Hello? Dr. Distracted, Some Acknowledgement Please

There’s a topic that I would love to talk about because I think that it happens to more people than we may think.

Physicians that don’t believe their patients and the amount of pain they’re experiencing.

I’ve met with several different examples of physicians. The one that doesn’t really know how to help me, so here’s a giant bottle of pills. The ‘I’m about the retire so I’m completely checked out’ physician that tries to find lame excuses for pain. The ‘I’m an arrogant surgeon that doesn’t really want to help so I’m just going to tell you to rub some dirt on it.’ And finally, the most common type, ‘I don’t want to take any risks so I’m just going to pawn you off.’

Of course the one that just tells me to get over it and move on with my life was both lacking in empathy and listening skills. This was the physician that I explained everything to, laid it all out on the table, how miserable my life had become. Still, not one ounce of empathy. Basically telling me he has nothing to offer so, we’re done here.

There are many stories online talking about the gender bias that can happen. From a social standing, women are typically seen as weaker, more emotional, and prone to becoming irrational. I’m sure it’s true that some male physicians may view their female patients as being huge balls of overreaction. I personally have only seen male physicians up to this point and some, I believe, have more of a gender bias than others. Beyond the gender issue I feel that many physicians simply don’t know how to help someone with chronic pain and they aren’t strong enough to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to help you.” And then pawn you off to the next one.

After having dealt with different types of physicians and not getting any paid relief, it really makes me wonder if there isn’t some sort of gender bias, or even just a lack of empathy. 9 times out of 10, when I see my physician I’m talking to him while he’s staring at his laptop screen and typing away, maybe looking up at me once or twice. This is a common theme that I’ve been experiencing for many years, there’s so human connection and active listening when you’re in the examining room.

Since I had changed health insurance I was able to go to a new clinic with a new physician. I was really hopeful that I would be offered something to help with the daily pain. Instead I was told I have sciatica on the left side and the only option I was offered was physical therapy. What he didn’t understand was that physical therapy coupled with the underlying physical issues I have already, don’t mix that well. Although I’m sure that the physical therapy would maybe help the sciatica, I can hardly stretch or do many leg exercises because of the stiffness, pain, and overall weakness in my legs.

The pain I experience isn’t concentrated in one area, it’s everything from the waist down.

Because of the fact that I haven’t been able to receive the PAO surgery, the pain and breaking down of joints has been traveling down my legs. My knees are starting to become affected, over the last two or three years I experience a much higher amount of discomfort under my kneecaps and walking up and down a flight of stairs has become more difficult in recent months. Also because of the weakness in my legs, I have a tendency to fall or lose my balance much easier than I used to. Two weeks ago I went to get up from the recliner, I took a couple steps and my right knee gave out, sending me tumbling forward and putting out my left foot trying to catch myself. All I ended up doing was rolling and spraining my left ankle.

These are the types of things that I try to explain to the orthopedic physicians that I see but it always feels as though the information goes in one ear and out the other. They aren’t there everyday seeing me struggle to tie my shoes and hope to god I don’t trip on something because my feet are numb and I don’t notice something on the floor.

I recently read a story about a woman that had experienced horrible treatment in an emergency room, the tale feels all too relate able. The Agonizing Wait.

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