Dear Doctors of the world,
What part of I am in pain do you not understand? This past year I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even try to pretend that I was alright. I not only cried after every appointment, I also cried during them. Why? Because my pain level was off the chart. Yet while lying and sobbing on the exam table, my doctors act as if this was normal behavior. No sympathy, no surprise, just no reaction what so ever. It is not that I am putting on a show to get a reaction, my pain level was truly at the level of not being able to control my emotions. Have physicians become so desensitized by the amount of people they care for that they have removed emotion from their practice?
My degree of pain is not the only item that gets no response. I have spent the past three years telling (and showing my past medical records) my doctors about all of my food and drug allergies. Now mind you I have a long list of allergies. Many are not common. But then again there is nothing common about me. I have a rare blood type. I am the 1% that will have an adverse or opposite reaction to a medication, food or supplement. Instead of listening and taking these allergies seriously like my old doctor did, these other doctors have laughed in my face, told me that there is no way I could be allergic to said allergy and even worse ordered tests containing the ingredients that I am allergic to. I was irate after one doctor ordered a test that involved me drinking a mystery clear liquid. All it took was one sip for my body to begin reacting. Thankfully the nurse was next to me as I managed to whisper that my throat was swelling up. At that moment my allergy was taken seriously. But at my follow-up exam it was barely acknowledged and swept under the rug.
I have no advice for my fellow pain pals on how to communicate with their doctors. I have tried everything. Nothing has worked. I have removed the term “good day” from my vocabulary when speaking with doctors. Why? Because there is no such thing as a pain-free day for those who live in chronic pain. For us a good day just means less pain. As much as I miss my old physician, I do not miss living in a climate that added to my pain. So like many others I am left searching for a doctor that cares.
What I do have are questions and suggestions for the medical community. They are:
1. Do not list on your website that you treat people with chronic pain if you are not willing to prescribe medications to reduce pain.
2. LISTEN to each patient as an individual. We are not all alike.
3. Do not dismiss your patients medical history. If you tell me that my MRI shows that my appendix is good, and I share that there is something wrong with the test because my appendix had been removed five years ago, do not argue with me. Accept that something is wrong. Example, the test results may not be mine, or someone read them wrong. Do not treat me as if I am the one who is wrong.
4. Do you or have you had so many patients that are not in pain but are faking to get meds that you have lost all compassion for those who are truly in pain?
5. Why do you push the same drug or similar drugs to a patient that has repeatedly told you that this particular medication increased her pain and symptoms?
This is just a sampling of questions and suggestions I have for the medical community. But none of my other questions matter if no one is going to listen. So I beg every doctor in the United States and around the world to please stop treating your chronic pain patients as drug addicts and to start LISTENING to us. We do not want drugs, we want relief. In this age of knowledge and technology it is devastating that so many people must live in and have their lives turned upside down because of pain.
Are you listening?