The Pain Scale

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9/7/2012
English 101

On a scale from 1 to 10
"The Pain Scale" by Eula Biss is a very controversial and interesting piece of writing in which Bliss attempts to determine a scale to measure her pain. However, the writer begins to realize that the duty of associating pain with a number and measurement is much harder than it appears due to the fact that she is unsure what it truly means to "measure things". The practice of giving pain a set of numbers was introduced by the hospice movement in the 1970s, with the goal of providing better care for patients who did not respond to curative treatment. A scale can be tremendously helpful to cure the pain, but if there is nothing to compare the numbers to, it is in most cases, useless. In addition, pain is a reference to one certain person, and that person only. That being said, two people will not have the same opinion for a pain scale. For instance, an intense migraine for me may not be the most drastic pain to another person, simply because they have experienced greater pain. The essay came off to be quite analytical, and I found Biss to criticize the idea of the pain scale in areas in which was unnecessary. It seems to me that she has a hard time grasping the concept that it is simply a tool to measure the pain you’re experiencing currently, to any prior uncomfortable feelings of physical pain you’ve dealt with before. She associates the pain scale with a suffering Vietnamese girl, 2 religion, and her father’s input on it, given that he is a physician. There is nothing more to a pain scale than determining a number based on past experiences, since that is all what it’s about. Biss shows a sense of confusion between the pains she’s gone through herself, versus what someone else in the world has experienced, that she would undoubtedly consider real pain. “I struggle to...
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