John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk
johnckirk

Pain levels

When I'm on first aid duty and a casualty says that something hurts, that can be a bit vague, so there are questions we ask in order to select the appropriate treatment. (For instance, should we supply them with analgesic gas immediately, or just tell them to come back later if it still hurts?) One thing we ask is for them to describe the pain, e.g. a sharp focussed pain vs a general ache. Another idea is for them to rate the pain on a scale from 1-10, where 1 is barely noticeable and 10 is "the worst pain you've ever felt in your entire life".

The problem with the latter question is that it's a bit subjective. For instance, one person might say "I've just broken my wrist, but it's not that bad compared to the time I was run over by a train, so I'll rate this as a 4." By contrast, someone else might say "Ow, I've got a paper cut right between my fingers - that really, really hurts! Definitely a 10!" Still, it's a decent starting point.

Of course, if you take this idea far enough, you wind up with Batman:

Batman: "I imagine this is a unique opportunity for you. It must be odd for you to have the chance to catalogue new levels of physical discomfort - as you rarely experience them."
Superman: "What kind of masochist keeps track of the different kinds of pain they've -"
Batman: "Four hundred and ninety-six by my last count."
Superman: "You never cease to amaze me."

(Green Arrow #1, by Kevin Smith)
Tags: comics, pain, sja
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