On a scale of one to five

Painwise, it’s been a tough week. Let me explain how in this way:

Over the years, I’ve developed a rough scale to indicate how much pain and stiffness I’m dealing with at a given moment. Right now that scale looks something like this:

  1. Barely noticeable.
  2. Definitely noticeable, but not enough to prevent me from doing anything.
  3. Debilitating enough to prevent me from going to work.
  4. Debilitating enough to affect my ability to think; it hurts to breathe.
  5. In addition to the above, now I’m having difficulty walking.

Most of the time I sit at a two, with regular trips to one, three and four. Good days vary between one and two, flares between two and four. But on Monday I called a five, for the first time in years, and certainly the first time since developing this version of the scale. It was bad enough to make a flight of stairs intimidating. Suffice to say I didn’t get out at all this week, though I’m doing better now.

What happened? It might have been the sudden plunge in temperature — I guess a fast drop of 30 degrees will do that to me. I don’t normally expect a sudden and severe flare in the middle of winter, which is normally my best time, especially a bitterly cold winter like the one we’ve had this year. Go figure.