Extreme Pain, of the Purest Intensity, Changes Everything

I’m on morphine, which makes it hard to write or achieve anything useful.
Pain
Since my pulmonary embolism a couple of years ago, I have become something of a connoisseur of pain. The agony — a deep ache of the purest intensity — is caused by the pressure of a blood clot on the highly sensitive membrane of the lungs. It’s so exquisite it’s almost a religious experience. Your world is pain; all you want to do is to curl into a foetal ball and allow the earth to swallow you up: anything to make it stop. Mothers who’ve experienced it tell me it’s worse than giving birth.

I never wanted to go through such pain again but this week I nearly did: completely out of the blue and for no reason I could think of. One day I was feeling a bit achy in the upper back; the next it was worse; the day after that, it hurt so much I almost wanted to cry out to my Mummy and beg her to make it go away.

Unfortunately the last coincided with my appearance at the Durham Union in a debate about Brexit. Perhaps in normal circumstances, it might have been quite dispiriting hearing Anna Soubry come on after me and announce to the audience, in that charming, winning way she has, how crap my speech was and how utterly ignorable my opinions were, given all I’d ever achieved in life (apparently) was to have ‘once been a Telegraph journalist’. But on this occasion I couldn’t have cared less — nor even if we had won or lost.

Read the rest in the Spectator.

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