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Understanding Pain

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Written by Basil on 06/14/2004 4:38 PM. Filed under:


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This post contains censored sailor-talk.

As a youth, I bicycled a lot. As a result, I have three bicycle accidents to my credit. The first, when I was seven, was mostly a bad case of road rash. The second, when I was eleven or twelve, involved getting some stitches in a gash above my left eye. The final crash involved a blackout, a deep gash inside my mouth, and several days missed from school while I recovered. Collectively, they have all been topped.

Today, I was sprayed with pepper spray (OC spray, or O-Cap as we call it). It rates as the single worst experience of my life. Worse than all three bike incidents together. I think having been rejected in love (particularly by my ex-fiancée, among others) rates up there because of the long-term emotional and psychological effects, but I’m torn as to which I would choose if I had to experience one again. It’s five hours later, and I’ve had a shower: My eyes still burn, and my head aches.

Police are regularly subjected to pepper spray as part of their training. This gives them a sense of what it does — the idea being that they will be more judicious in its use. Since I am being trained to augment the base security force, I am being given the two-week summary of police training.

Here’s a earful of what I heard this afternoon:
SEAMAN JONES: AAAGH! O my God! O God! O God! [kicks at brick wall] Unn, unn, unn!
SEAMAN SMITH: Ernnn! Oh! Ow! Oh, f——! Unnn!
SEAMAN DAVIS: Aaagh! Hey man, it’s gonna be alright, just tough it out! Unnn!
SEAMAN SMITH: SHUT UP, man! Don’t F——ing talk to me! Just SHUT THE F—— UP! Aaagh!
ME: Unnn!
  [SEAMAN JACKSON SNIFFLES IN THE BACKGROUND, AND WHIMPERS:]
SEAMAN JACKSON: It hurts, it hurts. O God! Oh, f——! It hurts!
SEAMAN SMITH: Oh, sh——! Aaagh!
ME: [prying eyes open with fingers] Unnn! Aah! O holy Jesus! Lord, have mercy!

It was exactly like a battle scene or something, except there was no blood, no corpses. There were certainly no sailors with vacant stares in their eyes! I think I understand a little of what it meant physically for our Lord and the early martyrs to suffer some of the torments like scourging, crucifixion, burning at the stake.

Or maybe this is divine retribution for that steak last Monday?

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9 Responses to “Understanding Pain”

  1. Pete Hanley Says:

    You know before I came to seminary I was a police officer in the civilian world as well as the military.
    I remember being sprayed with that stuff a couple of times. Only they made us protect our guns while someone attacjed us and attempted to take our weapons away. I remember it the way you describe it. We actually had a guy who wasn’t really bothered by the stuff if you can believe that. We all thought he might be from an other plannet. God bless you in the rest of your training.

  2. Jim N. Says:

    LOL… I remember my dad telling me about the ‘gas chamber’ during boot camp. We have this big, honking canister of pepper spray. It shoots out to 25 feet with a 3 foot radius. One day, I was showing my neighbors the canister, walked up to the house, about 30 feet away fromt the neighbors and checked the direction of the wind. I let off a burst so they could see how far it shot out and the wind carried it away. A few minutes later, back with the neighbors, the wind changed and carried that stuff over all of us! Coughing, hacking, cursing… even the wife came out of the house coughing and asking what was going on! We all laughed, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that stuff in a direct sense. :)

  3. alana Says:

    Sorry for your pain. I said the same sort of stuff you said (and some of the stuff the other guys said) while I was having babies. The good news is, it will make itty bitty pains, like blisters and shots seem insignificant.

    hang in there, brother.

  4. Chris J. Davis Says:

    I too have been indirectly sprayed with pepper spray.

    I am one of those people it doesn’t bother as much as he normal person, it has something to do with the way my eyes tear.

    I will say that it was some of the most annoying pain I have ever felt, the burning and stinging lasted a good 3 – 4 days, and that just aint right.

  5. basil Says:

    I should be upfront: I am not always so pure with my tongue. It’s just that yesterday I was trying to keep my composure, and I don’t remember swearing. But, the whole day is a blur. Someday, I’ll blog about what it’s like when every other word you hear is f—— and sh——, and everyone around you thinks that b—— is just the best term for a lady.

  6. Simeon Says:

    Didn’t scripture say that Christ suffered as we suffered to be able to be familiar with our pain so that we have a proper advocate? Now you will be able to feel the pain of those poor drunken sailors who get peppered sprayed. I remember the gas chamber from my Army training. I had the gas mask that didn’t seal. Maybe it was me, but I rather fault the equipment, it is easier. Anyway, I felt nausea and felt like all my sinus cavities were emptying out. It did improve the taste of military food though.

    By the way, it isn’t divine retribution, but divine comedy!

  7. Josh Says:

    If trials and tribulation build character, just think how much of it you’ll have buy the time you’re done.

    Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~African Proverb

  8. Mom Says:

    Why do I get the feeling you have gone through more H_____ (Heck) than David has in this here Navy? That aint right either!!
    At least in not qualifying for the M16 or M60 you’re less likely to have to kill someone and knock yourself out of the Orthdox priesthood!
    By the way I read the statement in the Orthodox periodical on the issue on Gay marriage. Excellent! They didn’t sttuter and sputter over it the way the United Methodists seem to. Yet they also stated that they [the Orthodox] would welcome and seek to minister to anyone with that sin seeking ministry as fellow sinners and children of God. I liked that.

  9. Charles Says:

    Here is some info on Pepper spray for you guys.

    One of the biggest misconceptions about defense spray is that the higher the percentage, the hotter and better it works.

    Most of the best, fastest incapacitating sprays in the world are from 2%-10%. The lighter the fluid, the faster is penetrates the membranes.

    A good spray will put
    the attacker down and out allowing you to escape or take control of the situation.

    “Single worst experience of my life”, try making a tattoo for 3 hours, that’s worse and that is still not so much pain.