I know, I know, I quit blogging because someone is stealing myposts and using them as his or her own. Perhaps this entry will also be stolen. Ihave come to realize that if people are helped by what I write, then that isthe real purpose of my reflections.
More than ten years ago, I began to write about my experiencewith trigeminal neuralgia and working on behalf of others who have it. I wrote,among other things, about social isolation. At the time, many people werenot familiar with that phrase. I received quite a bit of feedback about it, thealoneness that facial pain can cause. People who have trigeminal neuralgia,glossopharyngeal issues, and other types of facial pain are well versed inloss. They often lose their jobs, their spouses, their homes, and their abilityto speak clearly.
Now, with the corona virus, social isolation has become acommon phrase, a way of living each day. People have lost their jobs andfinancial security. Some have relatives and close friends who have died.
When I worked at the TNA, the Facial Pain Association, peoplewho were suffering told me how they would not wish their type of pain on theirworst enemy. I often told them that perhaps the world be a better place if everyonehad experienced this for just one day. They agreed. The intensity of despairthat is created by being “electrocuted” throughout the face, the jaw, the eyes,and sometimes the neck- it causes one to change priorities and realize whatreally is important. It gives one empathy for others.
My world, in spite of the disability, became a better placebecause I realized how important love is. Most of all, I became aware of how Ihad taken things for granted. The woman who taught drama, English, andjournalism- she couldn’t talk much of the time. She had to stay home, out ofthe wind (even a breeze) and away from a ceiling fan. She could not chew, washher face, or brush her teeth. Social isolation and aloneness were part of eachday.
Now that so many individuals in our country face socialisolation, people will understand it better, what it is like to experience thealoneness. That doesn’t mean they will understand the intensity of the painthat cranial nerve disorders cause. I have a feeling, though, that thispandemic will give plenty of people more empathy for those who battle facialpain.
We all hope these days will pass. For many people who have trigeminalor glossopharyngeal neuralgia, it will not. I thank God for taking my pain fromme, for healing me. Years after the TN pain left, I began to experience glossopharyngealissues. It’s been almost two years now since my “glossy nerve” has caused me aproblem. I’m thankful.
Although I am well, I’m staying home. No matter what, Istill believe that love is stronger than pain.