I have just finished reading The PAIN chronicles cures myths mysteries prayers diaries brain scans healing and the science of suffering, by Melanie Thernstrom. It’s too big a book to read when you’re in pain. At 370 pages you’d probably be better off putting it on your Kindle or Kobo.

Reading this book created that sensation where I realized that what is being described is something I know and something that I believe without knowing that I know. It’s going to be hard to describe it the best I can do at the moment yeah suggest you read two particular chapters I feel like a Sunday school teacher or schoolteacher. One is called s called the “Scar hypothesis” from pages 170 to 172 which argues pain sucks serotonin in your brain, causing depression or making it worse. There is also evidence that cross references genetic pain and depression circuitry.  The other is on page 205 and 206 about the aging brain, pain ages you more quickly.

This brings me back to my hearing aids and the Reader’s  Digest story. First time I had evidence of loss it was 30% and getting worse. And no it wasn’t frock n roll but “we see a lot of this in older people.” I had just read the evidence that depression, for which I was and still am being treated,  causes premature aging, in the Reader’s Digest in the waiting room.

My poem “I pull the blinds” ends “I was such a precocious kid,”  published in Grain.

Against the sun, she shouldn’t see me
like this, lying abed lying, my gouty toe
giving me what-for while my back sends
privileged information packaged as pain,
ribs my Dad counted to show his love,
tormenting me with his teasing
tickling not a strong enough word
repeating his own torments as the youngest
in the family all refugees getting off
the boat in 1926 he was eleven having little
to laugh about since 1919, but still he kept his cartilage
and his religion taking his place behind the pulpit
all of 36 like six other Franks before him
he did not complain much until he was 90
asking “why am I still here” a creeping question
many days now I am flat on my back, short a leg,
cartilage and religion long gone, pain in their place
me 65, pulling the blinds against the sun
thinking of the Velvet Underground, ruefully
remembering I was such a precocious  kid.



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