the scale pictured above is common around the world; the faces in particular compose the wong-baker pain scale, the trademark work of two medical professionals in the nearly 1980's. maybe you've seen these little guys around your doctor's office, staring at you.

for as many amazing developments as there have been even in the last fifty years or so, there are certain aspects of medical practice, like this one, that strike me as hilariously primitive. i don't blame doctors, since how else can you assess pain that cannot be observed? the problem with the scale, of course--which becomes even more evident if you've ever had to rate your own pain on one--is that it is up to the patient to give as accurate a rating of their own pain as possible. this can be confusing and difficult, especially when you're in pain. also problematic are the faces; given descriptions like "no humor, serious, flat" or "furrowed brow, pursed lips, breath holding," one might reasonably assume that i am in a state of mild to moderate pain most of the time. but maybe that's just my face, and i defy you, science, to cure my face.

the worst pain i've ever experienced, i think, was trying to walk normally on a sprained ankle. or maybe it was a urinary tract infection. see, i can't remember, because i have no memory for pain, and when i'm in pain, well, you'd be hard-pressed to get me to describe anything accurately.

it's a curious thing. i do so like scales, however.