On a scale from one to ten … a rant.

19 Apr

“What’s your pain level on a scale from one to ten?”

Ok, I must confess that this question really irks me.

If I’m feeling exceptionally cheeky, I reply,

“Which pain?”


“Right now, or ten minutes from now?”

Honestly, though, it’s so hard to rate your pain when you have several different kinds of pain going on at any given moment, which can change in the small amount of time you have with your doctor. I usually go with four. Four sounds good.

Then there’s the slightly more descriptive, but badly drawn smiley/frowny face chart:

So, what do faces 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 look like, exactly? Those poor guys are in pain, too, ya know. And what if my “6” face looks more like a “4” face? I always want to try to make one of the faces illustrated and have the doctor guess the corresponding number.

I get it, I really do. Doctors need for you to rate your pain so that they can try to understand it and hopefully treat it. Some days, though, it would be easier if they just asked me to describe it instead. I think I could illustrate my pain better than a number or a set of scribbly, one dimensional features.

You know, on a rough day, it would go something like this:

“The pain in my hips feels deeply sore and stiff, making it hard to stand up and sit down, while the pain caused by the knot in my neck and shoulder (which hurts when you poke it or if I take a deep breath or turn my head) is a burning nerve pain, radiating down my arm. The pain in my toe feels like someone is ramming a needle into the bone again and again at random intervals, and my “all-over” pain makes me feel like I’ve had a nasty flu for a couple of weeks, but no longer have the fever or upper respiratory symptoms. The spasm going on in my eye is distracting me from the migraine that’s coming on, but not from the pain in my feet, which is such that if you touch them I can’t be responsible for any reflexive kicking that may happen in your general direction. Also, my skin is so sensitive that my clothing rubbing against me makes me nauseous, while the new pain caused by the blood pressure cuff your nurse just used is throbbing up and down that arm, thanks to the fact that my arms are so skinny that the cuff has to acheive maximum squeeze. Twice. Then there’s the stomach cramps, which happen without warning, so if I bend over to pick up my purse and don’t come back up for a while, you’ll know why. Oh, and I have white coat anxiety, which is causing all-over muscle tension, along with the freezing temperature of the room, which is causing general stiffness and more muscle tension, which is all causing more “all-over” pain. That about sums it up for right now, doc. ”

Most docs are usually too busy for all that, though. So, I guess I’ll have to work with the numbers and faces I’ve got.

What are your doctor visit pet peeves?

Gentle hugs,



5 Responses to “On a scale from one to ten … a rant.”

  1. 0205ameliab April 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    I hate when I walk into the doctors office, sick as a dog, then suddenly feel much better. Everything hurts less and my symptoms are less obvious. It makes me look like a faker. 😛

    • Chelsea April 20, 2012 at 4:04 am #

      Ooohh, yes! Been there! I did a 4 day EEG once, and not one seizure. That’s the only time I was ever upset because I didn’t have a seizure, lol.

  2. Ginger April 20, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    You had me laughing with this one 🙂 I love these stupid little face charts, too. If only it were that cut and dry. Lol

    • Chelsea April 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      I’m so glad I made you laugh, Ginger! I know, I’d love to blow up the little faces, attach them to popsicle sticks, and just hold the “appropriate” one over my face during the who doctor visit. 😉

  3. Drive Thru Guy April 21, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Yeah the chart was pretty good!

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