What is my Pain Number?

I’ve been thinking about this. The doctors ask about pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and I am not really sure how to answer. One nurse was trying to be sweet about it and asked me to compare my pain to childbirth, my hysterectomy, my perforated appendix, and other medical conditions. I have to say, thinking about those, I have weird pain scales.

Childbirth on a scale of 1-10 is hard to compare. Labor with all three was annoying until my water broke. With my first son, my water broke early on. By the time I hit 4 cm, I had stripped naked, stood up on my bed, and screamed that someone give me drugs. That pain, I can totally compare things to! The actual childbirth though, I was so stoned out of my mind I thought I gave birth to kittens for a second. I was so out of it, the nurse had to push for me.

My second son, I had an epidural and an emergency C-section. Every pain was worst than that childbirth. The labor was annoying until I got an epidural. I can’t really compare that to anything.

My third son, I felt like swords were falling out my rectum through my spine. I had back labor. I was ready to kill people, especially the anesthesiologist. After the epidural kicked in, I was set! It was peachy. The doctor delivered my screaming bundle of joy to the tunes of the Eagles. Life was good.

C-section recovery on a scale of 1-10 was pretty awesome. It was difficult at time to get up or down, but I felt fine. I was on cloud nine. All the women on the block were jealous of me because I was going for a walk a few days post childbirth. I felt awesome. How do I compare my pain to that?

The hysterectomy was a blessing. On a pain scale of 1-10, it was “Oh thank you! I needed that!” I recovered with no pain meds. I used a walker, toodled around, started blogging out of boredom, and ate meals from my churches caring committee. It wasn’t really painful. That’s not something I can compare things to.

My appendix perforating and leaking on my insides was painful… extremely painful. But I’ve had worst pain. I was also medicated for a year of that. I got so accustomed to the pain, it became part of my life. But on a scale of 1-10, I always said 5 or 6, with a few rare moments where I wanted to puke from the pain, then I said 9… they medicated me, I slept it off, the pain was a 5 again.

So, how am I supposed to decide what my back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, esophageal pain is on a number scale?

Compared to childbirth… this is unrelenting, horrible pain that I get to live with the rest of my life. At least at the end of childbirth, I get a reward for the hell I went through. With sciatica, arthritis, and all the other pain, I get nothing at the end. I get pain. That’s it. Day in, day out, every minute of every hour of every day until I die. I would rather go through childbirth in that respect because at least childbirth pain ENDS. At some point it stops. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. There is no comparison.

If I had the chance to choose between recovering from a C-section/ Hysterectomy or having this pain. I’d take recovering from those two any day. You could do the surgery with me fully awake and conscious without numbing medicine. I’d jump to do that because at least month down the road, I wouldn’t hurt anymore. I would be healed and enjoying my life.

If you asked me to go through this pain or my three and a half year ordeal with my appendix leaking all over my insides or have this pain… I would totally go through the appendix nightmare one more time. all three and a half years, every excruciating moment being drugged in an emergency room, ignored, sent home… I’d take all of it. Because I would know that eventually, I would find a doctor that would figure out what is wrong and that doctor would fix me. I would be medicated a few more times and then… I would heal. I would go about my life again and feel wonderful.

Now? Ask me about my pain again. What number is it? 10… unbearable. I don’t want this pain for the rest of my life. I don’t want to have to ask someone to drive four blocks away to get a car to drive me the four blocks home because I am in so much pain I can’t possible walk the rest of the four blocks home. I don’t like being in so much pain that I have to ask for help getting dress, or cooking my food, or even standing up from a chair.

Ask me which pain is worst and I’ll tell you “this pain” because it never goes away. There is no hope of me ever living a normal life again. And what do I get for help with the pain? Nothing. Not even pain meds. I get to suffer through it day in, day out, every minute of every hour of every day for the rest of my life until the day I die. I can’t compare that to pain that goes away.

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