Thursday 11th July 1991   Morning surgery 10:20

“Dr Desmond, I’m in agony. I know you don’t like pain scales but the pain in my left ankle is just the same: it’s 6/10 still. The pain in my left buttock is worse: it’s now 9/10. The pain in my tummy is 12/10.”
“Hang on, Mrs Vaughan, I thought that a score of 0/10 meant that you had no pain at all and a score of 10/10 was the worst pain you could ever imagine.”
“Yes, that’s right, doctor.”
“Well, how can have you scored 12/10? It doesn’t make sense to me.” My Dad looked genuinely puzzled.
“The worst pain that I have ever had was that headache. I don’t know if you remember it. You thought that I had had a brain haemorrhage.” Mrs Vaughan paused.
“No, I don’t remember that. I don’t think I ever thought you had a brain haemorrhage.”
“Yes, you did. It was a few years ago. I had a terrible headache and you definitely thought that I had had a brain haemorrhage.”
“Are you sure? I don’t think I sent you into hospital.”
“No, you didn’t, doctor. Actually, I was very surprised that you didn’t. Vernon wanted to report you. Anyway, let’s not discuss that. It was the most severe pain I had ever had and, in fact, the most severe pain I could ever imagine having. I scored it 10/10.”
“That seems reasonable.” My Dad nodded.
Well, the pain that I’ve got now, in my tummy, is more severe than that headache. That’s why I have scored it 12/10. It makes perfect sense to me.”

Pain scales.
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