Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pain Factor

My dad, aka The Expert, is a foot doctor, which a lot people think is gross. But he just looks at it this way: "Your toe jam is my bread and butter!" He says that a lot. Also, when told that my foot hurts when I walk on it, he has been known to say, "Then don't walk on it." He's VERY compassionate that way.

Being a podiatrist has given The Expert a special glimpse into the facet of human life known as PAIN. I've had ingrown toenails done, and let me just say, the big toe is an extremely uncomfortable place to have a shot. Worse though, would be the heel of the foot. I've never had that done, but I've heard some of the screams.

The Expert's specialty in pain has caused him to create a personality type test based on an individual's reaction to pain. Fortunately for his theory (although perhaps unfortunately for him personally), he has three daughters who all react to pain in different ways (this was confirmed when we all had our ingrown toenails done).

For example, Heather is a Stoic. Heather's the oldest girl in our family: responsible, dependable, reliable. Before she decided to stay at home and dedicate her life to perfecting motherhood (which she does almost scarily well, considering she has three boys), she was an accountant. She is calm, collected, and even-tempered. She rarely loses her temper with her children or even her little sister who would snoop through her stuff trying to find love notes from boys. She generally thinks about other people first.

When Heather got her shot in her big toe done, this was her reaction:

Heather: ---

No reaction. She's a Stoic. She might have clenched her teeth a little more tightly, or she might have grabbed the armrests on her surgical chair a little more firmly, but not a word escaped her lips.

Ginnie, on the other hand, is the sister just younger than Heather and just older than me. She is a Laugher. Sunny by nature, Ginnie seems to sail through the challenges that life deals her without much stress. She rolls with the punches. As a teenager, she endured her little sister snooping on her phone conversations with her boyfriend with a great deal of patience. She has a quick sense of humor and was a junior high cheerleader who held her smile even though her bases were constantly dropping her on the gym floor.

This is Ginnie's reaction when she got her shot for the toenail fiesta:

Haaaa! Haaaa! Hoooo! Heeee! (I just want to point out that laughter is very hard to capture in writing. I did the best I could, okay?)

Ginnie is a Laugher. She laughs her way through pain. She can't quite keep all her emotions in, like a Stoic, but she can't quite let them all go, like our next type, the Screamer.

I am a Screamer. I'm prone to dramatics, maybe like the time I faked that I had appendicitis and made my parents take me to the ER just so that I could get some attention. My best moments in life have taken place in front of large groups where I have control of the microphone. I tend to speak my mind too liberally, and so I offend most people at least once, but if you're in my family, we just don't keep track of how many times you've been offended. I tend to overshare personal details of my life that will embarrass both you and me later.

When the needle pierces my big toe, it sounds something like this:


You see, I am a Screamer. There's a reason why my oral surgeon made me leave his office through the back door, folks.

How about you? Where do you fall on the pain personality test?


Celia and Scott said...

Wait? Where's the Crier? Because that would be me. I'm a wuss. Seriously. And I'm not the only one. Adrienne is a wuss too. (Obviously, I'm not afraid to rat her out.) She cries at the dentist when she gets her teeth cleaned. But I don't... because I make them give me the gas. I'm not ashamed.

Celia and Scott said...

And could it be just a coincidence that THREE of the podiatrist's daughters had ingrowns? I don't think any of us have had ingrown toenails before. Was Uncle C trying to turn your hard-earned babysitting money into his bread and butter too?

Jen said...

I am more of a commentator. "Oh, that really hurts. Do you really think that's necessary? I wish I were in Bermuda instead of having that sliver removed. I think I'll just look away now." It's as if I think blathering on incessantly will somehow relieve the stress because I'm normally quiet(er) so the words will release my inner turmoil.

Texas Mommy said...

I am more of a clench my teeth type person. I will usually let out a little whine and yelp of pain, but for the most part I keep it to myself as tears of pain fall down my face!

Valerie said...

I think I would be classified as a whiner. I wouldn't scream, but I would definitely let them know that what they were doing was not appreciated.

Heidi said...

Celia--yeah, it's definitely suspicious. I don't think I have a single sibling who HASN'T had an ingrown. I had both sides of both big toes done.

Wow! The Expert is going to have to update his pain personality test--there's a lot more types out there!

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

Oh please - I'm a screamer. Hands down.
I'm terrible at the dentist's office. I'm truly awful giving birth, omg.

Leisha said...

Ah, this ties in nicely with the baby post I just commented on.

My pain tolerance depends on who I'm with. My husband is an "oldest" of his family...I'm a "youngest"...when I'm with an "oldest" I turn into a complete infantile, needy, intolerant of pain person.

If I'm by myself I am like the steel woman of pain tolerance, I can take anything you throw at me. I've had several Dr.'s tell me I have high pain tolerance. I almost died from an appendicitis because I endured the pain so long it was nearly ruptured.

But the second my parents, older siblings or husband walks in...I'm a wimp.

Ginnie Kimball said...

I remember the trip to the ER for appendicitis. I just never knew that it was a total fake job. Way to come clean on that one.

Dan said...

I was tough as nails, but what's new?

Dan said...

Maybe Dad should implement Nitrous oxide for the wusses in this world.

Dan said...

No pun intended on my first comment...

Josh said...

To be honest...I'm pretty sure that Heidi's recent eye fiasco was also a complete fake. I told her to send me pictures and I'm yet to receive them.

Queen Elizabeth said...

I am a screamer too! Although I didn't scream much during 3 child labors (shocking). I LOVED LOVED LOVED my epidurals (hey, I'd have one right now if I could and I'm not even pregnant!!!) and think that if there is a way to avoid the pain, SIGN ME UP! (Sadly, my husband is horrible also - and he's had diabetes since age 4 = lots of finger pricking!!!)