"My pain? Try 20 out of 10, man. I stubbed my toe real bad!"
"I twisted my knee last month and it really hurts and I can't walk, so I decided to come in at 0300 because I lost my pain med prescription."
"I was in a minor fender bender 10 years ago that left me with chronic, debilitating, whole-body pain that only responds to Dilaudid."
Needless to say, we get statements like these all the time in the ED. And, sadly, over time they can make you a little skeptical about patients overstating their actual level of pain.
So imagine our surprise last night when a very poised older lady walked up to triage with an obviously dislocated shoulder and calmly asked if a doctor might take a look at it. Apparently she fell in the morning, but managed to finish packing her bags, board an airplane, fly to the Big City, and return to her home before deciding that she might need some fixing up.
When asked how bad her pain was, she replied, "Oh, not awful. I've had worse." She initially refused pain meds for the reduction, and didn't even wince as the intern tugged, pulled, and rotated her arm back into place.
Badass, Ma'am. Badass.