The Hospital Pain Chart
After spending many consecutive hours in an Emergency Room, I got a fairly good idea of what actual pain is to experience as opposed to the common occurances we experience day-to-day. Sure, it hurts when you stub your toe, but I wouldn’t say you’re in pain. When something hurts, it’s fleeting – when you’re in pain, you need professional medical care. That’s where doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff come to the rescue.
Hospitals break out the good ol’ pain chart; generally, I heard doctors and nurses asking patients to rate their pain on a scale of one to ten – that is, unless it was so obvious they didn’t have to ask. (If you can only scream or are not conscious, it’s clear you’re a ten.) Asking people how bad it was didn’t surprise me, but I was jostled out of my sleep deprived daze when I saw the actual chart. Isn’t it glorious?!? I could look at this thing all day.
However, if one did have to truly evaluate pain on a visual level, there is one face I don’t see on the chart that was as real as… well, pain: there were people who were in such a bad state (yet still living) that they couldn’t close their mouths, nor were they making a sound and they weren’t panting, either. Some folks in that ER… well, they were in real trouble. I guess there is some pain that goes beyond a ten.
OK, it’s getting too real – let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming.