Not all pain is visible. There are many different kinds of intense internal pain. The way that pain was always explained to me is as swelling of some sort, some organ or vessel is engorged enough to be too big for its container. There are other types of pain, (strains, psychological pain, etc.), but it seems to me that this type of pain would be good to measure. If you told a doctor you were in pain and then you gave them a measure of it, they’d be more likely to believe you and treat you. If, you weren’t able to measure it using that pain measuring device you would know that it was a different kind of pain and they would be able to treat you better because of it. win-win
Why can’t we measure pain? We understand a lot about pain these days, how it works in the brain, different mechanisms for its transmission, yet we rely completely on patient assessment for pain reporting. It is important (probably the most important thing) to take that into account, but it should not be our sole source of information.
I took an anatomy class in high school and was amazed by how much my body was doing without my knowledge. “Thanks body,” I found myself repeating, after learning about the workings of my heart and lungs, my toes pulling up, my esophagus pushing down, and everything in between. Like so many other things, we don’t seem to understand or appreciate them until we start to lose our faculties. The fact that our bodies seem so silent and symetrical is a testament to how cleanly our body is functioning, every day.
I talked to a neurobiologist friend today who said that brains sound like a low clicking, and that the ringing in our ears is the sound of hair cells dying and our hearing range diminishing. In quiet moments I’ve been thinking lately about how the pitch of the ringing in your ears creates the harmony that you hear throughout your life. In moments of pain, when all you can hear is your body it seems to cry and scream, like a child demanding attention. Other times it is quieter, but no less busy. The breathing, pumping, generating, destroying, reinforcing, exploring, it’s not silent, nor is it forgettable.
Does aging have a sound? Does the voice in your head grow older as you do? Who else can hear if your bones click and creak? Do men sound different from women?