How I Stay Healthy??????

Considered a father of Western medicine, Hippo...

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Give Us A Break……

There’s a fundamental mistake here: you are assuming I am healthy and I’m not. Along with thousands upon thousands of other patients I have a chronic pain disease and an auto-immune disease (not to mention others: IBS, narrow angled glaucoma, interstitial cystitis, painful and swollen joints, flare ups and….oh, is that too much? Because I could continue and I could also go blind instantly but that’s another post altogether.

First off, I am really not complaining just commenting and venting. “It is what it is” and it could be a lot worse: pain is not life threatening so I am grateful for that. TRULY. However, Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders ARE extremely painful (and no it is NOT in our minds.) That is totally insulting. Also, there is little to relieve the pain, at best, and certainly no cure. Live with it? Not comforting. If this affected more men than women you bet there would be more research and no tiptoeing around about pain medication. The latest information frenzy that has all chronic pain patients up in arms (and my mother who saw a show on TV!) is that doctors and the media now are becoming increasingly hysterical about dispensing pain medication to THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN PAIN.

To me, it’s idiotic. I have a Doctor who writes prescriptions for Vicodin like they are gummy bears, lots of gummy bears, but when I tell him I have taken one and it doesn’t seem to help the pain, he insists it’s the only pain reliever he can dispense. Does that make any sense to you? Because, Vicodin itself is highly addictive and he writes prescriptions for them all the time YET he won’t write a prescription for half the amount for something different, like, I don’t know, Tylenol with Codeine? What am I missing here? A different class of pain killers? I am not swallowing pain killers for a high, I have tried Vicodin (one pill) on two separate occasions when I was in dire pain. It. Did. Not. Work.

I’m beginning to feel like the chronic pain community should an old-fashioned revolution. All the patients talk about it but I don’t think all of us have spoken directly to the doctors about it. I have but it does no good. Do you know why other patients are reluctant to be honest and I don’t blame them? Because we have to deal with the raised eyebrow, and the ‘are you a junkie quizzical smirk.’ I want to find a Doctor that HAS Fibromyalgia and see what they say!!

Do you think if we have addictive personalities we will misuse codeine and not Vicodin? I KNOW I don’t have an addictive personality, believe me I would have had plenty of opportunities to have one but it’s just not something I would do, want to do or will ever do. Shouldn’t doctors be able to differentiate patients from junkies?

Think about the Hippocratic (Hypocritical?) Oath that says: “First, Do No Harm.” You are causing harm refusing to treat illnesses that are incredibly painful. How about a different warning label? USE ONLY WHEN IN DIRE PAIN. That works! I don’t know anyone personally who would abuse it but I am sure there is a percentage of people who would abuse anything. Don’t punish us, for them. I certainly wouldn’t want to take anything every day if I didn’t need it. My doctor had me on two different medications to prevent pain that didn’t work and I ASKED if I could stop them, he hesitated and I then convinced him and stopped. I WANTED to use as little medication as possible. Frustrating.

In terms of exercise I walk slowly to try to get exercise and if I had the extra thousands of dollars I would probably buy a membership for a gym that has an indoor pool so I could swim but that’s money a lot of us don’t have lying around. My special diet? I usually eat healthy meals, chicken,veggies, salad, pasta, red meat a couple of times every month or two. However, my special chronic pain diet, for comfort since there is no pain relief usually involves Cadbury Creme Eggs, Yodels and Egg Salad Sandwiches. Sometimes comfort, even though it is not a pain reliever, might just make you feel a little bit better emotionally since no one is trying to help us physically.

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Paging *All Doctors: Check Your EGO At The Door

Dear Doctors,

Before you enter a patient’s  exam room, where they have probably been waiting at least twenty minutes, stop, pause, and check your ego at the door. This should be standard procedure; but unfortunately it isn’t. There should be a confirmation box needing  a signature for “Check Ego?, next to the automatic Purell dispenser, to assure quality control.  *While the title is catchy I do know I cannot accuse all doctors of doing this but the ones I DO know (and you know who you are) are definitely in need of lessons in humility, humanity and sensitivity training. The bad part about it? Certain doctors just do not care. Full disclosure.

Two days ago I had an experience with my pompous, grandiose, full of himself, doctor who shall remain nameless.   Many of you have heard about this person before. He is an excellent doctor, scratch that, he is an excellent DIAGNOSTICIAN.  He charges exorbitant prices and he does NOT take insurance (insurance, what is that? what is it for?  Me take insurance? Ha Ha! ) but he is very smart, I’ll give him that. Is that really enough? Do we have to pick expertise in lieu of great beside manner, can’t there be a combination? That said, he is so out of touch with the “real world” that it is insulting, aggravating and utterly demeaning. Unfortunately for me the deck is stacked; I need him, he does not need me; and he knows it.

I had been to a local doctor (one who takes  insurance) and the doctor I saw asked me to have Ego- Dr.  fax her some information.  A reasonable request, I thought.  I thought wrong. When I e-mailed him, he flipped out and as an old friend used to say ” had a serious nutty.” I’m talking a crazy outburst in print.  I’m serious, he was FURIOUS. “He should fax her?? ABSOLUTELY NOT.  “If she wants to call him he would try to talk to her but he will not answer specific questions.” The questions she asked, were so innocuous, I have no idea why he made such a fuss. Perhaps he realized that he was dabbling too extensively in my case, acting as Head Dr. of Everything.  He also mentioned that “if I chose to see a doctor in MY INSURANCE PLAN, so be it. His implication was clear, without saying it, he made it known that he felt “You get what you pay for.”

Unfortunately, I need to see this doctor a few times a year for my auto-immune disease/thyroid illness.  I am considering looking for a second opinion and more importantly, some sensitivity. This man is well-known in his field,  however, he is not well-known for his “bedside manner.”  When these magazines come out with their rankings of” BEST DOCTORS” who is filling them out? Other doctors?  Which leads me to think that it might be a little biased.  Maybe they should ask patients and ex-patients their opinion to get a clearer view.  A great idea: ex-patients, that would be ideal “why did you leave the practice of Dr. So and So?. Please explain. Now that is a survey I would read with relish.

Apparently the phrase “First do no harm” was meant merely in a physical way. Some doctors should think about their actions and take responsibility for them. A person is not just a symptom, we are multi-faceted people who deserve YOUR respect as well. A doctor who treated the whole person? That to me, would certainly deserve the title of BEST.