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Pain
Charting a Functional Scale
“How bad does it hurt on a scale of 1 to 10?”
This is a question I have been asked dozens of times by doctors and coaches, relatives, friends and therapists, since age 20, the first time it was asked by a neurologist checking my spine, just as I had herniated the L-4/L-5 disc at work. Now that I am in rapid deterioration, people simply concerned for my broiling brain ask me this question.
This is a question one must ask himself when he is pushing his body to do things, especially as he ages. It is not a question I ask much, because it is one I have so much trouble answering. It is about time I sorted it out.
First, I have been aware since age 30, that I'm missing 1 to 5 on the pain scale. I just don't have this ability to sort insubstantial discomfort. My pain scale is related to function. I don't use pain pills for headaches, for instance, because I do not recall having more than a few, and they have been fixed by hydration or relaxation, seeming to have been muscular. Being in over 700 fights with fists, sticks and dull machetes has had some impact. But my worst pain has been experienced—I think—due to work injuries.
Further, having thought that I knew what 10 was on the pain scale, being the worst pain I could endure without passing out, I was introduced to higher levels of pain in March 2019 and reminded in May 2021. Below I will sketch the scale according to the various contexts in which pain effects me, from 1 to 10 just like the body priests say, according to the following:
-Work-Use
-Punch-Kick
-Stick-Steel
-Internal
I will use specifics to describe the pain level and effect on function.
Work-Use
1-5: discomfort
Muscular-skeletal pain unworthy of medication. This is usually soreness, tenderness, tightness or muscular spasms at a less then debilitating level. I have a hard time perceiving much of this and have to be careful not to ignore this and cause real damage. Once my ankle felt tight and as walked down stairs to get coffee I just tore a ligament—heard it go “pop.” Address with therapy exercise.
6: lumbar spasm that prevents me from standing straight up, addressed with therapy
7: painful spasm that prevents stretching, which muscle relaxers work good on to enable therapy
8: severe spasm that makes therapy agonizing, use warm bath to begin therapy
9: debilitating spasm that makes motion very difficult, use relaxer to sleep and walk
10: spasm that makes stillness and motion equally agonizing and prevents sleep until passage from delerium
The above scale is one that I mastered over 20 years to the point where I could use my will to reduce them down the scale.
Punch-Kick and other impacts to related parts
-5: punch to the forehead
-6: punch to the nose
-7: broken and shattered nose [no difference in pain between Bernard breaking my nose in 2002 and a hard floor shattering it over 5 impacts in 4 hours in 2017.]
-8: cracked rib, torn and crushed cartlidge between ribs from kicks and punches, torn intercoastal muscle between heart and diaphragm from punch
-9: upper cut in 1979 and shin kick to unprotected groin 2004, not debilitating, also having the round splints removed from my nostrils after the nose was rebuilt and healed in 2018
-10: kicked in the diaphragm and launched 14 feet, wind knocked out, hurt as much as 8 but prevented me from moving or breathing, 2006
Interestingly, 9 hurt more than 10 but had less effect. In fact, the shin kick to my nuts from 2004 rates at a 6 right now, feels like someone is running a needle through my left nut.
Stick
Miles per hour of stick stroke can be rated by the kind of track it leaves in the flesh.
-5: power hit to the gloved hand or masked head, or another unprotected part
-6: Aaron breaking my forearm in 2006, John Bosch breaking my forefinger in 2007 and also ripping open my thigh at 100 MPH, Damien breaking my rib with steel in 2006
-7: Chuck breaking by ring finger in 2001, Chris breaking my thumb in 2003, Charles breaking my pinkie in 2007, Rico breaking my forefinger in 2007, Cory breaking my forefinger tendon in 2009, Robert Breaking by Forefinger with steel in 2011, Charles breaking my ring finger in 2015 [all of these finger breaks hurt worse and cause more loss of function while healing then on impact.]
-8: 90 MPH hit to head of penis by Charles in 2006 80% disabled on impact
-9: 100+ MPH stick stroke to shoulder from Rico in 2007, on two different occasions, each causing 100% loss of function, but not hurting nearly as bad as...
-10: 100+ MPH stick stroke from Aaron in 2005 to kidney, which was 80% debilitating for a mere second, and felt like battery acid was pumping through my veins. This froze my position long enough for him to knee me, take me down, and apply a stick choke to my throat, which felt like bring draped in silk after that whack to the kidney. Pissed blood for five days. Then fought him for ten more bouts with similar success.
I would say that punching Jon Comfort on top of the head and crushing my right hand in 1977, rated as a 9 on pain and an 8 on debility. But shaking hands with the nun at church the day after the cast came off and feeling the bones of my atrophied hand grinding to together was a 10 across the board.
Internal Eye Pain
-6: dull aching pain since 2006
-7: increased ache, as eye starts to twitch and spasm and the nerve that goes to the back of my head over the temple warms up like an arc nimbus as an associated sense, though not painful in itself. Sleep alone can offer abate this down to a six
-8: a sharp penetrating ache, like dentist's needle is being used to pierce the nerve behind the eye. This state will wake me from sleep. A seratonin blocker is most effective when used at this point at keeping the episode from progressing.
-9: a flame of pain acidly traces from the temple down into the nerve behind the eye, with disorientation and nausea accompanying this along with numbness to my right face, jaw, nose and sharp but not tormenting pain in the teeth on the right—this state prevents sleep. If I have not used the seratonin blocker by now, it is useless
-10: Usually after 6-12 hours the pain rises over my consciousness threshold and I pass out.
-11: Increased pain and nausea wake me and I puke and hover in a state of pain I cannot escape through passing out for an hour or two, then it abates down to 10 and I pass out again and will usually awakened at a numb version of 8.
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