The “subjective” pain score . . .

The global overview of my patient the moment I walked in instantly suggested to me he wasn’t dead, dying or even remotely close to seeing a flicker of light at the end of some metaphorical tunnel.

Phew!  I thought.  Guess I won’t be needing to secure a perimeter for HEMS then.

My patient sat at a table, miserably nursing a tiny graze to his forehead.  A pallet of tissue paper had fallen off the back of a lorry and lightly glanced his head on the way down.

. . . miserably nursed a small graze to his headAfter all pleasantries were dealt with it became apparent that my patient was in pain.

“Does it hurt?”
“Yes.  It is paining very much”

I took a deep breath . . .

“OK then . . . on a scale of zero to ten, zero being no pain and ten being the worse pain imaginable . . . ”  I took another deep breath, “. . . like the equivalent of being burnt alive, slowly.  Your skin being shredded from your body with a wire brush.  Your eyes torn from their sockets and hot acid poured in their place.  Your innards ripped from the insides and crushed with nothing but a soup spoon.  Your bones snapped into tiny pieces and your teeth yanked from their roots.  Your flesh rubbed up and down a giant cheese grater and salt and ground glass rubbed into the wounds . . .”  one last deep breath, “So, with all that being a ten . . . what number would you give the pain now?”

“. . . about a 7”

“7. . . right.  I’ve just said that a ‘ten’ would be like having your nails plucked from your fingers and toes with pliers and your private parts squashed with a hammer and you’re giving it a 7?!”

My patient thought about it for a moment.

“OK then, an 8.”

I sighed deeply.

“Right then, I’ll just go and get you some paracetamol then shall I?”

“Oh, please thank you.”