The Dreaded Pain Scale

One of the things about being a chronic pain patient that I find the most frustrating is being asked: ” On a scale of 1 – 10, what would you rate your pain?” You want me to what now? I *live* in chronic pain. You expect me to categorize it in a convenient little number for the electronic medical record system (EMS)?! As if chronic health conditions were that simple! HA!

Another chronic illness blogger who writes I Tripped Over a Stone (check out her blog), suggested that I write a piece about the pain scale and dialogue to use when being asked to rank pain.  She thought my dialogue for working with health professionals about pain was a sound one, so I’m going to share it with you, in the hope that it may help.

(Skip to the end if you only want the script)


But first!

We as patients have to change the way we think and approach medical professionals. There is significant mistrust between patients and healthcare folks, to the point, it’s palpable in many encounters. And can be downright hostile at times. I have found that beating my fists against the proverbial wall with them does no good, and only reinforces their bias and mistrust. They are scared of us, and to cover it up they gaslight and judge. They feel cornered because we are a potential lawsuit waiting to happen. Someone somewhere traumatized these people, either by imparting heavy bias (medical school) or from personal experience. Some of them are cynical and jaded, and others flat out spooked.

Now that we’ve humanized healthcare workers again, we can come from a place of compassion and work on building that bridge of trust. Yes, it’s a burden we’d prefer not to have (We are the sick ones after all!), it takes patience and work. And we will have to deal with folks who are willfully ignorant and judgemental about our health, professionals, friends, family, random people… it’s part of our life as chronically ill folks. But these people are human too, and are suseptible to fears and mistrust.


So about the pain scale! Here’s what I usually say when asked to rank my pain on the very non-chronic pain friendly scale.

“This is a tough one! I live with chronic pain between a 4-7, which is a challenge but I usually manage. However, the pain that brought me in today is an 8, which brings my overall pain level up significantly and I am not able to do normal daily tasks or rest.”

Some of them will insist on a number, give them what you feel is “closest to”, but keep advocating for yourself. Then write the hospital, doctor’s office, electronic medical records companies, for a better way for chronic pain patients to express their pain.

Crochet: Finished Project

This is the finished result of my first crochet project. I didn’t have a specific plan for this, I just kind of threw elements and colors together in a way that appealed to me.

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I’m definitely going to make more things! This one is warm so my next project will be something lighter for warmer weather. If we get any stable warm weather… it’s been cold/snowing/raining, then 77 F, then 40 F, then warm again, cold again. This yo-yo weather is really messing with my health.

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What it started as
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It’s a triangle!
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Bigger triangle with some red
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Finished!
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Up close picture of the border

Crochet

I’ve been watching YouTube videos on how to crochet. I can knit decently, but always wanted to learn to crochet as well. It’s enjoyable to make things and keep my hands busy, and this is something I can do when I do not have much energy. Hobbies are essential, so is learning new skills. I challenge you to learn something new today!

Doing Too Much

I apologize for the lack of posts. I’ve been dealing with these bouts of extreme exhaustion (with other symptoms) for the past few months; my mental health professional thinks it’s hypothyroid (both my parents have it). Unfortunately, recent blood tests put my thyroid function at the low end of normal, so getting someone to look into it further is…going to be a struggle. I haven’t had the mental or physical energy to deal with the uphill battle as of yet.

I’ve been working on my stories when I have the mental capacity to do so (I have collected quite a bit of inspiration) and am also learning to crochet via YouTube because in the past knitting has helped me deal with overwhelming anxiety. I’m dealing with anxiety and stress right now because I’m feeling useless for not bringing in more income or keeping up on the household chores. On top of that, we’re looking at moving which means I’ve been trying to clean, organize, and cull things to prepare for showing the townhouse as well as prep for moving. My eczema has flared up as a result. So rude of it!

I think I may be trying to accomplish too much all at once. Haha. I’m prioritizing moving and doing the other things when I have to rest but do not need a nap.

New Diagnoses

I apologize for the absence of posts, I’ve been busy with work and having to deal with health issues that have cropped up. In addition to that, I’m trying to get the floors redone in the townhouse so that we can sell and buy a home with a yard. Which means moving stuff around to make room to do that, which means my newly diagnosed spinal arthritis isn’t happy with me.

Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Heh. My mother also has osteoarthritis in her spine, though her’s is far worse than mine. I’m starting early though, apparently.

Gif from Giphy.

Consent: Platonic Touch

Captain Awkward is amazing! The advice the Captain provides for people is valuable and essential because we too often are not socialized with healthy personal boundaries. Both as a giver and as a receiver.  My mom is not good with boundaries, she wants to hug, and “mother” everyone and people are often too nice to say something. *I* don’t want to be hugged all the time either, but growing up my consent was ignored, and I had to give/receive hugs whether I wanted them or not.

via #1080: “Telling a classmate to keep their hands to themselves.”