“The pain isn’t going to go away. You won’t be pain-free. But what you have to do is realise which level of pain you can deal with, and then only ask for pain relief when it gets worse than that.”
This was a nurse in the ER at Monash hospital, talking to Ryan24. Four days earlier Ryan24, fancying a morning cup of coffee, used the Aeropress incorrectly and ended up with boiling hot coffee and coffee grounds all over him. By the time he’d taken off his jeans and right sock, the damage was done. His left sock had soaked in all of the coffee that landed on it and when he pulled off the sock, he pulled off his skin with it.
Four days later, there we were in the ER after our doctor looked at how it was progressing. It wasn’t. It was infected, even with antibiotics, with red all around the foot and going up his leg in an 8cm streak. He needed to be on an IV antibiotic drip and, as it turns out, he also needs a couple of skin grafts. The burn covers nearly half the top of his foot.
Now why am I telling you all this? Because life happens. And the things that we hold as true in the FI world also hold true in life.
Look at the advice the nurse in the ER told Ryan24. Afterwards, thinking over the day, I realised that what he was saying was pretty much what we advise all people who are starting to get their financial lives in order:
“The pain (of being in debt) isn’t going to go away. You won’t be pain-free ( when you give up buying whatever you want in the moment.) But what you have to do is realise which level of
pain (spending) you can deal with, and then only ask for pain relief (to adjust the amount) when it gets worse than that (beyond a level where you’re happy.)“
Today is Thursday. I’m expecting that Ryan24 will undergo the first operation for a skin graft today. He’s had 2 full days on the antibiotic IV and the infection has calmed down. Fortunately, he’s a uni student and holidays have already started for him. He has until March to recover and get back to work.
Being a burns patient is painful. So is being in debt. Recovering from both is also painful and requires a level of self-discipline and endurance.
I don’t have any great philosophical insight to end this post with. There are no great lessons here that you haven’t heard many times before. It simply struck me how inextricably finances and life are linked – how the lessons we learn in getting our financial lives in order aren’t wasted once we reach FI.
They’re the skills and traits that are available for us to use for the rest of our lives. Self-discipline and endurance. Delayed gratification. All useful things to be able to tap into when needed.
And please people – be careful around hot water!!!