Substituting Curiosity for Fear.
How painful events are made easier with inquisitiveness.
My week was interrupted by one event. On Wednesday, I slammed my right arm near my elbow into a door frame as I was rushing past it. This wound required eight stitches to repair and also needed me to keep it dry for ten days.
Luckily the city seems to have an Emergency Care facility on every other block. I used to see long lines waiting to get into any of them during the height of the Pandemic, but on Wednesday, there was no line, so I walked right in.
It felt like I needed to prove the worthiness of my injury to get past the reception team, but finally, after they inspected my arm, I got to see the PA (Physician’s Assistant), the ruler of the roost!
She convinced me that stitching the disrupted skin back into place was the way to go, even though my skin was delicate and very thin. I started to feel fear at once.
Along with the fear, I immediately developed curiosity. I never had stitches before, and my viewing angle was perfect. “What would it be like to get stitches?” I wondered. “How exactly is it done?” “Will it hurt?” Other than seeing it done on doctor shows I watch on TV, the view wasn’t as up close as this promised to be.
I wasn’t experiencing any pain from the injury, but the PA knew the stitching needed local anesthesia. So, she deadened the area with Lidocaine and then proceeded to sew me back together.
It was fascinating to watch the sewing and knotting. The thread comes already attached to the end of a one-half-inch curved needle, so there is no need to place the string through an eye. Once the needle passes through both sides of the injured site, the thread follows the newly created path. The PA then, using both hands, skillfully wrapped the end of the string into a loop she had fashioned using a sterile instrument and then tightened the circle. Then she made two additional thread loops and narrowed them to create a triple knot.
My curiosity was satisfied.
When I had knee replacement surgery, my curiosity about the appearance of the operating room dominated my fear. It looked like a computer storeroom with computers and other devices stacked up along the walls to the ceiling. I was surprised.
When I was about to deliver my first child, I wondered, “What does it feel like to have a baby?” Again, it was my curiosity that surpassed my fear. By the time my third baby was born, I had realized that each birth was a unique event, so I changed the question to, “What will it feel like to have this baby,” instead of “a baby.” Those questions never got answered as I was not awake for my deliveries. I missed the answer to that question shared by every expectant mother.
My life had many scary events, but I discovered that the substitution of curiosity for fear was handy. The definition of curiosity is a strong desire to learn or know something.
You may wish to try this substitution, curiosity for fear. If you are afraid of something you are about to face and you can avoid it — great. Even if you are not necessarily a curious person, it’s never too late to develop into one.
Look beyond your apprehension and try to find something about the looming event that grabs your notice. Maybe this experience will increase your worldly knowledge. I noticed the switch from fear to curiosity as a natural quirk of my personality. You may have the same, or you may have to practice it. This skill has the potential to add peacefulness to your life.