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Sage's P a i n

    Sage had begun seeing many different doctors so she could get doubles and triples of her prescriptions.  More codeine, more Prozac, more pretty pink OxyContin, and courtesy of the latest doctor, a pill called Sedatell to help her sleep.
    Then Sage discovered, on her own, that taking Sedatell during the day gave all the other medications a little boost.  The only problem was that sometimes her days seemed to get mixed up with her nights, dinosaurs got covered in paint, and she couldn’t be sure if she was living or sleepwalking, if she was daydreaming or having a nightmare.


    One of the few perks of traveling.  A new city.  A new doctor who had never seen her before and would never see her again.  A doctor who would hopefully take out his prescription pad and fulfill her ever-increasing need for narcotics.
    “Why don’t you tell me exactly where it hurts?” he asked.
    “You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you the truth,” Sage answered.   
    “Try me,” he challenged.
    She took a few deep breaths and charged at him with her words.  If she spoke them quickly enough, maybe he wouldn’t hear half of them.  “Well, I guess everything kind of upper lower legs....”
    “How acute is the pain?” Dr. Rothman asked in a well-practiced, sympathetic doctor’s voice that did nothing to hide the look of exasperation that was growing on his face.

There were other patients with more exciting diseases waiting in the waiting room, she presumed.  And he did not seem to be appreciating her attempt at humor.  “I’m always in some kind of pain,” she continued in a more serious manner, trying to match her expression to his.

Then he began examining her, moving her head this way and that. As he moved it he asked, “With ten being the worst, on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?”

     Now here was another question she couldn’t answer.  Yet it was one every single doctor she saw asked, as if it had been written into the Hippocratic Oath or something.  It never did make any sense to her.   What the hell is it that deserves a ten rating?  Getting your ass blown up by a land mine?   Having lye thrown in your face?  Stubbing a toe?  Now that would be easy to rate. Stubbing a toe is definitely a one.

    She shrugged her shoulders.
    He took another approach.  “Walk away from me,” he instructed.  “On your your heels...okay turn around and come back.  How does that make you feel?  Good? Bad? or Indifferent?”
    She didn’t understand what that meant either.  But she took a shot at it:     “Indifferent,” she said.
    “To which?” he asked.
    “To both,” she answered.  “To both.  To everything.  I am indifferent to everything.” 

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