What’s the first thing you do when you get a cold?
It’s a question that was posed in one of my favorite movies, Beyond Borders.
That movie’s the reason I wanted learn French and join the International Red Cross. That never happened, but C’est la vie… that’s pretty much the only French I do know.
In this movie was a conversation between a doctor, Nick Callahan (played by Clive Owen), and a volunteer, Sarah Jordan (played by Angelina Jolie), at a refugee camp in Africa, which forever changed my perspective with regard to pain management. For once :p I’m not talking about birth here. I mean ibuprofen and acetaminophen and any other over the counter pain relievers.
Here’s the conversation:
Nick Callahan: What’s the first thing you do when you get a cold?
Sarah Jordan: Uh… chicken soup, aspirin, scotch…
Nick Callahan: You never just have the cold?
Sarah Jordan: I don’t know what…
Nick Callahan: interrupts – Taken nothing. Just have the cold?
Sarah Jordan: No
Nick Callahan: No, and that’s us, right? We drown it. Kill it. Numb it, anything not to feel. You know, when I was a doctor in London, no one ever said ‘medahani’. They don’t thank you like they thank you here. Cos here they feel everything, straight from God. There’s no drugs, no painkillers. It’s the weirdest, purest thing – suffering. And when you’ve seen that kind of courage in a li… – pauses, tears well up -… in a child… How could you ever want to do anything but just hold him in your arms?
Doesn’t that make you think? I used to take as much ibuprofen as clinically acceptable at the first signs of a headache.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m sick with a cold. Dylan started the household epidemic at the end of last week. It hit Wyatt on Sunday and then Andy and me yesterday.
Oh how I dislike colds. The “little” virus that knocks you off your butt, yet society still expects you to function. It’s not acceptable to call out of work for a cold, right? Probably thanks to all the medications out there. I think that’s gradually changing now that we realize half the amount of people would get sick if just a few stayed home.
I try to keep things holistic around here. I admittedly haven’t been so great at that since the addition of Wyatt to the family. It’s hard to find passion for much of anything when you have two kids under three. I do, however, avoid medications. We don’t take cold medicine or pain relievers around here unless someone will lose sleep without them.
So, here I sit after a day of getting as much rest as possible, consuming as many liquids as possible, taking a shower and stretching, with a stuffy nose and a pounding headache. After hours of really, truly feeling this cold, I think I’m done and ready for some Advil now.
But, before I sign off and possibly medicate myself, I wanted to point out that pain management isn’t a one time thing. Society loves to harp on the choice of pain medication in all sorts of bigger situations (ie birth). What I realized recently is: we all have different limits. We all know our own bodies better than anyone else and what those bodies need and no one should make us feel guilty about wanting relief from pain at a certain point. That being said, I also think, as a society, there should be a greater emphasis on feeling and managing pain by alternative means before grabbing the drugs.
*please forgive any typos. I’ve noticed really dumb grammatical mistakes the past few days thanks to my groggy head. Things like “know” instead of “no” and “their” instead of “there”… mistakes that normally drive me nuts. I apologize in advance.