DOCTORS ARE SERIOUSLY GETTING ON MY TITS

(I’ve wanted to use that English phrase for so long. Score!)

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Each morning I fill three journal pages with “stream of consciousness” writing while savoring my first cup of coffee. I never know where my brain and pen will take me. This particular morning, February 4, I am shocked to find the humorous, “Why worry?” take on my upcoming biopsy hides not fear but anger:

“Up” up @ 4:05AM. Not bad except for bleeding shoulder pain. Why won’t anyone do anything about my pain? It hurts to dress, undress, shower, dry off, apply lotion, brush teeth, pick up coffee mug, fill filtered water pitcher, sleep, get out of bed, put on coat, remove coat, put on scarf, remove scarf, do you see where I’m going with this? I’ve lived with debilitating left shoulder pain for two-plus years, several months at a time. RA meds don’t help, four Advil help a little but I’m not supposed to take it. My first rheumy doctor wouldn’t prescribe me any more prescription strength Motrin after I finished off the first bottle. “I can give you a cortisone shot,” he tells me. First of all, I’ve only a 33% success rate with those shots; secondly, what is causing the pain? If we determine the ROOT cause maybe better treatment can be found.

“It’s probably bursitis.” That’s all I get from a doctor specializing in chronic joint pain. No Xray, nothing except one bottle of prescription Motrin (that I used it all rather quickly should’ve told him how debilitating I found the pain. “Crying out” pain, I call it). Only other times I suffered crying out pain were the 3-4 months before knee surgery and the first couple weeks of post-op pain. And I’ve lived with chronic pain for 15+ years.

Now the pain’s so bad it extends up the left side of my neck into my ear. I find that alarming. He didn’t. I’m a writer. A starving writer, but a writer. There are days when I can’t type for the pain. When I’d try and bang out a paragraph, I’d have to lift my left hand off the keyboard with my right. It’s either ice pick pain or a nausea-inducing heavy ache. Am I supposed to just suck it up and endure this “probably bursitis” the rest of my life? Believe me, I don’t want to take painkillers any more than you want to prescribe them (and I know doctors prescribe them less to women than men; oh yes, women are hypochondriacs and it’s probably PMS or depression (!!) or fatigue–I wish doctors knew the definition of fatigue, btw–the lame old double standard still exists well into the 21st century), but have I mentioned how DEBILITATING this pain is?

“Oh, but more people are addicted to prescription drugs than street drugs.” And whose fault is that? The same people who overprescribe Lipitor when it doesn’t work ’cause they’re pressured by BigPharma. Or Vitamin E supplements. Because in medical school they’re taught to put an expensive pharmaceutical band aid on the problem without determining the ROOT cause. And so because of faulty schooling and overprescribing drugs that don’t work or, oops, kill people, patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain that negatively affects every area of life must go without. Or be accused of being a junkie–twice. Within a month. Brilliant!

It took my pharmacist and I 5-6 days to get a refill for levothyroxine–hardly Percocet–from one of two doctors. It may come as a surprise but MY time is as valuable as yours. And as someone who also lives with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the unnecessary stress and worry as to whether or when I’ll get my medication is unacceptable. I’m paying more to be treated worse. No wonder female friends with RA stopped taking their medications. I’m doing all the right things–not that my first RA doctor, any doctor, has ever discussed diet, exercise or stress management with me, and I’m the bad guy. The junkie. The pain in the ass.

P.S. I can’t recommend journaling enough. I can rant-write the anger away and get on with my day, which was rather nice. Sunny, almost mild, adding fuel to my Spring Fever, self-cared out the wazoo, lip-synched to my music, read with a second coffee and cat blanket, and splurged on cute Valentine’s Day cards for favorite people.

2 thoughts on “DOCTORS ARE SERIOUSLY GETTING ON MY TITS

    1. I’d have to agree with you there, Frederick! Someone will fix this pain. I’ve had so little sleep I keep bumping into furniture. Feel like a buffalo in a china shop! Thanks for the good wishes. I’ll keep you posted.

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