The Pain Index

Have you ever gone to see a doctor about some part of your body that is in pain? Did they ever ask you: “On a scale between one and ten, how much pain are you in?” Or, better yet, have they shown you the graphic pain index chart like the one below?


As someone who grew up as a jock, playing hockey, football, tennis, squash, not to mention skiing and cycling, I am no stranger to pain and have been asked that dreaded scale question far too many times. And I can never answer it to the satisfaction of the doctor. I usually start talking about my pain threshold, you know, how much pain you can tolerate before you hobble off to see the doctor. For example, I used to play old timers’ hockey with this guy, and one game he got checked pretty hard at center ice and fell in a heap to the ice. We rushed over to see that his shoulder was dislocated and he was writhing in pain. Now, most people would pull out their cell phones (hey it’s the 21st Century, hockey pants now have cell phone pockets!) and called 911. Not our guy. He promptly told us what to do and three of us popped his shoulder back into place and he finished the game! It appears that most doctors are not interested in these types of stories and the fact that you can withstand a great deal of pain. On one such occasion I must have been feeling feisty, and when the doctor asked me what my pain level was, this is what I said: “Have you ever played hockey outdoors in twenty below zero (Farenheit) weather, your body basically a block of ice, and get hit on the ankle (covered by a thin piece of leather that is your skate) by a frozen, hard, rubber disc coming off an opponent’s stick at about 50 – 60 miles per hour?” The doctor’s response was: “No.” Too which I replied: “Then you don’t know what pain is!”

Los Angeles 2022

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