Thursday, August 12, 2010

...on being disabled

Bad news from the doctor yesterday. I hate rehashing my medical history every time I sit down with him. I've been seeing him for 8 years now. I know he has a LOT of patients, but I wish he would just read my file and refresh his memory before he sits down with me.

"Have you had any major surgeries?" Yes! Remember? I had half my reproductive system ripped out in my early-thirties followed by a couple surgeries to try and repair the mess that remained. The surgeon was more concerned with saving my life and not about cleaning out all the lesions and scar tissue from endometriosis. So the pain and diseased tissue still remains.

"Any accidents or trauma?" Yes! I was rear-ended by a drunk driver in my early twenties that gave me a life-time of back problems that have worsened over time. Add in the inward curvature of my spine and weight in front pulling my spine even further out of alignment plus the catastrophic slip and fall accident I had on Valentine's Day 2 years ago and you have my current circumstances. I can't stand for longer than 1 minute without extreme pain and I can't walk further than 10 feet without needing to sit down. You approve of my need for a handicapped parking placard? Swell. Thanks for that.

You want me to see a cardiologist? Why? My heart and lungs sound fine. My blood pressure is a little elevated? Well DUH! You just got me crying and hyperventilating over my health-history rehash. Not to mention the long-ass walk from the parking lot, to the elevators, and to your office which is the furthest away from the waiting room through a maze of hallways.

So I come away with scripts for blood pressure meds, something to help with swelling in my feet and lower legs, potassium to replace what the other meds strip away...and no mention of help for my pain levels or physical therapy. Again. Why do I go through this every year or two?

This time you want me to come back in 4 weeks to go over blood work results, what ever the cardiologist has to say and to see if the meds are "helping". *sigh* I'll try again to get help for my REAL problem. Maybe the direct approach, since my tears, cries of pain whenever you press on the bad areas of my back and other hints that I need help with pain management are being ignored.

I am NOT some drug-seeking loser addict. I've only been on something stronger than over-the-counter Tylenol 3 times in my life. After my abdominal surgery, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, and the 5 pills your associate was kind enough to give me for my pain after my fall.

I think when a person's quality of life is in the crapper because of chronic pain, something needs to be done. I do appreciate the recommendation of a bariatric surgeon. Best in the area, you say? Awesome. Too bad he doesn't take my insurance any more. The alternative? Your referral person said "I think this guy still does that kind of surgery sometimes...I'll check and get back to you."  Oh. How warm and fuzzy I feel. Do you honestly think I'm going to trust my digestive tract to some hack?

I guess I'll go and get all those x-rays you ordered now, Doc. Funny thing...didn't I just have a conversation with my mother about her bulging disks and how they didn't show up on x-ray? Only an MRI showed the damage. Peachy. I am probably going to get irradiated yet again for no good reason. Throw in a mammogram just for fun? Ok, sure. Why not. I have to stand up for that, right? For a long time, if I recall.

I wish I knew how to just demand what I need. I keep trusting that my doctor knows best. That he will help me once he knows all the facts. So why am I sitting here dreading my trip to the DMV to get that placard that I desperately need? I'll have to STAND in a line. I don't know if there is anywhere to sit or if I'll be able to stay in that line before the need to sit down forces me to give up my place.

Every day is a new challenge - and my family wonders why I never want to leave the house. I don't want to worry my kids, so I hide the pain. They know there are a lot of days when "mommy isn't feeling good" and it makes me sad. I think about the life I want to have and how, if this pain would go away, maybe I could get some exercise and lose weight with out needing surgery to do it. So simple. Why am I the only one who sees it?