Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ER thoughts: Is there dignity in pain?

Pain reminds us of the essence of our human condition and teaches us that social norms could only be extraneous. Visit an emergency room and see for yourself, and hear and smell for yourself too. There, burping, farting, groaning, and whining are not only permitted but also excusable and understandable. People waiting in PJs, sometimes in bare underwear or less is common. I remember a friend of mine once complained to me that when she was transfered urgently to a hospital, and while her pain was insurmountable, she could still be concerned that medics would now see the hole in her torn sock. I thought then that pain could be insulting. It maybe is but only because we imposed on ourselves a distorted definition of dignity.

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