So after after a visit with my new pain doctor that was more like the accidental collision of two random objects hurtling through space than an actual doctor’s appointment, I was sent to get an MRI. This was going to be a problem due to the fact that I am a tiny bit claustrophobic, in the same way that the Pope is a tiny bit interested in religion, and Atlanta is a tiny bit warm during July and August. Plus, I was also a tiny bit pissy because I felt like a circus animal being forced to jump through meaningless hoops in order to earn the “reward” of not having to spend every minute in unspeakable pain.
(Here I must stop and give a shout-out to my MRI technician, James, who doesn’t know me from Adam and will most likely never read this. But he was kind, patient, and very reassuring, and made a stressful experience infinitely better than I thought it could be. Rock on, James.)
Happily I survived, so the next day I went to my second appointment at the pain clinic, convinced that this was all an enormous waste of time and energy-right up until the doctor announced that they’d found something on the MRI. Somethings, actually.
Unfortunately, this news came at the end of a three-week period during which, in addition to all the medical stuff going on, one of my cats (my BABY!) was diagnosed with arthritis, my car (my OTHER baby) died, my husband was in a car accident (he was fine, but it took three weeks for his car to be repaired), he had a skin biopsy come back as cancerous (he’s fine now, thankfully), my chiropractor moved away, and they flew those two Ebola-laden American healthcare workers here to Atlanta, which was a tiny bit anxiety provoking.
So now adding to the whirligig that was my life was learning that I have a herniated disc in both my neck and my lower back. Finding that out was upsetting enough, but as the doctor started talking about what the treatment would involve I got more and more freaked out, and I realized that it had been a mistake to come to this visit alone. Since then I’ve finally admitted that I can’t be both the patient and the patient advocate, and even though I feel guilty every time he has to take time off of work to do it, my husband now accompanies me to all my appointments.
The doctor said that the situation in my back was serious and needed to be addressed right away, so he wanted me to come back in two days to start treatment. I was still reeling from the fact that they’d actually found something wrong with me so most of what he said was a blur, but I picked up enough to know that it was going to involve needles and my spine.
But the blows hadn’t finished falling yet, because as I dazedly asked him how this procedure was going to help my fibromyalgia pain he said, “Well, I don’t believe in fibromyalgia.”
And then my head exploded, because HOW IN THE WORLD WAS I SUPPOSED TO PROCESS THAT?! Why had my FIBROMYALGIA doctor, in order to treat my FIBROMYALGIA pain, send me to a doctor that DOES NOT BELIEVE IN FIBROMYALGIA?
So I said, “Um, what does my fibro doctor think about that?”, and he just kind of shrugged it off. He said, “I’ve seen a lot of people who come in here thinking they have fibromyalgia, but the problem is that they’re depressed, so they feel shitty, they’re obese, and they have a poor diet.”
In a superhuman show of self-control I reigned in all of my natural (and frankly, completely justified) instincts to violence and replied, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
He replied, “Well, if it were me, I would want someone who didn’t believe in fibromyalgia because they would dig deeper to try and find other causes for the pain.”
This was a really annoying response, because unfortunately, he had a good point. So I could no longer enjoy an uncomplicated anger towards either him or my rheumatologist.
I was mad at my fibro doctor for refusing to prescribe pain meds for me anymore, and for sending me for treatment to a doctor who doesn’t believe in my illness. But, his doing so meant that they discovered a previously undiagnosed problem.
And I was mad at the pain doctor for kind of being a jerk, but he had treatments that might possibly take away some of my pain.
So, as the whirligig transformed into a tornado, I went to check out and try to figure out what to do next.
(To be continued.)