One of the first things they ask you in the ER is to rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10. I’ve been asked this question hundreds of times and I remember once, when I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like my chest was on fire, the nurse asked me to rate the pain. Though I couldn’t speak, I held up 9 fingers. Later, when I started feeling better, the nurse came in and she called me a fighter. “You know how I know?” she said, “You called a 10 a 9.” But that wasn’t the truth.
I didn’t call it a 9 because I was brave. The reason I called it a 9 was because I was saving my 10…and this was it.