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Location: toronto, ontario, Canada

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


you know that question?

the one that goes "on a scale of one to ten..."

well that question pisses me the fuck off. like so much.

no, it really does:
x: on a scale of one to ten, how much does it hurt?
s: have you ever been in shitty chronic pain for more than a year? two?
x: what does that have to do with anything?
s: have you ever crawled up the stairs to the bathroom
x: yes
s: while sober?
x: no
s: you don't understand what six is in my world.

and they don't.

i was bleeding out of my urethra (god that's ridiculously fun to say as long as it NEVER fucking happens again) and it hurt so much i made little mewling noises when i peed.


oh wait you don't get it. i wear bruises with pride, ask anyone.

so yeah, with the mewling noises? i was fucking dying. and they're asking me scale of one to ten.

i can't begin to answer that question without asking what 10 is in their world. and do they mean
acute or long term?
current or ever?
bearable or no?


like elle. elle, i can tell you without ever having met her or spoken to her on the phone, has a pain tolerance that average mortals cannot comprehend. and yes, we still whine about papercuts.

what? human okay?

this rant brought to you by the word relatively in my previous post. the one where i told you about chucking the very nice man. i was thinking about it when i read it again today.

i said that telling someone i'm not into them the right way was relatively unpleasant.

and i got to thinking. what if the worst thing that ever happened to you was that your date stood you up on prom night?
or.. uh
your mom spanked you once cause you stuck your finger in a light socket
you got a D!
whatever you get the gist. for you, telling a nice man that you just aren't there is going to be the worst thing ever.

but... if the worst thing that ever happened to you involved the death of an immediate family member or the long slow leaving of an ailing pet or some really oprah worthy and true tales of your childhood ["my parents were on jerry springer. twice together, my mom twice more and my dad just that one other time"] (sorry, i know what really shitty childhood means {know social workers} and my heart goes out to anyone who had one. if you're IN one? call a helpline. no really... as soon as it's safe.)?

then it would be significantly less shitty to do that. like a lot. just because on a scale of one to shitty your shitty meter is really fucking high.

like elle's pain tolerance high. or mine...

now if you get both of those people to describe that same experience one of them would put it at like nine and the other somewhat lower. but it isn't like either of them had a good time.

relatively unpleastant. man i'm a git.

that said? i could tell stories.

i think weight is turning out to be a scale now and not the kind where you weigh yourself. the richer you are the thinner you are. only the super rich can afford to be that thin and still be alive and pretending to look healthy.

i suspect many of them have terrible skin up close... but that the rest are just that odd tiny hipped body type.

"rank the following images in order of wealth..."

*imagines scale with kirstie alley a couple of years ago, [i know nothing of money in hollywood] britney spears now, jennifer aniston and kristen french* you'd probably get it right if you did it by weight.

[notes that she meant kristen johnston rather than french and that nicole kidman would have been a better choice. further notes that she mixed up french saunders and kristen johnston of third rock's names...]

okay britney then would rank higher than britney now...

"on a scale of one to eight, with eight being least dislike and one being most dislike..."

um what?

seriously what are you trying to ascertain? how much i hate the ass reaming you're trying to find out if you can hand me?

'well sir, twenty seven percent of voters eighteen to twenty five were in favour of..."

in favour of what? just exactly what was the question? and who formulated it?

holy shit i just started arguing the quebec referendum!

[hey if you're not canadian. quebec sort of wants to separate, mostly, well a lot but not really and so they keep not voting to separate by like one percent. and last time there was some kind of supreme court of canada (but who recognizes that in separate quebec?) ruling about a clear majority AND a clear question and then they started arguing about who decides it's a clear question and {oy vey!} so on]

i know that those questions are designed to get the answers they need fast and easy. but what are they losing in translation? what did the voters want in quebec that year? i read the question and i don't fucking know.

do they want to know if i can sleep with the pain or if i'll lie awake all night and cry or do they want to know if i can bear to make it until morning?

if i say six what does that mean to you?


Blogger DZER said...

six is the whole number between five and seven; that's all it means to me ... heh

but I feel you on the pain thing. in fact, there's been a strong movement by some doctors to start weighing degree of pain more into their treatment decisions; the difficulty is what you pointed out — different people have different thresholds of pain.

I've had oral surgery in the morning and driven from there into the office to work. Others have the same kind of surgery and take four days off. Some people can sink into a sizzling jacuzzi and go "ahhhh," while others stick their toe in the same water and yell in agony.

too bad they can't do it like they do with hot peppers — there's a scale of hotness based on some scientific basis. But even then, what's a 10 to some in hotness, for others it's a 3, or a 15. so I guess that doesn't work either.

whatever the case, I think pain should be a factor in treatment and drug allocation for said treatment. Also, I think more people need to learn to tough it out and ride the pain like the bitch that it is -- like you and elle ... and me ... heh.

so, sass ... on a scale of 1-5, with one being peanut butter and 5 being huli-huli chicken, how would you rate this comment? heh.

6/14/2006 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

I absolutely hate that question. I know they've got to figure out a pain level...but I never know what to say. I mean, I've had endometriosis, pid, and 5 c section surgeries. I know pain, and the pain I have with migraines or with my arm can't begin to compare to some of that...but that doesn't mean I'm not in real pain. But if I say it's maybe a 5 (compared to what a 10 has been for me), then even I wonder why I'm there.

6/14/2006 01:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Princess Valium said...

I had the unfortunate experience of knowing my personal 10 on a pain scale-- so everything is measured against that. It helps you know how to portray your pain to your medical professional in a way she'll understand without getting into an argument about relativity and semantics. Google 'pain scale' and figure out what the indicators are for each number and give that to the doc.

Kristen French is wealthy? Not to make light of a tragedy, but isn't she really very dead?

6/14/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I'm with Dz..........ditto on his comment

6/14/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger john said...

While I've personally never had a UI, I have done the "crawling on the floor" thing when I had a bout of appendicitis several years back. I don't know if any of you all have had appendicitis, but I found it to be a wholly unpleasant experience. A friend of mine equated it to having a beaver in your abdomen trying to gnaw its way out from the inside. I found that to be an understatement.

So my threshold of pain scale is relative to that. Of course, I realize that my torture is someone else's tickle, but I can only truly base my perceptions off of what I know. It is kind of like listening to the complaints of a school child. As an adult it is hard to believe that the world weighs too heavily on an 11-year old but in that child's relative collective experiences puberty, pre-algebra and popularity may quite possibly be the greatest stressors he or she has ever faced. Perhaps doctors should first establish a reference point before asking the scale question. What is the greatest pain you have ever felt? How is this pain relative to that? I don't know, it's just a thought.

A lot of people accuse me of being a complete idiot. I remind them that I've had my appendix removed... ;-)

6/14/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

PV: i meant the chick from third rock from the sun... i should have used nicole kidman... richest AND thinnest

6/14/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Natalia said...

Um yup. Word. I teach this to my students wehn we talk about statistis and how you never get any context on anything so there is no way the stats give you any meaningful knowledge. And scales are dumb because as much as we can sympathize with others and imagine they feel just like we do (BTW in theory terms in sociology this is called intersubjectivity) the fact is we all feel differently and your six may very well be my ten. I mean, if you ask a woman who is used to period pains how much getting blood taken out might hurt, it will be different from a guy who has never had anything hurt. Derr.

Very good points, el sassy-o :)


6/14/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

dzer i really love how you look for (and find) the humour in things. i think that's a really awesome trait.

whoever those doctors are that are moving in that direction? fucking brilliant. no one who has given birth is going to describe even the worst uti as a ten... they've done the labour hell.

i've done that same sort of thing. had my wisdom teeth out, went home and passed out, got up the next day and lived life as usual... and never swelled up (i think it was the immediate sleeping in fact) and others turn into giant chipmunks. i just had very faint yellow bruises and no fuss at all.

i love your toe analogy. when i got my pedicure my friend was awestruck at how hot i made the water and meanwhile i still wanted it HOTTER!

the thing with the hotness is that if 20,000 hotness units is your personal ten you still have a relative scale. just because it's a three for someone else doesn't mean you can't compare notes. there's a scale to weigh agaist.

you're right. knowing you hurt is half the trip to fixing it.

i would rate it butter chicken!!! :)

kathi: i hate it too... totally. and that's just it... i say six and then i feel like a wimp and think to myself 'you loser just sleep through it and go in tomorrow' and meanwhile i'm crying on the toilet all night.

FIVE c sections?????????????????????????


and yeah that's just what i mean. my ten and your ten are quite different, in fact i suspect my ten is your eight :)

PV: thanks for the kristen french correction, i've fixed it in the post. i mixed up the two actors from 3rd rock's names is all :)

anyway i'm pretty sure that personal ten involved some red cinnamon hearts and a tragically funny story. you should write it and i'll guest post it.

anyway she actually refused to comprehend what i was saying and sort of implied that six wasn't that bad. even after i explained.

oh that's a good idea with the googling, i'll do that.

that was funny, tragic, but funny as hell. and almost appropriate considering how skinny hollywood is. ohhh i'm going to hell.

6/14/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Umm. I had a UI like that a couple years ago. My kidney ached a bit. I didn't think much about it until I went to the bathroom at work and was peeing blood. I can't say it hurt all that much. There was pressure, there was posibilty of a kidney stone, some burning, but nothing really hurt.

It was the stuff they gave me to cure me that made me feel worse. The antibiotics were the really high potency stuff. I was taking Cipro = the stuff they were giving anthrax victims. I was so naseaous and dizzy and I wanted to die. Thing is for me the cure was worse than the ill, and neither one of them came with any level of pain. From what you're describing I'd have said an 8. 6 to me means it's annoying enough I can mention it, but it's not really keeping me up at night or causing me real discomfort. What did the dr's say about 6?

6/14/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger mightydoll said...

I've had agonizing bladder infections and merely annoying ones.

Childbirth with no drugs is a 10 that most people can't fathom.

I'll tell any male doctor that when unmedicated childbirth is a 10 my pain is a (what I'd honestly rate it plus at least 2, depending on how I judge the doctor's understanding of REAL pain)

That said, different people experience different things differently (go figure) an unmedicated childbirth when you're scared shitless and experiencing a starburst tear? worse than an unmedicated childbirth when you're a little more comfortable with the idea, know what to expect and your body's done it before...

6/14/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

KJ: okay go read my reply to dzer then *grin*

john: uti's suck so much i don't even have words. i've heard that appendicitis is about as much hell as you can experience short of things like heart attacks or unanesthetised limb amputations. so dude... OUCH!

maybe a ferret? a pair of rabid male ferrets?

i think your acute ten is higher than mine but my chronic ten is higher than yours... or something. i like your analogy about school children, it covers it perfectly. when i was ten i had much less understanding of hardship and ease then i do now. but more than a ten year old should.

i like your relativity idea, that covers it perfectly. and you're not a complete idiot at all... but funny yes.

nat: heh. you're wording me a lot lately. fair enough, i do it to you all the time too!

i like that you teach your students to take stats with salt. because people who quote unreferenced statistics drive me nuts. what the hell do you know, did YOU craft the survey?

like a few years ago someone released a study which concluded that if the then head of the FEDERAL conservative party ran for the PROVINCIAL leadership of quebec as the head of the provincial *liberals* that said combination would defeat the sitting government. i always wondered who dreamed up the question (and he did it and he won and is still running the province)

intersubjectivity... nice

yeah that's it in a nutshell.

thanks babe!

6/14/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

amber: i think yours might have been in a different part of the tract. only because mine was pure agony every time i peed and my whole lower belly was spasming.

the drugs sucked... or the uti sucked... i was all wired the whole time i was healing it. though i'm not sure it's all better the cran is keeping it at bay. i know i have to get back to the doc but i'm busy as hell.

the doctor didn't ask. he looked at my blood and results, commisserated a little and handed me some pills. it was the admit person who asked. :)

for me an eight would involve broken bones that are grinding or something... damm my ten is fucking ridiculous.

md: yeah i've had lots of annoying ones but the agonizing ones are the WORST.

i can't fathom it... well i can enough to know i've never really had a ten yet... but that's about it.

that's a good way to put it, i think i might steal that line and use it. it sort of sums it up. on a scale of one to agonizing drug less labour? 6. :)

i'm guessing the first was your first and the second was your second? starburst tear? is that what i think it is?

*begs legs to uncross and unclench soon*

6/14/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Madame X said...

When my OB/gyn asked me the same question when I had mastitis (milk duct infection) for the third time in 2 months I told him that I would kick him in the nuts and then ask him on a scale of one to ten...

That was over ten years ago and he only asked that question once more when I was in labor with my second...he stopped in the middle of the question when I drew my leg back to kick him.
Pain is all relative,isn't it?
Something that causes one to flinch might cause no reaction to another.
I think it makes life more interesting that way.

6/14/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger mightydoll said...

madame x.


sass: a starburst tear is EXACTLY what it sounds like. amd a side effect of a too-precipitous labour. 18 stitches later (two of them in...an area of high sexual functioning, and 6 of them in muscle tissue...so two layers of stitches) I was swollen to the size of a golf ball. It took 6 months before sex wasn't agonizing anymore and a year and a half before I could honestly say there were NO twinges anymore.

That's my 10. :P

6/14/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

madame: oh my god... my previouscats both got that at the same time and it seemed like hell on earth for them. oh dude.

i fucking love that you almost kicked your ob/gyn because damm some of them are so stupid. bet he's smarter and a better doc because of you.

pain is for sure relative... emotional physical and otherwise.

and i concur.

md: i did too but your response is better.

as for the starburst? my entire genital region just crawled into the space below my diaphragm and refuses to consider moving.


and good christ that sounds awful.

6/14/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger SignGurl said...

Ugh...Sass...the UTI sounds horrible. Peeing blood can never be a good thing.

I always feel stupid when they ask you your pain level. Like you said, you don't want to tell them something too low because why are you there then? I think we should take it upon ourselves to come up with a new pain description.

6/14/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

sign: it fucking sucked. and it was the kind that burns most at the end when there's nothing left inside to soothe it.

okay i'm into that, how do you think we should start? john may have nailed it with
"what is the worst pain you ever experienced?"
"if that is a ten, what's this?"

it should just be a chart we can read...
0 - duh you're fine
2 - ouch, coffee too hot in my mouth and i gulped!!
4 - pretty bad but i can suck it up for a bit
6 - can't sleep, mewls with onset
8 - cries constantly
10 - a gun would fix it right?

[my client said that one... 'i consider ten when i would willingly use a gun']

6/14/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

I've always wished that humans could "share" pain. Ask the stupid question of how "much" does it hurt and here is the fuckin answer: BAM. All ya want till you puke, ya moron! Then YOU can write down the answer to your dumbfuckin question. I am with you Sass. That is the all time stupid question.

On the other hand, if we could share pain, there have been occasions where I would have gladly stuck myself out there and donated a shoulder for the pain load.

6/14/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger da buttah said...

ahhh i do have an insanely high pain tolerance. not sure if that's because i'm a pussy when it comes to medications, or because its really one of those "well this blows, but i gotta do what i gotta do" things. that and i hate sitting around.

plus, there's that wonderful old addage that no pain is as great as your own.

anyway, i hate it when people ask me the "scale of one to ten" shit on a serious note and expect a serious answer. nothing 'serious' can be whittled away into a single world, let alone ranked at the same time by that single world.

unless of course you have a rubric of sorts. "one being 'you'd just die without it', and ten being 'you're poor, not making any money, and insane to want it'...on a scale of 1 to 10 where would you put my insane urge to buy the gorgeous $900 pair of shoes i want? " :)

as for quebec, let them seperate and die a smashingly awesome economic death, because the awesome french don't even think of them as french, so they couldn't give two shits about it.

also..i've been kinda mia because of work. and school. and work again. i've hardly spent time with aladdin

6/15/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

Last time I looked the Natives own the bottom half of Quebec and that gets to be a very sticky negotiation process.

Western Canada would gladly help them separate just for the balance of vote count alone. Never mind the riddance of annoyance.

6/15/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Hubris said...

many trains to follow here... losing.. wait... there goes another... *sigh* here's one I get. Relativity. Absofuckinlutely. The range it can have over every aspect is... well, staggering.

My stress vs. Em's
My poverty vs. %80 of the rest of the world.
My discipline vs. a Julliard student
Me vs. anyone else.

so many variables, its amazing we agree on anything.

6/15/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger terry said...

eeuw, the starburst tear makes me want to throw up.

and sass? the pain scale issue? WORD.
over the years, i've filled out hundreds of forms with that question about my RSI, and i HAAAAAAATE it. does it really help anyone determine anything???

6/15/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger scumbag said...

that's silly.

6/15/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger mightydoll said...

I had nightmares about it for months. Woke up in cold sweats.

6/15/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

pyrhonik: you know what? there are people in the world whose pain i would take in a second. except i wouldn't.

my job is to heal your body by teaching you to move correctly ... and if i take too much of your pain then i'm not competent to do it for anyone else.

and since i'm an empath i want to take everyone's pain.

but still, me too, i grok what you're saying.

elle: you have to after your car accident woes. no way for it not to be true.

i hate sitting around too so you have to get how fucked iwas that that was all i was willing to do. people who met me then still think of me as slothful and are constantly surprised.

that's it dude right there. i'm feeling fucked right up and it hurts bad enough that i'm in emerg at three am. so it HURTS. but not as much as the guy having the myocardial infarction on the other room.

that's a 9 on the foolish scale and a 2 on the weird scale :)

i sort of feel like that about quebec except i love it there and i truly believe that my canada includes quebec.

aladdin? new boy?

pyr: yeah there's that too. and who decides how east canada gets to west canada. do we get a right of way?

where do you live dude?

6/15/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

hubris: you know me, 42 tracks on a slow day

emma's stress kicks my stress's ass. by like a hundred miles. maybe two hundred.

i'm blessed, i have a job i love and wonderful friends. who am i to curse the gods for the things i don't get?

some people agree easier than others but we're still all the same.

terry: so glad it isn't just me, that's my new ten and i hope never to experience it. in fact my genitals still aren't out from inside my diaphragm.

i hate that fucking scale, whatever you say will be used against you. no option for you to explain your level of exception.
x: does your back hurt?
s: define back hurt. as differentiated from the chronic low grade ache or the occaisonal hot twinge? or do you just mean anything new?

scumbag: yes, yes it is.

md: i may just do that myself. so much sympathy i don't have words.

6/16/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger debambam said...

Pain...childbirth...there is a reason women give birth. Our pain threshold is way higher than men's.
I've answered that 'scale' question with a 15 before, kidney infections...not good....can understand that one about peeing blood...not nice...and I was only like that 3 days...
p.s moved the blog to http://debambam.orgfree.com for lots of reasons...so change your link love!

6/16/2006 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

Alberta, oil patch, and a hardcore flag bearing, anthem singing, popcorn flying fan of hockey. My heart's already funny waiting for tonight!

6/16/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

deb: we have a different one. when it comes to things like lifting so hard you pop a vein? never met a woman yet who did that.

but i don't know many men who would volunteer for childbirth.

okay hon, as soon as i get back from class.

pyr: i'm not allowed to watch. every team i got even a little interested in went out immediately.

AND in the game that the oilers were up 2-0 carolina scored within seconds of me turning on the tv. in fact mg called me and ordered my tv off.

so i'm 'cheering for carolina'

6/16/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger mightydoll said...


yeah, sorry. I've lifted so hard I've popped a vein (I trust you mean a hernia?) not nearly as painful.

6/16/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

md: actually i mean weightlifters. sometimes they lift so hard their veins actually pop in their forearms.

it's rare mind you.

you've gotten a hernia from lifting? dayummm!

6/16/2006 02:57:00 PM  

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