A Pained Life: Lost in Translation
By Carol Levy, Columnist
Whenever I go to a doctor with a pain related complaint, I am asked the question we all know: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is it?”
I always preface my answer: “Only trigeminal neuralgia is a 10.”
Nevertheless, they persist: “Give me a number. Well, okay, if I have to, I guess a 6.”
What does that mean? To me, it means the pain is pretty bad. Compared to trigeminal neuralgia, nothing can ever reach a 10 (I pray). As such, a 6 is pretty bad.
But to them, a 6 is not all that bad. I get the equivalent of a pat on the head and “take some aspirin or Advil.” Luckily, I am pretty healthy and usually that works. The few times it hasn’t, it took a number of appointments, in one case a number of years, before I got a diagnosis and referral to someone who could help me.