“Pain is weakness leaving the body.” - USMC
Does this hurt?
How would you describe your pain on a scale from one to ten?
That’s a routine hospital question used to assess the need for analgesic medicaments. Since pain is nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong, you don’t want to tamp it down completely... and you don’t want to get too comfortable with pain meds, the most effective of which are notoriously addictive (and constipating). But you crave relief. You would sell your soul for the balm of Gilead that taketh away thine discomfiture.
So you are asked to rate your pain on a scale from one to ten, from minor annoyance to full-on shit-your-liver-out screamfest. It's not an easy exercise.
I think of pain as a point on a two-dimensional surface, a sheet mapped on coordinates of quality and intensity. There are dull, throbbing aches and there are intense ice-pick-like stabs. There’s the sudden zetz of a dentist hitting a sensitive spot, and there’s the intense burn of a hard-working muscle... all different pins on the Map o’ Agony.
Put a simple scalar number to it if you must. Does it make you grumble and grimace? Does it cause you to involuntarily squeeze out a string of fuckbombs? Or is it that shock so sharp that it causes a sudden intake of breath? I give those a 3, 6, and 8. You don’t want a ten. That’s Hurty Hurterson country, and you do not wish to be resident therein.
I call those scary twinges The Bear, and I hate his occasional visits. I fear that Dee will be getting to know The Bear all too well as she recovers from her wrist and hip fractures... and I am hoping that when he does come, he is a meek two or three, not a ferocious nine.