Suggestions for Managing Chronic Pain (When You’ve Shredded a Hip Ligament or Something)

*For best results, do not hope for results.

  1. Narcotics. Take dose appropriate for severe injury, as prescribed by a doctor who knows what true pain is and is willing to adequately medicate you for it. (Just kidding, that would never happen.)
  2. Bottle of Extra-Strength Advil. Shake bottle close to your ear until the sound annoys you so much that pain — at last — is not your biggest problem.
  3. Lidocaine Patches. Apply to forehead, where they will be as useless as if applied to the site of injury, but in inducing laughter from others as you walk down the street, cause sufficient shame to distract you from pain in your hip.
  4. Voltaren Gel. Apply to your child’s Elmo doll, preferably the Tickle-Me Elmo variety, so it appears to be making someone happy.
  5. Tiger Balm. Eat an entire tub of it, necessitating an emergency stomach pump, which necessitates anesthesia. Enjoy one hour of painless unconsciousness.
  6. Arnica Gel. Useless when applied to self, BUT apply to the arm of person next to you in line at the pharmacy, who will then punch you, thus providing a sharp pain to distract you from the other sharp pain.
  7. Physical Therapy. Lie down on therapist’s table and become enraged by suggestion that clamshell exercises will reduce inflammation in hip/knee/wrist/ankle joints. (What? Why?) As a geyser of pain erupts from your clam-shelling body, channel rage into sawing leg off of nearby chair with which to threaten your cheery physical therapist. Be arrested, thus distracting you from pain.
  8. Anti-inflammatory Diet. Cease ingestion of sugar, bread, alcohol, and caffeine. Depression at pointlessness of life under these restrictions, and gnawing hunger, will dull awareness of gnawing pain.
  9. Support Groups. Attend them, that you may simultaneously plan escape from droning chatter and spontaneous hugging. Escaping support group by simply sprinting to nearest elevator and then down the block will cause surge of endorphins that will suppress pain.
  10. Guided Relaxation Tapes. As a gentle voice instructs you to let go of all tension, fantasize about finding this person and strangling her with Lidocaine patches. Planning homicide is an all-natural anti-inflammatory.
  11. Foam Roller. Take roller to fortieth floor of office building and rock body back and forth over knotted scar tissue. Inevitably slip over roller and careen off roof, falling forty floors to your doom. Feel no pain.

Notes from Your Live-in Partner Who Happens to Work from Home

Thank you for questioning my use of the word "chivalric" at that dinner party last night, for the humiliation of having the word "chivalrous" mansplained to me as you and your fellow management consultants doubted the worth of studying things like Medieval English literature.


Biomedicine is a shameless Cartesian purgatory committed to betraying Black bodies the way it betrayed my mother.