Tuesday 23 November 2010

Fork Theory

I'm sure many of you will have read "Spoon Theory" (link at the top right hand corner of my blog)

Well, to keep up the theme of cutlery, I thought I'd offer you Fork Theory.

Trying to explain what "Pain" means is useless. Everyone feels pain differently and we're programmed to forget any pain we have experienced. If you really want to go the whole 9 yards and understand what living with pain is like, give Fork Theory a go. Nurses might find it especially useful.

Sit in a quiet room, preferably alone and get comfortable. Take a fork, and press the tines it into the skin of your thigh. Use enough pressure for it to hurt, but obviously not enough to cause any actual damage. (Please remember that bit or I'll be sued from Surrey to Skye ;) )

This experiment works even better if you do it in the middle of the night. Whatever happens over the next hour, you must not stop pushing that fork into your leg. You can't relieve the pressure you apply and you can't get up to do anything. You can't get a drink or call out for anyone to help you, because they won't hear you.

Time the hour exactly. As it passes, notice if the pain seems to get better or worse. Does time speed up or slow down? Are you counting the seconds as they pass? Can you concentrate on reading a book? Could you do a full day at work?

This is the closest I can get to explaining how pain overrides anything else. Sadly if it had been real life, you wouldn't have known when it was going to end, or indeed if it would end at all.


  1. I promised I would reply.

    I was going to write a book about 1985 (well actually Christmas Eve 1984 to September 1985) but I have been afraid to begin, all these years.

    The pain you are feeling, I cannot feel too, and I am miserable for you but I am sure you don't want to be. So all I can offer you are my thoughts and best wishes and nothing else. I promise you I will write the book.

    It begins thus.

    'I am driving from Amsterdam to Calais, to the ferry a few days before Christmas 1984. My two daughters aged 10 and 13 are in the back of the new Mercedes, which I have paid for in cash as a newly high earning consultant. My lovely wife sits quietly next me, she always sits quietly in a motor car. I feel successful. We are on our way to visit the 'parentage' in Bristol.

    My youngest, Laura, no seat belts then, says in her broken English (as she has lived in Holland since the age of three), 'Daddy I am so exciting (sic) to see Grandma and Grandad'. She whispers this into my ear.'

    You, Sue, are the first to read these words, they are my only gift, to you.

    Nine months later, after an experience I am still trying to come to terms with, I buried her in a grave next to her grandfather, overlooking the Avon river. One day, perhaps, let us all hope for the a breakthrough against the worst of the brain tumour diseases.

    Each night I watch and learn on TV of all the parents who have lost a child. Worse still, I learn of those who have tortured and killed their children.

    We just get on with it, do we not? I do and I know you do. Our children are our all.

    All the best,

    Love, Howard

  2. I know how hard it is.
    I can imagine how me writing like this must make you feel.
    I'll just add you to my prayers, although I know you're not a fan.

  3. Howard, thinking of you too now, I feel so lucky in my life, and guilty.
    All we can do for each other in this world is care and empathise.

    If no-one shares and talks about their experiences we all live in our own little cocoons and have no idea.
    Sue, the people who are caring for you may be very busy, understaffed, but there is clearly something wrong in the communications network, else you would never have been short of painkillers in the first place. You must communicate this inefficiency, this communication problem, some how, some time -to them as well as us. If you can.....