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Daily Archives: October 5, 2014

High Pain Tolerance in not a good thing

I just figured out – it is a bad thing to have a high pain tolerance ….

While recuperating from SRS surgery here in Thailand, I had a complication, an extended bladder.  I had 2 severe episodes.  I went way way to long before saying something. The first was 3 nights of excruciating pain – I endured it thinking it will get better.

The second time, I waited till morning to call for help. Stupid!!! I could have called in the middle of the night and a nurse would have come to my hotel room and re-inserted the catheter (as is what happened the second time but in the morning). I’m learning.

So, now, when something is just a bit painful, I tell Lisa and we figure out if it is more serious or not. Ack, never thought that having a high pain tolerance would be an issue!

When I look back, I see that a number of times I’ve over extended myself, but not enough to feel the pain that I should have.  Only to have a very sore ‘whatever it was that I did’ show up three days later.

But this episode with an over extended bladder was the worst pain in my life – yet I endured way longer than I should have.  Mostly because I either thought it would go away or because I didn’t want to wake someone up in the middle of the night.

I’m learning.  Being female brings with it a whole new regime of care and maintenance.  It also brings a new appreciation for listening closely to one’s body and taking heed of what it says.

Being this much in touch with my body is a new experience.  It’s also one that I knew I was missing before transition.  This is actually a very beautiful and wonderful feeling.  It’s not just being in touch with the body, but also with nature and it’s cycles.  It brings so much together.  It is wondrous.

With much aloha,


Hoku Wahine (Hawaiian: literally star woman, eg. woman astronomer)


Another incredible experience: Today is my last day here in Chonburi (unless a certain typhoon that is scheduled to land at Tokyo the same time our plane does – actually does …. grrrr).

So today I had the last visit by the staff. Again, I do not want to mention her name because all of them are so very special, so this post is dedicated to staff of Dr. Suporn’s clinic.

She made a comment about my optimism and enthusiasm – about how that has helped the staff to remember just how much of an impact they make. It is so difficult and hard to work with people from all over the world, all of different cultures and personalities. Some not prepared psychologically – not about transition – but about being in a situation far away from home, having such a radical surgery performed, being in a foreign culture (maybe for their first time) – all these things add up and a person can become quite negative and demanding.

But this staff tries hard, not just surgery related, but as a helping hand, someone to listen to, someone to give advice and help, especially in this culture.

I can commiserate with them: for 13 years I was a director of international training. I was overseas 1 out of every 5 weeks! One heck of a lot of travel. Many time, the overseas offices in the entire region would send their students to where ever I was teaching. For example, if I was teaching in Singapore, the Thailand office, the Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokoyo offices would send their students to Singapore or where ever I was.

As a result, I was the ‘only’ common person they had with the country and culture of that venue. I had to not only teach, but take care of these people – much like the staff here does for us. Same as the staff here, personalities range from demanding to enthusiastic. I have first hand experience of what they do and I commend them highly! It can be so difficult.

Ok, small story: was teaching in London and had a handful of French students in the class. They ‘hated’ English food – so who did they ask for suggestions and help – me. That was scary: an American giving culinary advice to the French – the top of the list experts on food !! They liked it, only one hitch: the English always have a condiments tray that has about 5 different mustards, etc., one of these was called ‘French’ mustard. Oh boy – the comments: “Dis is NOT ze French Muesterd ….” etc.

Can’t help it – another small story:  I was teaching in Seoul, Korea in the winter.  We had people from all over the region including Singapore up there.  For many of the Singaporeans, this was their first taste of very cold weather.  Well on the 2nd day of training, they are all looking to the front of class but I’m looking out at them and the windows beyond, and noticed it started to snow.  I stopped the class and brought the people from Singapore outside to experience the very first snow fall in their lives!  What an experience to watch the joy and happiness in their faces!

One only has to look at the experiences and blogs of others that have had surgery else where, especially in the US with it’s tight Insurance grip resulting in minimization of expenses, to see how wonderful we have it here in Chonburi. Back there, they do not have a clinic staff to hold our hands, sit with us all night after the surgery, pick us up, arrange medicine and care in the middle of the night …. etc.

So once again, I am thrilled that someone noticed kindness and joy and as she said – brings back the feelings of why they choose to be and do what they do – to balance out their hardships with others and to again demonstrate how much of a difference they make in the lives of others.

And for me – what an affirmation of my spirit – that for me, is the best and most important experience I take away. I, in some small way have helped.

In Hawaii we have a saying about pono (do what is right and show respect) and do everything with and always show aloha (love):

“When a person is Pono they have the feeling of contentment that all is good and all is right in their life, a life of full integrity: Ma‘alahi is a Hawaiian word we’ll often use to describe this feeling, for it’s “a pervasive persuasion toward calm, peace, and serenity.”

With much aloha,
Sifan Kahale
Hoku Wahine (Hawaiian: literally “star woman, eg. woman astronomer)