You're probably thinking "How could Rachel say that sick people are jerks?! She's the jerk!"
Let me explain-
After months of travel I was excited to step foot into the food co-op I've been shopping at for a decade. I'm on a first name basis with quite a few of the employees and they notice when I haven't been in for awhile. I was greeted with a "Welcome home!" and big smiles. So, I when I took my things up to the checkout, I was blown away by the stranger behind the cash register who scowled and then proceeded to be really rude towards me. That was a first in the 10+ years I've been shopping at this store. "Who is this jerk?" I asked myself.
I'm typically a people pleaser and I try to 'make things better' when faced with situations like this. So when I smelled the watermelon Jolly Rancher scent wafting from his mouth, I said, "Oh, I smell a watermelon Jolly Rancher." ...I know, I probably could have said something more creative like "How can such a mean mouth have something so sweet in it?" Errrrr... let's stick with boring. Besides, watermelon Jolly Ranchers have this power to bring people together with little effort. It worked.
He said, "Oh yeah, I have to suck on these during my whole shift to help take my mind off things." He went onto explain that he was recovering from a broken foot and the pain of standing on it all day is too much for him, so he sucks on Jolly Ranchers to take his mind off of the pain and this made sense to me. Without realizing it, he wasn't just trying to "take his mind off of it" he was trying to trigger the healing process in his body.
I explained that I'm a health practitioner and I work with animals but have also worked with quite a few humans and used to work at Hazelden Betty Ford with people addicted to pain medication from past injuries and have had quite a few bodybuilders get on my table when they've injured themselves. Most people don't realize that you can't heal if you're in pain and that's why doctors prescribe those nasty pain meds in the first place. His foot was sending his brain a message saying "Dude, look at this, it's broken and hurts." and so the Jolly Rancher was going into the brain and saying "I want you to feel good, let's release some happy chemicals. Can we get a shot of endorphins up in here to get this party started?"
Ever heard of the Physiological Relaxation Response? When your brain creates endorphins, your muscles relax, and when that happens, more oxygen can flow through your blood, and when we oxygenate our blood, our body starts to absorb nutrients more efficiently which allows our body to build enzymes. When all of this starts to happen, our hormones will regulate, our body detoxes; new growth occurs in our cells, and our immune systems become stronger for it. That's how we heal. As I was explaining this process to him, two other cashiers were standing there intently listening. I agree it's fascinating. I told the cashier that they sell CBD oils in the Health and Beauty Department and he should grab a bottle. Jolly Ranchers are great, but on a scale of 1-10 they're not giving enough of an endorphin release, and without even truly realizing it, he was self-medicating. He said he didn't want to get high. I then explained you don't get high on CBD oils (after all we're in Minnesota, and sold at grocery stores) but they do offer pain relief. I recommend them to all my patients who have severe chronic physical pain, especially senior animals with arthritis, hip and joint issues.
He was elated to finally have a better solution it caused his whole demeanor to change. It was the end of the night, and there was no one in line behind me, so we ended chatting it up and discovered we're both Angelino implants and listen to the same music. The person I had labeled as a "jerk" wasn't a jerk at all; he was super cool.
When I got in my car to drive home, I chuckled that I had tagged this man a 'jerk' when really, he was pretty much the same as an injured dog (or any other animal) that I attend to with pain. I have to remind my clients quite often that when someone is sick and in pain, they will lash out. If their back hurts and you pick them up, they might bite you. So this guy at the store essentially 'bit me.'
As our animal companions age, It's crucial not to label them based on their behavior but who they are deep down in their heart. Sick people are NOT jerks; they're ill and in pain.
If you live with chronic pain, the best way to heal is through relaxation and happiness. CBD oil is an option, and there are also wonderful essential oils to help trigger different responses in the body that can help. Music is always a go-to for me and of course touch. The Penny Institute did a study and was able to prove that if someone in the hospital received just one 45 minute Healing Touch session, it saved the hospital $2000.00 a day! So don't ever underestimate the power of endorphins and their fantastic ability to oxygenate the blood and the results that ensue because of this.
Your pain does not define you. And the beautiful thing about our beloved animal companions is that they're not invested in being sick, so they tend to heal quite quickly. I'm not gonna lie; I want this superpower.
Most people believe that when you're in pain, your body needs to heal, but the reality is, that healing begins in the brain.