Monday, April 9, 2007

What's the Word for "Pain in the Ovary?"

Sebastian is hurting today.

It's my golf ball of an ovarian cyst, a five month old stabbing in my pelvis. I chose the name Sebastian because that's been the name of all of our most ill-fated angel fish. I'm hoping there's a death curse associated with it.

My solution to this pain, as for most medical problems, is to lie perfectly still until it passes. I don't have hard data on how many times this strategy has kept me from vomiting, but it's approximately a lot.

The DNB tells me he can spot a drug-seeker fairly easily by using the Pain Scale. When a patient comes in complaining of back pain, for example, he asks them to rate the pain on a scale of one to ten - with ten being the worst pain imaginable. A person who rates their back pain a ten is probably looking for drugs.* You do have to give patients some credit, though, because it's a difficult scale. It's too ambiguous. What they should ask, instead, is for you to describe the worst pain you've ever experienced, put that somewhere in the middle of the scale, then have you rate your current pain in relation to it.

Mindful of all this, although not really inclined to take medication to begin with, I answered careful when Sebastian's doctor brought up the Pain Scale a few weeks ago.

"Well, I don't know what the worst pain imaginable would feel like," I began. "But I have had kiiiiiiiiidney stooooones." I used the doctor's voice from Friends for comedic effect.

"Hmm," responded Sebastian's physician as she continued to review my chart.

"Those would be about an eight," I told her.** She made a note.

"So the pain I'm feeling now," I continued, "is probably a seven and a half."

She looked up quickly, then got out her prescription pad.

I left with a script for a narcotic, but, predictably, I haven't filled it. So instead, I'm lying as motionless as possible on the couch, thinking bad thoughts about Sebastian, and wishing the DNB were home so I could whine to a more responsive and attentive audience.

* [Insert obligatory disclaimer]
** The DNB told me later that kidney stones are commonly acknowledged to be a ten, but since I haven't experienced child birth, I'm keeping my options open.

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