Natural pain relief requires care and responsiveness on the part of others. Take this example:
I just came back from a meeting with my business counselor. His office is right next to an entrance/exit door that is heavy and closes with a bang, and people go in and out of that door quite frequently. I have learned from experience that each time the door closes, a jolt of wicked nerve pain will zap through my ear and head. Imagine getting stabbed inside yer noggin each time a person goes in or out of a building, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Fortunately, I can hear people opening the door, so I am able to plug my ears with each entrance and exit, just in time before the door slams shut. Today, however, after about five or six rounds of pre-emptive ear-plugging, I decided to explore another solution. I discovered that the door has a little prop, so I opened the door and lowered down the prop.
Heaven. People walked in and out, quietly.
Then the administrator came in to talk to my counselor. On her way out, she said that she was going to close that door. “No, please don’t,” I called after her. “I opened it on purpose, because it’s banging shut.” Whether she didn’t hear me or chose not to listen, she continued with her door-closing activities. I came out and explained to her that I was getting stabs of nerve pain every time people came in and out.
“Well, it interferes with the air conditioning when it’s open, so we need it shut,” she replied, nary a trace of compassion in her tone or demeanor. I was fairly taken aback by the response, as in, what part of “stabbing nerve pain” do you not understand? “I can’t,” I insisted. “I can’t have it open. It is hurting me every time people come in and out.” She still didn’t seem particularly moved but did suggest I close the door to the counselor’s office.
I knew it would not work. I knew the jolt of vibrations were resonating not just through the open door but through the walls. Besides, the door to the counselor’s office was about as dense as a slab of cardboard.
I also knew, howeer, that if I refused to give the possibility a whirl, I might be perceived as anything from uncooperative and stubborn to belligerent and controlling. So after standing around at a loss and feeling distressed, I followed my counselor’s advice and closed the door, to “just give it a try,” as he gently suggested.
Not only did the door fail to keep out the banging sound when the door shut, but it also muffled the gentle clicking sound when the door opened. Meaning that the next time the door slammed shut, I was totally unprepared — making the impact exponentially worse than any of the times before. “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it,” I said, bolting out of my chair to prop the door open again.
When I went to close the door in question before leaving (out of respect to the administrator), I braced it so that there it would not slam. But by then my nervous system was so rattled that even the gentle clicking sound of the latch caused a stab of pain. Yes, the previous shock to my nervous system was that intense. And even now, two hours since the incident, the entire right side of my head remains jangled, raw, and crazy sensitive to noise – causing me pain, draining my energy, and as an upshot, leaving me with fatigue.
I am feeling angry. Just a tad more awareness of, responsiveness to, and flexibility around disability and special needs can make all the difference in the world. A willingness, in other words, to bend the rules just a bit, especially when it’s for a finite amount of time – in this case, a mere 15 minutes. Without those gestures forthcoming, the health and wellness of some can end up being sacrificed for the convenience of others.