This is my kid

Some time in the last year or two, I read about a study showing that men tend to report less pain when there’s a woman in the room. Not that they feel less pain, but that they keep a stiff upper lip for the female nurses. When it’s just guys, they admit that it really hurts.

If this is backed up by further study, it might help healthcare professionals treat pain with more accuracy. They’ll know that this phenomenon occurs and they’ll allow for it.

Yesterday, I was reading a news story sent in from front lines WW II by A.J. Liebling.

He wrote about a French doctor, who said that the men bore the pain better if the nurses were watching:

“Since we have so little anesthesia … we rely on vanity.”

In other words, people in the field already knew about all this long before researchers made a Ph.D. dissertation out of it. And if they knew about it in WW II, my guess is that they knew about it when the first caveman took a club to his neighbor’s head.

[I’m not sure we know whether grinning-and-bearing helps or hinders the healing process. That’s a question for another day. But I’m sure that minimizing the screaming was better for the other solders’ morale.]

I’m reminded of two things:

1. Riding my bicycle to work, I had to stop suddenly as a gaggle of schoolchildren were being herded across the street in front of me. I went straight over my handlebars and rolled to the feet of the terrified children.

Had no one been around, I would have lay in my misery for a bit. I might have even writhed. Yes, I’d go as far as to say that I would have writhed. Instead, I jumped up, smiled at the kids, readjusted the handlebars, and rode on.

2. This. How would he have reacted if he were alone in the room?

[By the way, the little girl in the picture is my daughter, and the only pain she was in was not wanting to nap at nap time.]

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