Judging By The Scale

A to Z Letter J

(Today’s blog post is part of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge during which writers all over the world blog each day in April based on a corresponding letter of the alphabet.  These are my personal stories about living with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the most painful diagnosis known to man.)

I no longer weigh myself.  I think my scale is buried underneath two boxes of emergency Count Chocula in my pantry.  (Don’t judge.  They only sell it once a year now.)  All I know is that I’m down to three pairs of pants that fit.  And really?  That’s more information than I need at this point.

I do base my days on a different scale.  One that all chronic pain sufferers find all too familiar – the pain scale.  You probably know what it is.  It’s hanging in many doctor’s offices and on the walls of emergency rooms.  It features a happy face that goes from Mr. Delirious (0) to Mr. Depressed (10).

For me, a good day is around a five on the scale – slightly bothersome but not so much to distract me from activities.  An phenomenal day is a four.  I haven’t had anything lower than that in months.  But I have been at the upper end of the scale quite frequently.  I have at least two days a week when my pain settles at seven and a couple that are an eight or nine.  I’ve never had a pain scale ten day, because I get the sense my pain could actually go higher, so I want to have a way to rate it.

But therein lies the rub with the ol’ pain scale.  It’s completely subjective and because of that, I think the tendency of the medical community is to assume people overestimate their pain.  And honestly, how can someone dispute that philosophy?   I’d like to think that I’m a good little soldier, that I have a higher-than-average pain threshold, but I don’t really know.  What if I’m really a wimp?  What if I have the tolerance of a superhero?  That would be kind of awesome.  I could get a cool catsuit in leather or latex.  No…wait…that would just serve to validate why I only have three pairs of pants that still fit.  I guess I’ll just have to be content with where I am right now – like Mr. Indifferent Face (5) on the pain scale.

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