This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.
No, there is no spelling mistake in the title. It is very much ‘dols' and not ‘dolls'. And surely you would very much like to know what a DOLS is.
Isn't it extraordinary that in modern times, while we have instruments or precise methods to accurately measure in quantitative terms, all the ailments that attack a human being such as, Body temperature, Blood pressure, Blood sugar, ESR, RBC count, Hemoglobin, Uric acid, Cholesterol etc, we have no equipment whatever to ascertain the quantum of "pain" each human being undergoes almost on a daily basis?
If a person is laid down in bed with fever, you invariably ask, ‘how much is your temperature?' Prompt comes the reply, 102 degrees or 103.8. [In India, we still have to get used to giving one's temperature in Celsius. Even our doctors have stuck on to the Fahrenheit scale.]
A BP patient will say 210/105. A high cholesterol patient will say 450.
But, ask a person who is suffering from headache, he/she would say ‘severe, terrible, splitting, unbearable' and so on. The pain value here is expressed always in qualitative terms and never quantitative.
Realising this lacunae, some 15 years back I think, the scientists came out with a unit called DOLS for pain. One dols has been defined by them as, " the pain you would experience if you accidentally put your finger on the sharp edge of a blade and some blood oozes out." This isn't all that helpful, is it? At that time, I had thought that the scientists would come out with more detailed information on the subject. But alas. No !
The above definition for DOLS isn't very appealing either, is it? It doesn't sound as colorful as the definitions you find in Physics book for the Earth's gravitational force, Viscosity, Surface tension, Relative density, Ohm, Newton's laws of motion, Frequency etc – these definitions are exact and most of us have mugged them up during school/college days. But in the case of ‘dols', the basic value itself is vague and may vary from person to person. For instance, if a child has a cut on its finger, he will blow the roof off whereas if it happens to a man, he may not experience any pain or he may not show it outwardly at all. And if the candidate is a lady, her reaction would fall between silence and a sharp scream.
The scientists haven't sat on their laurels after telling us what a ‘dols' is. They have gone a little beyond and have given us some useful down-to- earth data for our benefit.
The maximum pain a male could absorb without passing out is 70 dols. The pain due to brain tumor is around 75. That's why such patients usually go into a coma and more often than not, enter into glory.
How much pain does a pregnant mother undergo during childbirth? Hold your breath. It's only 9.5 dols. Phew! You would say. If anything you would have gone through at least double or treble of that while you were pacing the floor on the corridor opposite the labor room.
What about the pain of a ‘broken heart'? Could it be around 30 dols? If you have failed in a job interview the pain could be around 40 dols? The scientists have just given the minimum and maximum values and gone into hiding in the past 15 years. They need to come out either with a gadget called 'dolsometer' so that we can put the darned thing under our tongue or inside the armpit and read the value during any kind of pain or they should produce at least a chart showing, "Pain versus Dols" which should cover all varieties of pains. What do you say?
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Israel Jayakaran [Sweetgrace]