Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.

Pain Management is More Than Drugs

September 20, 2013

sad_faceMy darling niece, Jessica, at three and a half years of age has already learned all she needs to know about pain management.  What she does first is declare what hurts.

She then comes to me to remove the hurt.  I have her close her eyes and I wipe the pain away, which always seems to be on her cheek (although she starts out with her hand!).  Now, I could not kiss the cheek because that is Mama’s job.  But, I have my own magic.

This routine can go on forever because the pain Jessica feels seems to show up any time under any circumstances. I always do the same thing — have her close her eyes and with two fingers on my right hand, I gently touch the hurting cheek, and wipe the pain away.

In medical speak, I am not sure if this would be a placebo, magic, massage, or new medicine.  What I know is that pain or no pain, if I did not respond, Jessica would suffer and her ways of acting out the suffering would be painful to me.

When patients hurt, they only wish someone would come and wipe it away.  And, when they continue to hurt, suffering is next in line.

It is the suffering that hurts the most — the feeling of abandonment because caregivers don’t seem to understand that standing next to a patient, having that patient close his or her eyes, gently touching his or her cheek, and wiping it all away is kind of what is needed in addition to an injection, pill, or an IV.

The C.A.R.E. Channel is the gentle touching and wiping, and relieves suffering in ways that pills can only relieve pain.  It offers a reminder of what is beautiful. It distracts the suffering mind from the hurt and puts it into the world of the gorgeous.

The child in us hurts and wants magic. More than than, we all want human connection that removes the hurt and cares for us in ways often unsaid.

September is Pain Management Awareness Month.  It takes more than medication to remove the suffering.   It takes magic of human caring and loving kindness.