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  • Writer's pictureGary Gruber

A Ten



I find it curious that we use the same number to define the most beautiful woman imaginable, and also the worst possible pain we have ever felt.


To be clear -- and as objective as one can be in our morally meandering world today, let me clarify what 10 mean on the pain scale. 10 is used to describe the pain that requires you or a loved one to call an ambulance to ferry you to the nearest hospital. I have done this for myself -- once so far.


What most people don’t realize is that the ambulance ride is at least as painful as the reason for the 911 phone call in the first place. An ambulance is abnormally heavy with all the equipment and medical supplies required. Add the weight of one or two attendants in the back to care for you, and a physical force is exerted on the rear shock absorbers of said vehicle that far exceeds what they were designed to carry.


Being horizontal and strapped to a gurney means that in addition to the mortal pain you are experiencing, every square inch of your body is absorbing even the slightest bump in the road. To say it is a harrowing experience is an understatement of biblical proportions.


About seven years ago I was in the bathroom trying to make some room.


As I sat there struggling, a pain shot through my lower abdomen that I can only describe with the ferocity of a gunshot or knife wound. While I have personally never experienced either, I think the description is sufficient to generate enough fear and loathing to understand the predicament you may find yourself in. It only took the ambulance 10 minutes to arrive, assess my physical condition, and begin transport to my favorite hospital (please don’t ask how or why I have a ‘favorite’).


A scant thirty minutes later I’m being wheeled into the operating room with a perforated colon, just on the edge of sepsis.


That, my friends, is a ten – as well as the young lady above.

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