I talked about this issue a couple of years ago, but it was in a locked post. I’m repeating myself in some ways, but this time it’s public.
I try not to whine TOO much. I hate whining.
Pain is a major part of my life, though. My coherence is very much affected by the levels of pain I’m experiencing each day.
Since fibromyalgia and my other diagnoses are invisible disabilities, nobody knows what’s happening unless I tell them. If I could, I’d just put in another optional field for posts, “pain level.” It would, at least, be helpful to my family here at the Castle. Then again, maybe that would just annoy people.
This pain scale, designed to help people with fibromyalgia communicate with their doctors, has been extremely helpful for me.
I’m quoting the whole thing here because the author’s site has been beyond flaky at times.
Very Important: This is the pain level that is experienced AFTER taking the daily medication prescribed by your doctor.
0‑Pain free 1‑Very minor annoyance ‑mild aches to some parts of the body. No pain medication needed. 2‑Minor annoyance- dull aches to some parts of the body. No pain medication needed. 3‑Annoying enough to be distracting. Over-the-counter pain relievers (such as Naproxen Sodium, Acetaminophen, or topical treatments such as Absorbine or Arthritis Pain relieving rubs) take care of it. 4‑Can be ignored if you are really involved in your work, but still distracting. Over-the-Counter pain relievers remove pain for 3–4 hours. 5‑Can’t be ignored for more than 30 minutes. Over-the-counter pain relievers help somewhat (bring pain level from 5 to a 3 or 4) with pain for 3–4 hours. 6‑Can’t be ignored for any length of time, but you can still go to work and participate in social activities. Stronger painkillers (such as Ultram) relieve pain for 3–4 hours. 7‑Makes it difficult to concentrate, interferes with sleep. You can still function with effort. Stronger painkillers (such as Ultram) are only partially effective. (Stronger pain killers bring pain from a 7 to 4–6.) 8‑Physical activity severely limited. You can read and converse with effort. Stronger pain killers (such as Ultram) are not effective. (Narcotic pain killers do bring this pain down to a level 3 or lower.) 9‑Non functional for all practical purposes. Cannot concentrate. Physical activity halted. Panic sets in. (Narcotic Pain killers bring the pain level from 9 to the 4–6 level.) 10-Totally non-functional. Unable to speak. Crying out or moaning uncontrollably—near delirium.
I don’t remember life without pain anymore. There was a time when my life wasn’t constrained by it, but that might as well have been someone else’s life.
My really good days are a 7 on that scale. Most days are an 8. Flares bring me to a 9.
The only time I’ve truly been out of control due to the pain was back on Valentine’s Day when I had to go to the ER. I hate crying, and I just can’t imagine crying out if there’s any way to avoid doing so. That night, however, was hellish. I pray NOT to get there again.
I worry about the narcotics. There’s a really high incidence of alcoholism in my paternal and maternal lines. I don’t want to be an addict. Studies show that people who do have severe chronic pain are far less likely to form true addictions to pain relievers than those who don’t have those kinds of problems, which gives a little comfort.
My choice is really between being non-functional and being able to function with narcotic meds AND a lot of effort (and huge amounts of support from my family).
I’m glad I can get the meds sometimes, but I hate needing them.