My car has a variety of gauges in it. I have one gauge that tells me how fast I am going, another for the temperature of my oil and still another to let me know how much force I am applying to my gas pedal at all times if I choose to watch it. I have gauges that show me where my fuel level is currently and another that for controlling the temperature zones. There are days that I wonder if I should be watching the gauges more closely because they all must have very important information on them. Information that I might need if I choose to watch them. For the record I don’t, because I am watching the road, although I’ve been known to glance at them now and then.
It’s a shame my body doesn’t have the same type of gauges that can be read by my doctors. Sure they can draw blood to find some information, but when they ask me how I’m doing I usually mumble “fine” or “oh a little rough today”. If I had a gauge they wouldn’t have to ask these questions, they could simply read my pain gauge and would know that “fine” means the pain and stiffness are worse because of the weather. Another gauge would no doubt let them know the levels of medication in my system and they’d be able to see that some pills I forget to take more than others.
But I don’t have gauges like this for my doctors to read and get a quantitative read-out rather than having to sift through what does “fine’ mean for me as a patient versus the doctor’s definition of fine. When I say I having a lot of pain and I’m asked to rate it on a pain-scale, it still leaves my doctor guessing to some degree. If I had a pain-level gauge that has been calibrated the same as the doctor’s, then there would be no j. For now though, there is. There is guess work in what does my “fine” mean, and when I say my pain is at a level “2” they’d know that according to the medical scale it’s more likely to be a 6 but I don’t want to seem to be complaining or seeking drugs etc.
The fact is, it has taken a lot of working together for my medical team and I to understand each other and be open with each other. I’m still working on some of the open stuff because I fear being seen as complaining, faking and so on. Thankfully I have doctors and nurses who will notice the stiffness that I failed to mention and still provide treatment for it. Because I didn’t come with gauges, my medical team has come to learn my body language may not come close to what my verbal language is saying and they are now able to read my body language as well as hear what I am saying to get a full picture. And I can trust them to provide me with the care I need, even if I can’t say it.