Tomorrow looms large in my mind. I'm going to have my first discussion with my doctor about pain management. I've not really talked to him much about pain, mostly our visits have focused on issues other than anything directly related to my disability. I don't know where the reticence I have about seeking help for dealing with pain comes from. I don't know why it bothers me so much. Pain is simply pain, I know that. Asking for help to manage the pain is, or should be, simply a logical next step.
But for me.
I had hoped that by making the appointment the pain would just go away, the way a toothache disappears in a dentists waiting room. But, it didn't. It's been mostly manageable. But just mostly. I've startled Joe sometimes with a sharp intake of breath when the pain gets difficult to bear. He's not said but I know he's glad that I'm going to see about getting some help.
My wheelchair helps me get around, I see that.
The grab bars in the bathroom helps me stay clean.
The reacher that sits beside my desk make the floor accessible.
All those are fine for me.
Why is this bothering me so much?
I grew up in a small mining town where men were men! The worst thing you could be called, as a boy, was a 'sissy' or a 'girly boy'. I was called those. Often. I didn't like boy things, like trucks, dirt and baseball. I learned that boys didn't cry. I learned that boys didn't admit to pain. Break your leg? Shake it off man! These lessons were taught often and failure to learn lead to social punishment of the highest order. You could shame your family by crying in public.
Maybe all these years later I'm still fleeing from the idea of my 'sissy-hood' ... even though I don't buy into those stereotypes. Even though I know that the term 'girly boy' is equally offensive to women and to men. Even though I know that pain is just pain and help is just help. I can't help but feel that tomorrow, in asking, I will somehow be less.
Sexism hurts everyone.