How much does it hurt?
| Okay, so you’re at the doctor’s office. This thing (you name it, whatever is ailing you) has finally driven you to seek medical help. So there you are, sitting on that paper sheet on the examination table, and the doctor walks in.
“Where does it hurt?”
“Right here,” you say, pointing to your shoulder, your knee, your ankle, whatever.
“And on a scale of one to ten, how much does it hurt?”
Well, that’s a good question, isn’t it? Right now, when you are sitting on the examination table in the doctor’s office, your shoulder/knee/ankle isn’t bothering you at all. And you feel simply foolish. This thing has been aching for weeks, causing you to lose sleep, and worrying you to death that it will keep getting worse. Now it doesn’t hurt much at all. Maybe a one on his scale.
So you say, “Just a two right now, maybe three.” (You can’t confess to anything less than a two, can you?) “But sometimes it’s a …”
What? It’s a what? – four? five? eight?
Well, you don’t really know, do you? What does a five feel like? And how bad does it have to be to reach an eight? You look around the examination room but you don’t see a chart telling you what those numbers mean. One chart has a skeleton with all of the muscles, tendons and ligaments showing in reds and blues. (You look, but you can’t tell if it is a male or a female. Huh, you think.) That doesn’t help, except to let you know that every piece of you beneath your skin level is very complex. And maybe you really hurt in more than one place.
Another chart shows close-ups of the knee and the hip, identifying every single bone and tendon that needs replacement. That can’t be a good omen.
“Uh, maybe a five sometimes.”
Okay, so he sends you to Physical Therapy, and the therapist asks you, “On a scale of one to ten, how much does it hurt?” Here we go again. Just how bad is your pain?
The physical therapist is determined to find out. “Does this hurt?” he asks. “And now?”
After considerable thought, you come up with the following: one to five is anything that is mildly annoying to aching quite a bit. So this is still a subjective call on your part. In other words, how much of a wimp are you? You really don't want to come across as a cry-baby. Part of the problem is that it isn’t constant; it varies – sometimes better, sometimes worse. As for six to ten on that pain scale, you think you have that figured out, after a little help from the manipulations by your physical therapist.
Six – Causes you severe pain, just short of moaning and groaning. You're biting the bullet and holding it in. ‘At a’boy.
Seven – It got to you, and you are now moaning and groaning. “Ouch! Ooh! Ooh! That really hurts.”
Eight – Tears. Yes, real tears, and you can’t stop them. These are not crocodile tears, nope. Real tears, and your nose is running. Plus the moaning and groaning along with the tears. Not a pretty sight. Now you are a cry-baby.
Nine – Now we are talking serious pain. Now we are talking about screaming. Now we are talking about confessing to killing Jimmy Hoffa and burying him in the backyard if that will stop the pain. Now we are saying just shoot me and get it over with.
Ten – It is over. The pain is so bad you passed out – after moaning, groaning, crying, screaming and rolling around on the floor in complete agony. Doesn’t get any worse than this.
Set up the chart on the wall. One to ten. Right there next to that body with all the muscles and the tendons and the missing gender parts.