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.
After 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.”