Monday, February 13, 2012
Mindfulness and managing pain
Mindfulness is an acquired skill, particularly useful for dealing with pain. It means being aware of ourselves - in this moment, especially of how we fit into our surrounds and our responses to external stimuli. Learning Alexander Technique complements
other approaches to mindfulness.
As I left Sri Lanka and approached Australia in September 2011, a pain in my abdomen intensified and became continuous. Despite a repeated urge to go to the toilet, little urine flowed. My concern grew –
was a tropical bug damaging my kidneys? Sitting in the plane was close to unbearable … just like having kidney stones.
On landing at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, I took a taxi straight to the Austin Hospital, leaving bags still to be unloaded. The hospital was 30 minutes away. By the time I was in the Emergency waiting room, the pain was acute.
Phew. It was tough, but I was able to draw back from the pain, and prevent at least some unhelpful responses. It helped to keep my body moving, and to watch my reflection in the waiting room window - I could see that I was holding myself pretty well in the circumstances. A nurse caring for me observed that I was calm compared to many people she sees in Emergency. Conversation and the odd joke with her also helped me manage.
You must see a doctor if in pain. This information is not a substitute for medical advice.