(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.