Friday, December 5, 2014

Because I'm #allaboutdatmedicalindustrialcomplex

For once in my life, it would be wonderful if I didn't leave a doctor's office in tears.

Earlier this week, I went to see my new general practitioner about a particularly nasty sore throat.
I was worried it was strep not only because of the unbearably severe throat pain, but because I had both sweats and chills.
(As it turns out, I apparently just get night sweats.)
While I may not be able to decipher social cues as easily as most neurotypicals, after years and years of practice, I can tell when a medical professional is making assumptions about me--that I'm melodramatic, that I'm exaggerating my symptoms, that I'm too young to even be experiencing such symptoms.

Basically, they think I'm a liar and an addict because I request treatments that have been beneficial for me in the past.

When I told this particular doctor that being sick amplifies the pain I feel on a normal day, I asked her what I should do--and asked if I could take more of the Tramadol I'm prescribed (Tramadol is a opiod--a non-narcotic pain reliever that works on the same receptors that a opiate would, but is less addictive and, you guessed it, less effective). She said no, and to take the Naproxen I'm also prescribed (basically just a higher dose of Advil) along with a muscle relaxer at night.

Which I've been doing for three months, and it isn't doing jack shit to relieve the normal pain I experience, let alone the amplified pain from a cold.

So you know how when you have a fever, your bones sometimes feel like glass?

Try living that every single fucking day of your life, and having some asshat who got their MD from a box of Cracker Jacks that there is "nothing that [they] can do" about it (literally, LITERALLY, have been told this on SEVERAL occasions).

Part of the problem is, other than the entire medical industrial complex in general, my Autism.

Really, it's not MY problem--it's usually the doctor's. You see, because I have been dealing with severe pain for every day of my life pretty much ever since I can remember, I don't always look like I'm in pain. So when I tell a medical professional that my pain level is an 8, but my affect is completely flat (as has been noted several times in my medical charts), they don't believe me. They think they understand what pain looks like.

They know nothing.

It is my firm belief that no doctor should be allowed to treat chronic pain conditions unless they've experienced it themselves. I'm not suggesting that only chronic pain suffering doctors be allowed to practice--that would not be practical--but they had success with simulating labor pains (an experiment was done where husbands who doubted the degree of their wives' labor pains were hooked up to electrodes that simulated the pains of labor; needless to say, results were highly amusing), and there isn't any reason why Fibro pains couldn't also be simulated.

There have been so, so many times where I've wanted to ask a doctor who clearly doubts me how well they'd be able to perform their jobs or go about their lives with a pain level of at least 8 a day. (Hint: probably not very well.)

I think about all these zingers I could use on these doctors, but when I'm in that moment, I'm so focused on trying not to completely melt down in a crowded doctor's office that I can do very little but blink away the tears brimming on my eyelids.

I want to know when this will all end.
When it will finally come to the point where I'm not spending money I don't have on shitty people who generally do more harm to me than good.

This particular woman had the nerve to dismissively state, "I'm NOT giving you a narcotic. They don't work for fibromyalgia."

You know what, you ableist shitstain?
What I need is not a narcotic.
What I need is a change in circumstance.
What I need is:

* Time. Time to myself, time to decompress, time to rest and care for my body. In this culture, time is a luxury.
* Money. Money to support myself, to provide myself with nutrient dense foods, to be in control of my environment. In this culture, money is monopolized.
* Healthcare. Specialized care tailored to my unique needs, including but not limited to holistic care, massage, and acupuncture. In this culture, healthcare is a privilege.
* Revolution. Nearly all of our systems are broken: Justice, healthcare, economic, you name it. Most of the time, I am too tired for revolution. I am too sad, too heartbroken, too overwhelmed. Even if I am able to somehow attain all the aforementioned privileges, it will not be sufficient. We need to do better than we are doing now.

These are the things I need in order to be well, and all of them are beyond my grasp. Maybe not forever, but for now.
And until I have these things, I will continue to be in misery daily.
So get off your high fucking horse about the use of narcotics in pain relief*, and allow me to muddle through my existence with some dignity.

Viva la revoluction.

* I do want to make a point to say that I understand the potential dangers of narcotic use, particularly when used for chronic conditions. I believe other alternatives should be tried before they are used, and that their use should be monitored to ensure the health of the patient. I have been run through the gambit of SSRIs and other mood altering drugs, and it absolutely wreaked havoc on my Autistic brain. So many doctors are hesitant to prescribe opiates for fear of legal repercussions (bogus lawsuits involving folk who are prescribed opiates), and the drugs themselves are so heavily policed that you must pick the prescription up in person from the doctor's office (which can be hugely inconvenient for chronic pain sufferers who have mobility issues). But if a prescription for opiates is five dollars a month versus the costs of massage, yoga, or other homeopathic remedies, what choice does a low-income person have?

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