Thursday, September 18, 2008
and no one sees it--are you really hurt?
I’ve been trying to analyze—make some sort of sense as to why my medical team has been perfectly happy to have me suffer in ways they would be appalled to see their own family members, friends or loved ones suffer. After all, if we thought a physician was letting their mother, sister, aunt, daughter suffer the way I have, then we would think them some sort of monster. We’d report them to the authorities. We’d make an outcry in some public forum. Wouldn’t we? We certainly wouldn’t trust our own healthcare or our loved one’s to them. Would we?
Much of this has to do with the Byzantine attitudes surrounding pain management here at ground zero for the hillbilly Heroin epidemic. I had to do a great deal of research into this for P & D. Scott was a wonderful resource, being in recovery for many years, but still knowing the ins and outs of how this underworld works. I remember him relating to me how addicts obtained scripts. They are very good at it, evidently—unlike me and probably unlike most valid pain patients. Scott said a friend went with him and they walked out with a script for 120 Vicodin. He told me who all of the local doctors were who had the reputation of being good “drug” doctors. I actually avoided going to one of them for a while because I didn’t want to be associated with a “drug” doctor.
But having someone with you seems to be the key. Having an advocate. They don’t really care about the patient’s pain—but they do care about noisy pissed-off relatives being kept awake by the patient’s moaning and screaming. And, of course, the addicts know this. But a person like me, who has to advocate for myself, often sounding crazy because I’m in so much pain, just ends up being ignored or labeled as “drug seeking”. The doctors seem quite sadistic and often very gleeful about finding a loner they can bully.
“Why should I help you when your own doctors won’t even help you?” the little ER doctor asked me.
What can I say to this? It’s not my fault little-miss-country-mouse-G.P.-never-set-foot-out–of-Tennessee grossly misrepresented everything I said, repeatedly lost my records, accused me of not giving her records and assassinated my character as a patient. That I was labeled as “drug seeking” because I indeed asked for help, rather than waiting for the doctor to get a clue? (Because they never, ever get a clue.)
So, they keep freely handing out drugs to addicts to keep the underground cash cow economy ticking right along. Patting themselves on the back each time they deny a valid pain patient they have labeled for their convenience. Makes them feel like they are doing something and can point out to the DEA that they do deny some people. All the better if it is an “outsider” without noisy intrusive family members.
Something very similar happened to me in Columbia, S.C. There, they decided to pretend nothing wrong with me. Same sort of deal—me advocating for myself. I ended up in a coma and had a six month hospitalization. I remember, shortly after my family (oh, yes—I do have one—and quite ferocious they are at times!) came to town to arrange for my transport, the craven rheumatologist sent his partner in to try to convince me it wasn’t their fault. I remember lying there with a 105 degree fever listening to his oiliness and thinking—what manner of slime mold is this?
I can’t drive through Columbia without having a panic attack.
I’m afraid I’m getting the same sort of feeling about Tennessee doctors. I have a general all-encompassing opinion that they are either cowards or sadists. They absolutely do not care about my wellbeing—and I now have a useless left leg to prove it.
So, obviously, in Tennessee, if a tree falls on you in the forest and nobody sees it—there’s nothing wrong with you. Your crushed pelvis can heal itself because you won’t get any help here. Walk it off.