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On a scale of one to ten

Christopher’s favourite webcomic was  Randall Munroe, who writes it, is an ex-NASA physicist, and the website comes with a warning “This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).”  A recent comic strip made me chuckle and reminded me strongly of Chris.

We had a tried-and-tested scale of pain which we used for many years,  mostly to quantify how bad a headache was  (five and upwards was reserved for the special hell that is a migraine). The scale came into its own in the hospice, when Chris was able to communicate to me quite easily if he was in pain, even when he found speaking a struggle due to his brain tumour. I noticed though that when I translated the scale for the benefit of the nurses, they doubled our score to fit their notion of a one-to-ten scale.  So if he told me the pain was a three, they marked that as a six, and immediately gave him some more morphine.

So it’s no wonder that I find that paracetamol barely touches a level-three headache!

{ 1 } Comments

  1. David A | 29 April 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    XKCD is great. One of my favourites is the one about correlation and causality (

    When I used to do more medical stuff I did wonder about the pain scale, for this very reason. Why should unimaginitive (or lucky) people get all the pain relief?