What does your pain feel like?  

Those who love me and think they know me, ask gingerly. 

For the medical team it is routine, cursory. Not rhetorical.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being minor discomfort and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, what is your pain level right now?


Is it localized or widespread?




Is it superficial or deep?

Does it increase when you move?

Is it manageable?

What brings you relief?


What does my pain feel like? 

I swallowed pills, slept with strangers, inhaled carbon monoxide. 

No one asked, “what does your pain feel like?”

Not those who loved me and thought they knew me, 

Not the medical teams that dragged me back to existence, 

Not psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors.


Had they asked I would have complied.

What does my pain feel like?

Cataclysmic and mercifully terminal.