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A birthday, a Handmaid, a Room, a cemetery… a revelation

By Noigroup HQ Philosophy of pain 06 Oct 2017

It’s always a privilege to receive heartfelt and insightful stories such as this one. Our thanks to the author – you know who you are!


Hi NOI folks – not sure if you’re interested in this one, but today I saw the concept of credible evidence of safety in action.  I’m an almost-50 year old, healthy, active physio in Canada, manual therapist (I know, uggh) and pain-treater for many years.  I woke 3 days ago with a deep, vague lower thoracic pain (at rest, not aggravated by any movement or exertion) and a slight fever, major fatigue, occasional headache, lightheadedness.  I checked my range (fine), slump (fine) and thought, hmm – red flags?  Pneumonia?  Cardiac?  Maybe, let’s just wait it out a bit.  Slept most of that day, some  ibuprofen, ditched the kids with their dad for Father’s Day fun.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Next day, still super fatigued, tiny fever, occasional  cough.  Similar pain on and off, now including anterior  chest.  Hmm.  Pneumonia?  Cardiac?  Rested a bunch but also had a long anticipated meeting to go to and dinner with some dear old friends from Australia.  Felt awful all day, except when I was with those great people… Hmm, weird.

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

Today, went to the doctor.  A lovely and smart doc whose opinion I totally trust listened to my lungs, my heart, asked all the same questions I’d asked myself, and she said hmm… Everything sounded fine.

Left the doctor’s office and realized that this week includes the anniversary of my mother’s death 4 years ago, my 50thbirthday, and a party at our house at which we plan to feed dinner to 60 lovely friends.  I took my doctor’s assessment as credible evidence of safety, and decided to acknowledge and de-stress all the other stuff, and wow, do I feel better.

I now believe (and feel like) I have a moderately bad chest cold – no biggie.  Ditched the creepy novel I was reading (Room – great story, but horrible), won’t watch the remaining episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale for a while (totally amazing, but also creepy and completely horrifying on every level).  Went for a walk to the cemetery in some finally beautiful weather, shed a few tears, thought about how powerful our brains are.


Thanks for listening.


Shared with permission, images and title added.


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a powerful example of all we believe to be true, in action. You have a most beautiful brain……

  2. Charmaine Rhine

    Thanks for sharing.

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