The global overview of my patient the moment I walked in instantly suggested to me he wasn’t dead, dying or even remotely close to seeing a flicker of light at the end of some metaphorical tunnel.
Phew! I thought. Guess I won’t be needing to secure a perimeter for HEMS then.
My patient sat at a table, miserably nursing a tiny graze to his forehead. A pallet of tissue paper had fallen off the back of a lorry and lightly glanced his head on the way down.
“Does it hurt?”
“Yes. It is paining very much”
I took a deep breath . . .
“OK then . . . on a scale of zero to ten, zero being no pain and ten being the worse pain imaginable . . . ” I took another deep breath, “. . . like the equivalent of being burnt alive, slowly. Your skin being shredded from your body with a wire brush. Your eyes torn from their sockets and hot acid poured in their place. Your innards ripped from the insides and crushed with nothing but a soup spoon. Your bones snapped into tiny pieces and your teeth yanked from their roots. Your flesh rubbed up and down a giant cheese grater and salt and ground glass rubbed into the wounds . . .” one last deep breath, “So, with all that being a ten . . . what number would you give the pain now?”
“. . . about a 7”
“7. . . right. I’ve just said that a ‘ten’ would be like having your nails plucked from your fingers and toes with pliers and your private parts squashed with a hammer and you’re giving it a 7?!”
My patient thought about it for a moment.
“OK then, an 8.”
I sighed deeply.
“Right then, I’ll just go and get you some paracetamol then shall I?”
“Oh, please thank you.”