Call a pain a pain
No, it’s not discomfort. It hurts, okay?
There you are, your cervix 10cms dilated and trying to ease into the
world a child with a head like a pineapple, when the doctor says: “Are
you feeling any discomfort?”
Nope. Not a bit of discomfort, Doctor. I am feeling excruciating pain,
though. Ask me if I am feeling any agony, and the answer might be
The dictionary defines discomfort as: “an inconvenience, distress or
mild pain.” Am I the only one who thinks that the physical pain of
childbirth is more than just a tad inconvenient?
Even when the child is born, this attempt to downplay pain continues.
Bring your child into the clinic for his jabs, and the clinic sister
will offer the prediction that he may feel “a little discomfort.” This
leaves you ill-prepared for the screech that accompanies the pain and
indignity of having a needle stuck into the pristine, delicate skin of
a baby’s arm.
When did it become politically correct to talk about discomfort when
you mean pain? I am sure that my childhood doctor used to say “This
might be a bit sore.” Discomfort is when your feeding bra is too tight,
or your trick elbow throbs after a vigorous session of washing up.
Discomfort is sitting on a hard chair in the dentist’s waiting room –
root canal is pain, pure and simple.
And while we’re about it, can we do away with a few other terms that
are designed to negate the reality of the situation? How about “light
discharge”, or “slight swelling”?
How do you feel about this? Do you prefer to
have softer words to describe medical horrors, or would you enjoy a
spade being called a spade?