Sunday, July 12, 2009

Swearing makes pain more tolerable

I'm reading: Swearing makes pain more tolerableTweet this!

According to a study that will be published in the August 5 issue of NeuroReport, dropping a few f-bombs or curse words helps people tolerate pain. We've all experienced this at some point, right? Stub you toe, hit your finger with a hammer, push something the size of a watermelon out of your delicate lady parts. A few choice expletives can make a big difference (in the case of birth, an epidural can make a even bigger difference).

This reminds me of the time Smartypants (now 11) got stitches in his forehead as a 4-year-old. He'd been jumping on the bed at Bubbe's house while DH and I were enjoying our first grow-up outing in months, maybe years. At any rate, he fell and hit his head on the nightstand resulting in a bloody gash.

By the time we got to her house, the bleeding had mostly stopped and my boy was anesthetized by the TV. I then learned an important parenting lesson: I'd often used the hospital as a threat to my busy, daring boy. For example, "if you don't stop running/jumping/twirling/crazy stuntman wannabe behavior, you're going get hurt and wind up in the hospital!"

Needless to say, once we told out little guy we were taking him the the hospital you'd have thought we'd ripped off the new scab and poured a load of salt on his fresh wound.

We made it to the hospital and got checked in pretty quickly. Every worker from the woman who checked us in to the ER doc commented that it was just like that song, you know, the one about the monkeys jumping on the bed? Yes, we know. It got less funny each time we heard the line.

On to the stitches, the doctor wrapped up Smartypants in a "burrito" which sounds much friendly than a "straitjacket," but has a similar effect. As they cleaned and stitched his wound, little Smartypants was screaming at the doctor at the top of his lungs, "I hate you! You're mean!"

And yes, he let loose with the occasional s-bomb.

"You're stupid!"

He hurled these comments with all the vitriol his intense, yet innocent, spirit could muster. I was on the verge of both laughing and crying as I stood by his side.


TheAngelForever said...

I tend to agree with this. I was shocked that I did not let an f-bomb fly when delivering my first son. That was until my hubby told me to breathe and I told him! My oldest (just before he was 4) had to have stitches on his chin after flying into a toilet at daycare. He also let the s-bomb fly. Of course, I had to laugh at your son wrapped in the burrito. My son smiled after they got him in this. Why you ask? Two minutes after the smile his hands were out of that sucker. Thanks for sharing the article.

Shari said...

So funny! Our girls think stupid is a bad word too. We don't let them say it, so in their world it's a swear word.

2KoP said...

Shut up and stupid are the only two unacceptable "swears" in our house. See Oh, Curses, Foiled Again for our further adventures in profanity.

When my daughter (accidentally) hit her twin in the head with a manure and rust-covered shovel just above the eye, we had to make that long trek to the ER. The doctor (I swear he was only 12 years old himself) kept telling my son to hold still. Every time the doc came near his eye with the needle, my son flinched (duh!). The Doc kept saying that's not how big 10 year old boys act. I wanted to say: Just wait till you have kids. I thought the boy was very brave.

Carrie said...

Of course this was published the day AFTER I gave birth, so I didn't get the chance to try it. No, I didn't use any swear words, but I did moan a lot and screamed a few times as he was just coming out. And I used a few phrases that would not have been smiled upon by the "positive attitude" Hypnobabies tapes I'd been using to prepare for the birth. Like, "Just kill me!"
A lot of nurses or doctors will tell you to save your energy for pushing instead of vocalizing, but this study made me feel justified in yelling -- it probably did help!