Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Getting over the Ick

For nearly two weeks now, I have battled some tenacious cold virus.

Big deal. Millions of people actually suffer genuine pain and would call me a pantywaist for daring to solicit any sympathy.

Which makes me wonder: this thing kept me up night after night, sapped all my motivation to do anything at all and ruined great plans that I had long looked forward to. And it was just a stinking cold.

So how do people with actual serious pain, chronic pain -- cancer, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, ovarian cysts, fibromyalgia, etc -- how do they get through the day, how do they focus and get productive things done, day after day? And how do they keep from choking the rest of us every time they hear us whine about a little head cold?


Lance said...

I too am surprised by the remarkable ability of humans in terrible circumstances to adapt. Really, though, I suppose it becomes a necessity for those that suffer terribly, not to demean the exceptional resilience of these people and the suffering meanwhile.

Most recent research shows people seem to have a baseline level of happiness, which moves very slowly, if at all throughout their lifetime. A severe loss can devastate somebody, just as a Lotto victory can exhilirate. But, eventually, people seem to revert back quite close to their initial level of happiness (there is some permanent positive effect from many of these things, including a Lotto win :) )

An aspiring Olympic athlete could be severely irritated by a cold, as they can see how it has ruined their hard-fought-for plans for glory.
However, if that same athlete lost all their limbs, they will eventually be left with no other possible option than a drastic re-evaluation of what is possible.
Eventually, most learn to accept that their dreams of being an Olympic athlete can never be realised, and they find other things to do with their life, although it can be very hard.

So I guess it is expectations rather than events which dictate our happiness and our willingness to complain, which strongly hints that our attitudes rather than the things which happen to us determine our satisfaction

And your attitude of keeping in mind our general good fortune is commendable and probably makes you happier than most.

Carmen said...
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