It Hurts Like Hell


About eight years ago I visited with my doctor about having knee replacement surgery. I wasn’t quite there yet. He asked me this question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, what is your level of pain right now?” I had to explain to him that pain is when the storm window comes crashing down on your fingernails. With respect to my knee, I was bone-on-bone but was still able to walk the dogs each night after work, take an ibuprofen and go to bed. He told me he would see me when you come back. Three years later I had the surgery.

So on a scale of 0 to 10, how does one describe pain? And I’m not talking about a pain in the you know what. Here’s the scoop.

10: UNABLE TO MOVE. I am in bed and can’t move due to my pain. I need someone to take me to the emergency room to get help for my pain.

9: SEVERE. My pain is all that I can think about. I can barely walk or move because of the pain.

8: INTENSE: My pain is so severe that it is hard to think of anything else. Talking and listening are difficult.

7: UNMANAGEABLE: I am in pain all the time. It keeps me from doing most activities.

6. DISTRESSING: I think about my pain all the time. I give up many activities because of my pain.

5. DISTRACTING: I think about my pain most of the time. I cannot do some of the activities I need to do each day because of the pain.

4. MODERATE: I am constantly aware of my pain but I can continue most activities.

3. UNCOMFORTABLE: My pain bothers me but I can ignore it most of the time.

2. MILD: I have a low level of pain. I’m aware of my pain only when I pay attention to it.

1. MINIMAL: My pain is hardly noticeable.

0. NO PAIN: I have no pain.

The question never changes. My wife just had hip replacement surgery and sure enough before doing so she was asked the same question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, what is your level of pain right now?” I think doctors need to come up with a new question.



“ I’m not 40, I’m eighteen with 22 years experience.”
-Author Unknown-

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