out of context

airbridgesPOSTCARD #253: Chiang Mai: A short flight to Bangkok to see the needle man for the last attempt to anesthetize the head pain I’ve had for more than a year. Back to Chiang Mai the same day and it feels like it never happened, except for the pain where the needle went in – the scritch-scritch sound when needle point scratched the skull. I’m thinking maybe the pain is gone, walking through a small shopping area the next day, then I’m hit with three distinct stabs in the head. Knees bend, I want to lie down on the ground as if it were a soft bed… it would be so comfortable. No, no I need to find a place to sit. Suddenly a coffee shop appears with tables out in the street, waitress coming over as I sit. I ask for a bottle of water (waitress seems distracted, am I looking weird?), try to look normal while pushing out the capsules from their crackly celluloid enclosures, but what’s normal? It’s at times like these you notice the construct out of context.

Here I am, stabbed in the head and trying to act normal to everyone else in the street. I want to shout out ‘help me!’ but I go with the act. I can knowingly disappear in what is assumed to be the correct reality – an imaginary character in a fictional landscape. Everywhere we look the construct is staring back at us, as clear as clear can be… product marketing intrudes easily, interwoven and embedded for better or worse. And, like something direct from the mother ship itself, “the news” is inside our heads, a filter through which we see our world. The push-and-pull, towards or away from the things I love and hate, or love to hate.

I drink water, the trauma of head pain easing. People here don’t speak, hang out in postures of contemplation with devices, phones, the reflected glow of screens illuminate faces of the user. Maya is a beguiling concealment, agreeable enslavement. Heads tucked in, body crouched over in fetal position… absorption. Then, when it’s time to go, removing oneself from the enchantment, thinking how am I seen? How do I look to my ‘friends’, to all of us; I, you, he, she or it – we, you they? “Me’ as an individual… the world as my duality.

Next thing for me is an appointment to see the nerve-ablation lady 7th March. I expect the witchy neurologists will give me a hard time if I turn this down: radiofrequency ablation procedure (they stick an electric needle in and zap the nerve). Well, putting up with their negative attitude is better than getting zapped. Also, I’ve heard, the nerve grows back after the ablation, or the pain moves somewhere else. What then? Another one of these zap! ablations? zap! And does this zap! go on at intervals zap! for the remaining 10 good years of my life? I’m pretty sure I’ll say thanks but I’ll just see how it goes, go play with your procedures somewhere else, they say neuropathic pain gets more manageable as the years go by….

“The first noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. What a relief. Finally somebody told the truth. Suffering is part of life, and we don’t have to feel it’s happening because we personally made the wrong move…” [Pema Chödrön]


40 thoughts on “out of context

  1. Good morning from Florida, Tiramit. First, let me say I’m sorry to hear that the head pain is still plaguing you, although Pena Chödrön’s quote really helps put it into its rightful place. That quote helped me today as someone dear to me said hurtful things stemming from cognitIve impairment. Breathe and relax, even when I feel like screaming and running away.

  2. So very sorry for this type of suffering… the overwhelming pain in public, coming out of nowhere, wanting to yell for help. And the need to present a normal front at all costs, but why? The front in itself takes its toll energetically. So sorry, Tiramit. Thanks for the Pema Chadron quote… had special meaning for me right now. And thank you, Ben Naga, for the Turmeric cure. Will look it up. Have been looking for a method other than in milk though that is supposed to be so good. Not a milk person.

    • The pain is sudden like that when I stop taking the meds in order to see if the nerve block via the needle is effective, then waiting for a day afterwards without meds. It’s a lonely experience to be suddenly sick in a country that’s not your own. Okay now…

  3. I don’t know if this would help, but i’ve been taking Serrapeptase for arthritis pain… and it sure helps a lot. Unlike nasty prescription pain relievers, it has no significant side effects. Doctors Best is a good brand, which i get from Amazon. It does have some blood thinning potential. It must be taken on an empty stomach.
    I take 40,000 iu 3 or 4 times a day. Super stuff! 🙂 And it stops snoring at night!
    Here some info regarding it with headache pain:

    • Thanks Tom and thanks too for your suggested remedies in the past, I have to get these when I’m in Europe because getting medical or health products through Amazon in Thailand is not permitted. In India Amazon is just starting and security re purchasing and the quality of the product unreliable. I’m going there in May, let’s see if I can plan things to get Serrapeptase

  4. I am so sorry to read that you are still suffering with these head aches. I worry how I look in public when I have one of my coughing attacks. People shy away as if I have some contagious disease. Or they offer me water or cough drops. Is it concern for the people around us feeling under comfortable or is it our embarrassment why we are concern? I hope you find relief soon.

    • Hi Kimberly
      Thanks for these kind words. I can imagine how it would be for me seeing someone coughing and obviously ill in a public place. I’d try to help, but I think others who hurry past are in fear of catching a disease in the mind, also fear of how tenuous our life is, not the forever thing we think it is.

  5. If I could truly take that Pema Chodron quote to heart, how very different my life would be… the feeling of guilt over a perceived wrongdoing coupled with a desperate cover-up in order to appear “normal” despite the suffering seems an incalculable waste of energy. I really feel for you in this unfortunate situation, and I hope that the pain indeed becomes bearable with the passage of time. I can’t help thinking that one has a bit of latitude to appear other than normal while experiencing stabbing head pain… More and more, I sense that no one can see me, as distracted as they all are with their precious Devices… Oddly lonely in public these days…

    • Hi JW, thanks for these kind words. About that guilt thing, I’ve spoken with some Western Monks again and again and they all agree we just have to live with it, part of our conditioning, a characteristic of (misunderstood) Christian religiosity. As soon as it’s understood and seen through, it’s gone. For me it leaps up again at the first opportunity, then I reason with it and it’s gone again. This is the kind of thing that comes to the surface if you’re an introspective person, practicing meditation, looking for the Truth in a battleground of untruths 😉 The surroundings may be populated by people only half awake, glued to their devices, unable to be by themselves without anything. Really all that’s needed is to have and to nurture functioning mindful awareness…
      The doc put me on some different medication and I see right away that there are some changes. I’m not the prisoner I thought I was. I’m in a more optimistic frame of mind…

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