It's Possible to Have Pain Without Suffering
I felt badly for my hospice patient.
Mr. Stone was in obvious physical pain. When I told him that I felt badly that he was suffering from being in so much pain, his response surprised me.
Sitting up, he quietly told me, “Nina. I said I was in pain, I am not suffering.”
He challenged me to examine my assumption that pain and suffering go hand in hand. I was embarrassed that I wasn’t thinking beyond this belief that is so common, especially in our country. I was disappointed in myself for making this assumption so easily.
I knew this! I’ve experienced this too. When I was in labor during childbirth, I was anticipating a good outcome, so I was not suffering; I was simply in pain. When I began working out to get in shape I was experiencing intense soreness of my muscles, but I was not suffering; I was in temporary pain. When I was getting vaccinations for travel overseas, I was uncomfortable, but I really wasn’t suffering because I couldn’t wait to be traveling again.
How many times within the nursing and oncology specialties do we make broad assumptions? We truly need to examine these.
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