How bad is your pain? Give me a number, please.

[ 0      1      2     3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10 ]

       “none”                                                                                         “very bad”

Is an “ache” pain? Is a “sense of weakness”? The feeling that makes you unwilling to walk around the block”? Or your “uneasiness of walking on an uneven cow pasture”?  If so, what is its number?

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To those who’ve really experienced pain, sometimes “pain-by-the-numbers” is confusing. In our world of glistening hospitals, race-car rides to get there, specialized specialists, and encouraged second opinions, let’s take a quick look at our primitive past and

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Civil War casualties

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For more use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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According to my source at hand¹, the number of Union forces that entered the Civil War (1861-1865) were 2,324,516. Approximately, 360,000 (or 15%) were killed; the Confederate army peaked at 1,000,000 with 260,000 (or 26%) killed.

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Add to that the thousands more who were critically wounded and disabled–and in an age where  hospital service was medical treatment was limited, if available at all. Add to that “a wave of syphilis, fostered by the thousands of young men who had frequented the many brothels that sprouted up in most cities during the war, was spread to many women.” Not the sort of stuff underlined in traditional 4th of July parades.

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The horrors of suffering and pain of people who died for what they believed has been swept under the rug of the bits of history we’re still willing to look at in the 21st century.

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So how do I measure my pain as I approach hip replacement in the context of the “total package” of the history of my great country? I’d  say that  it rates about a 1. Even at that, I feel like I’m whining a bit. Grateful I am for when and where I live.

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And joining, as I discover (at a much, much lower level, please understand), the “special hip” ranks that include Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme who are still out there and active. (And I’m younger than Chuck.)

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¹ Kenneth C. Davis, Don’t Know Much about History (Perennial, 2003),  p. 238. Remember, facts about the Civil War vary from source to source, but I consider the source here adequate for the point made.