

Some anesthesiologists think that the most unbearable pain

Is the pain you can not control,

Often the result of an injury long since healed

(An old battle scar, football injury, a tumble down a tall long staircase)

And yet the pain never fades, eroding prayer, hope and faith.

A pain that only Jesus knows.

Cancer patients who survived chemotherapy

Sometimes speak of the devastating cure,

A hellish pain of hands and feet that last years,

And their doctors acknowledge is impossible to treat.

Other anesthesiologists think the most unbearable pain is the kind without a defined source,

One where every test is negative.

Once again, where only God knows

The why, the where, the what and the when

Of an ache that goes beyond facts and journalistic knowledge.

Fibromyalgia is hard to treat, not impossible, just plain damn hard.

What the scientist can not manage

The psychiatrist is called into soothe,

Opening the patient to the notion

That the pain might be coming from

Some nonphysical source, maybe psychological.

Priests and exorcists have also provided

Some small miracles and been known to help.

Some neurologists think the worst pain is one

That registers in the brain

After the fact of injury.

There have been proven stories of people

Who have survived animal attacks

Who experienced horrific pain

Only after looking down

At what they thought was a scratch,

A nothingness,

An unfortunate bump in the wilderness,

To discover the full revelation

Of hell fire in the sight

Of their wholly severed limb

In a savage maw.

Back pain sufferers often attribute their pain

To a slip disc, a vengeful nerve,

When in reality it is their

Insecurity, their fears,

Their sense of unsafeness

Beyond Godly control

That is making it worse.

Some neurologists think

That chronic pain is

The most unbearable pain.

It doesn’t resolve

After the injury

And is not usually amenable

To opioid drugs

In the long view.

It leads to depression, anxiety,

And an overall decreased

Quality of life.

It is pure suffering,

Something Jesus knows well.

Trauma like torture is only temporary

And never lasts forever.

So the neurologist knows to measure pain

By its intensity and duration.

They more or less know,

That perception equals purpose

And purpose equals perception.

Pain is a threat to the certainty of the body.

That much they know for sure,

And beyond that God only knows fully.

I know this a change of pace from the usual movie reviews posted here. I would very much appreciate and welcome your feedback.

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