Friday, April 2, 2010

Proverbial Pain: I got your "evidence" right here...

I am having the proverbial hard time. I know, same old, same old! When pain becomes proverbial, that's bad. One feels extra superfluous when one's pain is superfluous. I tweeted last night -- yes, I tweet -- that suicide is my first thought now when I wake in the morning, and that sleep is my greatest waking desire.

Escapism, you know!

I am not threatening suicide, never fear. I am responsible for several lives and take that responsibility seriously. My own life may feel devalued (that word superfluous keeps popping into my linguistic centers) but I honor the integrity of those around me, and recognize the possibility that my wisdom is... impaired. And that, my friends, is to really say the LEAST.

My life: the split infinitive!

Are you familiar with the Aussie/Brit expression "pain in the proverbial"? Here's a great example from Australia Network's English Bites -- the discussion is about Ipswich toilets and the relative unavailability of women's toilets. [What can I say? It was the first result that popped up.]:

In Queensland, one local government has decided that there are not enough toilets for women. And it's going to do something to improve the situation.

WOMAN: ...[W]hen you're in a hurry, you got things to do and you've got to stand there for ten minutes and wait -- It's awful yeah.

WOMAN: If there's an urgent need you really are ah, in trouble.

PETRIA WALLACE: It's a universal pain in the proverbial. Women queuing for public toilets while men are out in a flash.

PAUL TULLY: Well look it's a bit small. You've got a couple of female toilets. The third one which is just for staff only. It's not very adequate compared with the male toilets next door with the couple of urinals and the regular toilet and there's times like when the movies finish when it's just jam packed.

PETRIA WALLACE: Councillor Paul Tully has made it his mission in life to rescue the women of Ipswich from time-wasting toilet queues.

For some reason, in the U.S.? People feel compelled to not leave their interlocuteurs hanging, worrying needlessly about just *what*, exactly, is the adjectival object. U. S. Americans will tell you, clearly, that the proverbial pain is in the ass, or some other quite definitive place.

An Indian living in Singapore wrote an entire blog post detailing the source of his dolorous dolour, his Pain in the Proverbial -- which he has renamed:

...the GART (or Gluteal Assault and Resultant Trauma) syndrome. It is better known as the pain in the proverbial, and no, I am not referring to anyone's spouse or children here. Many learned men of science have attributed reasons ranging from muscle problems, piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint restrictions and even sciatica to it. But as far as I am concerned, it is all thanks to the weight of my wallet.

Note the vocabulary, note the lack of the word ass.

Wait! I almost forgot why I logged in to Blogger. There has been another illustrious, earth-shattering, and completely unexpected contribution to the research into one of the major sources of my pain in the proverbial: CRPS.

I hope those of you who have CRPS/RSD will heed my advice and take a seat on your proverbial before I unveil the exciting news.

Okay... Are you ready?

I don't want to prolong your agony, so I am going to go straight to the masterful and shocking conclusion put forward by these researchers at Ziekenhuis Rivierenland, Tiel, in The Netherlands. You probably recognize a few of these names, especially Dr. Paul Zollinger, a Professor of Orthopedics who has published extensively on CRPS.

Indeed, it is from these folks, especially the CRPS I Task Force, that I expect important breakthroughs -- as they pursue the basic research so long ignored, especially in the area of inflammatory response.

Drum roll, please. Oh, the title of the article? It's very catchy: Evidence based guidelines for complex regional pain syndrome type 1.

Woo hoo! Can you handle more?

"The purpose of this study was to develop multidisciplinary guidelines for treatment of "

ohmygod! I'm getting the vapors from all this excitement.

Oh, I am the cruel one, aren't I, making you wait for the scintillating conclusion?
Well, I don't want to be known as any sort of impediment to progress, any kind of pain in the proverbial, so here it is:

"Based on the literature identified and the extent of evidence found for therapeutic interventions for CRPS-I, we conclude that further research is needed into each of the therapeutic modalities discussed in the guidelines. "


  1. "A Pain in the Proverbial". I like it. You know what it means, but you don't have to say it. Like "bass ackwards". I think I'll use this expression on the Streets of Valdese the next time I get a chance.

  2. Please be careful! Valdese is, I'm reliably told, a linguistic cauldron.


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