Friday, May 8, 2009

A Pain by Any Other Name

Remember Juliet's famous lines, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Last week, as my doctor was pushing that needle deep into my knee joint, he told me, "You're going to feel some pressure now." Afterward (though not at that very moment) I had to laugh at his reluctance to use the word "pain."

It reminded me of our Lamaze instructor, back in the '70s, who told us there would be "periods of discomfort" during the latter stages of labor.

And then there's my very kind and capable dentist, who is always careful to prepare me, as he's about to inject Novocaine into my gums, with these words: "Okay, you're going to feel a little pinch now."

"Pressure"? "Discomfort"? "Pinch"? Ha! I wonder if old Will will mind if I take some liberties with his beautiful and famous lines:

What's in a word? that which we call a pain
By any other word would feel as sharp;

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