A young woman with abdominal pain is straight forward enough, the patient is pleasant, polite and professional. The house is clean and tidy. But the woman sitting in the bathroom is howling like a gin-trapped animal. She gasps out an explanation between each painful spasm, explains that the pain woke her from sleep and that it is “ten out of ten”.
I shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to.
I don’t often believe people when they tell me that pain is 10/10. Mainly because I would imagine someone experiencing the worst pain of their life to be writhing and screaming on the floor and MOST of the people who tell me their pain is 10/10 are often texting their mates to ensure someone record Britain’s Got Retards, as they’ll be in the hospital for a few hours.
Also, a lot of these people are…radges. Chavs, scavs, jakes. The type of people I come home and rant about.
This is almost certainly class-ist, or person-ist, or something. It is definitely prejudiced.
The fact is, the woman in front of me is clean, pleasant and professional. She answers my questions as best she can while we examine her.
I believe her that her pain is 10/10 and she quantifies it further.
“I broke my leg once, open fracture of the patella. This hurts worse than that.”
That’ll do me.
I pop a line into her hand while my colleague gets syringes and flushes ready for the morphine and I quickly confirm with the patient that I’m not about to knock her off into some terribly anaphylactic death-spiral.
“No, I had morphine when I did my leg.”
“Did it work for you?”
“It put me on another planet.”
“That sounds nice right about now. Wanna go back?”
She nods, tears pouring from her eyes.
Ten minutes later she’s relaxed on the pillow, telling me she feels warm and drowsy and would I mind if she just closed her eyes for a moment?
“Morphine really works for you, then?”
“Uh-huh. This is lovely…wouldn’t it be nice to have this in the house?”
There’s a moments silence.
“With respect my love? I think what you’re aspiring to there is called “being a heroin abuser.”
Just say no, kids.