Every time I go to the rheumatologist, or a number of different doctors for that matter, I have to rate certain things on a scale of 1-10. Pain compared to my last visit, current pain, happiness with my ability to complete daily activities, joint stiffness in the morning, and so on.
I. Hate. These. Stupid. Questionnaires.
I reread “The Pain Scale” by Eula Biss once again today (thanks @ally_zins). Being in chronic pain, I am constantly asked by doctors to equate my pain level to a number. How can somebody do that when pain is perceived so subjectively? There are those who insist they’ve broken a bone when there are no signs of injury and people who feel physical pain with heartache. There are women who give birth with no medication whatsoever (HUGE props to my friend Laura who told me her story today…you’re a rockstar).
I am not giving more or less credit to people, or belittling anyone…just saying that people feel pain differently. So when we are given a piece of paper to “rate on a scale of 1-10 your pain level”, it’s hard for me to understand how a doctor can accept that as an accurate measure. I guess they need something that can tell them how WE as patients are currently perceiving the pain. This silly little 1-10 scale frustrates me to no end for some reason, and I’ve been trying to figure out why.
I absolutely love the essay by Eula Biss. It’s all about numbers and rankings and does an amazing job relating other concepts to the pain scale. I’m not a critic by any means, I just like to read…especially when it pertains to something in my life.