Why I am lacking in compassion- I don't know, it's not that she's deserving the blame, but I certainly can't blame Mom and Dad. They did nothing to contribute to this, but as far back as I can remember, Michele and I were "tough cookies". It must have been something we just agreed to, or twistedly believed we'd be praised about, but we did our very best to hide any excessive shows of pain or suffering.
Maybe it WAS a bit of Mom and Dad's fault, because they did pass on the stories of our bravery, perhaps giving us more reason to believe that it was a very good thing to shield our emotions for physical pain. One time, when I was 8 or 9, I tried to roller skate on gravel. Good idea, huh?! Anyway, that gravel ended up embedded in my knee, and Dad had to remove it with tweezers. Did I cry? Nope, just sucked it up and endured it. Likewise, Michele probably broke a growth-plate in her arm falling from a beam she was swinging on, but convinced Mom and Dad that a doctor's visit wasn't necessary due to her bravery.
The worst example of this occurred the summer before my senior year. I was playing summer softball and had the opportunity to "steal second". I made my slide, but unfortunately, but my cleat stuck in the dirt, and the rest of my body kept going. Three bones were broken surrounding my ankle joint, it was very painful. My coach happened to be my high school health teacher, so I actually "talked back" when she tried to divert me from really knowing what she was thinking as she looked over the injury - suggesting that "I knew what she was doing, you taught me these techniques when we deal with someone potentially going into shock!". That was the extent of my mouthiness- but school was out for the summer, I figured she wasn't going to knock my grade.
I ended up going to the hospital in my mom and dad's car, (horrified by the thought of an ambulance) and the experience was brutal. The X-Ray technician was horrendous, manuvering my ankle this way and that, and then making comments when he saw the film that indicated something was very wrong, but refusing to elaborate.
The doctors ended up positioning the foot as comfortable as possible through the night with surgery planned for the next morning. (They would either reset it and I'd have a cast up to my thigh, or have to put pins in, and then I'd have a cast up to my knee, wherever the cast was when I woke up from anasthesia would determine the outcome). That night was so awful. I sent my parents home thinking there was no reason I needed to be babied. I also never asked for painkillers, thinking those were for sissies. By about 5:30 am, I was calling my parents in agony, asking them to come, and finally broke down and asked the nurse for medication. They were shocked I had not asked earlier. I can't even tell you how excited I was to be "put under" so that I wouldn't hurt anymore.
Long story short, no pins were needed, I had a "honkin' cast" and it was not a pleasant summer. I did recover faster than expected, though.
Michele and I had to work through this bravery complex with the arrival of our first children. Mom had managed "twins" with just a little "Staedol" that is used just to take the edge off, - no epidural or anything. Surely, we could each manage one child. But, as we all know, every delivery is different, and I am thankful that Michele had succumbed to pain meds with her first child and could direct John to encouraging me to agree to them with Brayden as his labor went excruciatingly long (obviously, a HUGE difference in the deliveries of my two kids). I think that experience finally taught me that medicines can be a very good thing when taken appropriately. And, enduring pain just for the sake of being brave, doesn't help anyone, especially a family that needs my attention and energy.
So, all of this very long-winded post, was inspired by my inability to relate to my daughter who does not deal with suffering as I did as a child. She is not so much a whiner, but rather a steady communicator about her ills - and wants my company 24-7. I know that she is borderline manipulative about her time with me, so I am a touch de-sensitized, particularly compared to John who is more apt to jump to her every need. But, really, I blame Michele, and our idiotic ideas about suffering, that has contributed to my lack of compassion for my sick family members. Maybe admitting all this will be the first steps towards recovery and being the Mom that heeds her sick family members every whiny whim!