Monday, October 25, 2010

Finding a Gem in the Trash Dump

I've spent the morning and early afternoon contemplating what it's like to live in chronic pain - both psychic and physical - and have decided that no matter how you look at it, life just sucks sometimes.

It took me twenty years to find a doctor who believes I am truly in physical pain all the time and doles out the appropriate pain killers.  You can believe that finding a caring physician who actually believes you have fibromyalgia and that you really, truly are in pain is not an easy task.  I got extraordinarily lucky when we moved to our home town and I found a doctor, in my insurance network, who spent half an hour with me at my first appointment, listened with sympathy, and wrote me a prescription for something to take the edge off this chronic feeling of oh my God, it HURTS!

And then he left that practice and moved an hour away to open his own, because he didn't like the ten minutes they allotted him for each patient and the complete lack of empathy of the people who worked there.  Not to mention how they couldn't take an appointment to save their lives.  Have you noticed how you can't even get a real person on the phone anymore?  But I digress. 

I know that being a doctor can't be easy.  And it must get tiring when people are continuously coming to you and whining about something that "hurts" just to get the good stuff.  I think that must happen a lot, because twenty years is a long time to find a doctor who actually believes you and is willing to help.

The nicest thing about my doctor is not his prescription pad, although that definitely doesn't hurt.  The reason I was willing to follow him to another state for care, even though it involves an hour of driving that, frankly, leaves me limping, was simply because he listens to me.  He's not a psychiatrist, but he sure could have been one.  Except for the caring part, because of all the psychiatrists I've seen (and that would be several), I've never met one that actually seemed to care about me the way this guy does.  Most of them just wanted to drug me senseless so I would go away and come back next month for my ten minute med check.  What is it about that profession?  But again, I digress.  I can save the inevitable psychiatrist/psychologist rant for another day.

The last time I went in for my three month appointment, I was still fairly upset about losing my job.  When I mentioned it in passing to my doctor, he stopped what he was doing and told me the story of the time he got fired and why and how it took him eighteen months to get over being bitter.  He made me feel better.  There's a reason this guy won an award for best family physician.  Whoever fired him was an idiot.

When the kid in the next room, who had to be at least Joey's age (11) started pitching a royal fit about getting a flu shot and absolutely would not hold still, my doctor calmly said, "Let me see if I can help with this.  I'll be right back."  He went into the room from whence the screaming was coming, quickly dispatched the shot, and came back into my exam room.  I said, "Wow, how old was that kid?"  He looked at me and said, "Old enough not to be doing that."  He picked up a photograph and said, "This is my mother holding my daughter.  If I had pitched a fit like that, I'd still have the bruises."  But brats and the mothers that love them are a whole other blog entry.

The unfortunate fact is I don't feel good most days.  It can be psychological or it can be physical.  On the really fun days, it's both.  There's a certain amount of shame in admitting to a psychological disorder.  I  don't completely understand this, since it's simply your brain being out of whack and isn't that, really, our most important organ?  (Some guys might disagree, but I think so.)  I'm actually kind of thankful that most days, my pain seems to be physical and no longer mental, because at least now I have a doctor who understands, takes the time to listen, and doesn't hesitate to help me out.  He's a rare find and, if he moves further away, I plan on staging a coup and moving our household with him.  Luckily, Justin can work from anywhere.  Convincing the kids might be a little tougher...

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