The Pain Scale (or how sleepless nights at the hospital inspired me to write tonight)


“On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most painful), describe the intensity of your pain.”

Ok, those were not verbatim but the idea of The Pain Scale was so absurd as soon as those words came out of the doctor’s mouth.

Doubled up in pain (and disbelief) on a hospital bed, my father was breathing shallowly and he had to f*cking think of a number.

Thankfully, the doctor realized she wouldn’t get her “pain rating” asap so she eventually gave my father a sublingual pill to stop the chest pain and heaviness. Papa felt fine again in just a matter of seconds. Yey!

When the pill has done its wonders, Papa asked me, “What’s 8? When I’m in the process of dying? 9 when I’m just about to die? What’s 10? When I’m already dead? How will I know it’s a 10 when I’m already dead?” Couldn’t help but smile. So typical of my father.

Funny but true. Made me think though. Away from the gloomy atmosphere of the hospital, I began thinking about my own pain scale. And here’s what I came up with.

1- hang nail

2- paper cut

3- back pain and stiff neck

4- mouth sores and toothache


6-menstrual cramps or any pain in the gut/stomach area

7- heartbreak (unrequited love)

8- heartbreak (separation, infidelity, serious misunderstanding)

9- pain (physical or emotional and for whatever reason) that involves any family member or anyone close to my heart

10 – pain that I’ve NEVER ever felt before in my lifetime that if this pain won’t go away sooner, I’d surely die

We all have our own definition of pain. What’s painful for me may be insignificant, even comical for you, and vice versa. What (or who) is your personal pain? It’s time to think about that scale and more importantly, find ways to ease or cure (not mask) the pain.

(Image courtesy of


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