american medical system. ankle sprain English pain mediation vicodin

America’s problem with pain

It is not the first time this thought crosses my mind, but this time I am writing about it. This country has a problem with pain. I guess it lies in both the patients and the medical community, but it’s there, and it’s partly responsible for all those prescription drug addictions. The ease with which one is offered strong pain medications baffles me every single time.
Last Thursday I sprained my ankle while playing with Little L in his soccer class (lesson learned: never play soccer in your Hunter boots). It hurt, but since it was the left foot, and thanks to the fact that my lovely friend M. was visiting I was able to drive myself, plus M. plus the kids to a doctors office.
Of course, the first question I got was “Can you rate your pain?”. I did, but I also told the nurse that if they don’t get a point of comparison, it should tell them nothing. I can give them a number, but that number has no meaning unless they also ask me what is the worst pain I have ever experienced. In my case, that would be twenty hours of Pitocin labor contractions without an epidural. Which is a lot.
Once they were done with the X-Rays, and they had a diagnosis, the doctor came to talk to me. Without me asking for any pain medication, she handed me a prescription for Vicodin. I was horrified, since I am still nursing, and told her so while I refused the prescription. She seemed surprised. I certainly was, at the ease with which a doctor, without me asking for any, gave me such a strong painkiller. Am I in pain? If I move my foot it hurts at hell. But I want to feel that pain, because it will help me avoid further injury to my foot. At the end of the day, pain is part of the defense system that our body has. It alerts about problems. It’s our wake up call.
But doctors in this country don’t seem to agree.
Maybe I should have taken that prescription, after all. If Dr. House liked it that much, why shouldn’t I?

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