Diagnosed with mild depression. No Crap. Have you met me? — Chronic pain (and how we’re treated) changes people

I really wanted to title this entry, “Doctors use 15 minute appointments to say the most bizarre shit in the most bizarre ways”, but, just in case any medical professionals ever dare to read my blog, I kind of need to keep these folks as my friends. They are the ones who give me the drugs that keep me sane enough to write a blog, so I really shouldn’t piss them off. I really need them. Yes. I really do.

Hey Doc! I love you! Seriously, I love you! Y’all are just the best! I’m not kidding. OK. Stop looking at me that way, I’m being serious dammit.

On that note, real doctors and nurses should not be allowed to be so damn sexy. Sure, they are hot and sexy on TV, but in real life there shouldn’t be any hot doctors or nurses allowed to see you in the buff. It is just wrong on so many levels. Maybe it’s me. Maybe when I am laying on my back with my feet in the air (being a female is so much fun. That’s sarcasm), I should not think I am on a sunny beach with this really sexy, educated, nice medical person…. OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! Dammit! OK. OK. OK. I’m back! Ughhhh….  I’m back to reality. 

Going to the doctor really sucks so bad, but to control all the issues I have (and there are many), I get the wonderful opportunity to spend way too much time in different medical facilities. 

When you visit a hospital only a few times in your life (when a family member is sick or you’re giving birth) a big medical facility can become overwhelming. Not anymore. I walk right in the front door of these places like I own the place (after the bills my insurance has paid, someone should name a wing after me). If I don’t know where I am going, I know the janitor or the gift shop employee knows office locations much better than the doctors and nurses do. It gets to the point where people think I’m one of the staff. I see a stranger in the hallway, lost, and I know they will see I’m pretty confident about these places, they immediately ask me directions.

I’ve been in so many medical facilities, nine times out of ten, I can gauge where something is, even if it is my first time there. Huge hospitals, even smaller Doctor complexes, are built for ease of location and emergencies. Once you learn the pattern, it’s pretty easy to find your way around. 

Oh you need the lab? No problem, I say, “It’s down that hallway, turn left, 3rd door on your right. Are you looking for X-ray? Well, I did see MRI down the hall there, and they are normally pretty close to each other. Even if it isn’t in that area, you can stop there and ask them.”

At one point, my life boiled down to making medical appointments, planning the paperwork for those medical appointments, going to the medical appointments, leaving the medical appointments pissed off, coming home to pay the bills of the medical appointment, and picking up the phone to make more medical appointments. It was an ever-revolving door of medical crap. Thank goodness my life has evolved since that time.

But never forget, that time in my life did change me. Watching how those in the medical professions treat patients who depend on them can really change your perspective on people, for good and bad. 

No matter how often you dream of being somewhere else, being a full time patient is not fun at all. I am either being jabbed, stuck, poked, or examined in the most embarrassing ways known to humans. I’ve had every orifice on my body examined, and unfortunately, this isn’t as sexy as it sounds.

Yet, through everything, it seems most people expect you to be the sunshine, happy person you’ve always been. Well, you know what? I’m not. I stay as happy as I can be, and I make it a point to remember that it isn’t the doctor’s or the nurse’s fault I am sick, but, dammit, it isn’t my fault either. I’ve had the most ridiculous things said to me by those with over 12 years of higher education. You would think 12+ years of medical training would make people smart, nope. Not at all. Some of these people are some of the silliest people I’ve ever met. If you’re not going to help me, just write the damn prescription, tell me how much weight I need to lose, and let me go home to look up Grumpy Cat pictures and eat ice cream.

On the other hand, I’ve met some of the most caring, kind, generous people on Earth, who really care about their patients. To those people, I can’t thank them enough. They are the ones who make a patient happy they spent hours in pain getting dressed to drive hours, just to be told there really isn’t much that can be done, but we can laugh about it, and enjoy the 15-30 minutes we have together behind closed doors to say what we wish about the world and how being sick can be embarrassingly funny at times. It’s these people who are angels on Earth and they never get enough praise for what they do.

Here is the thing, I’m actually doing very well for the diagnoses I have been handed, especially since that list grows in length every time I go to an appointment. Just because I’ve changed, doesn’t mean I’m not doing OK. It just means I have learned many coping mechanisms to deal with the real bullshit of life.

Imagine, if you will, that you met me in my early 20s, and I was a real B*** with a grumpy attitude. If I stayed that way for 20 years people would look at me and assume I was doing good. She’s just a naturally grumpy person and that’s Okay. But I didn’t start off grumpy. This is where the trouble begins. Because I was the happy-go-lucky and the sunshine girl to every grey cloud, the medical world thinks I am “mildly depressed” because I’ve changed. Well, guess what assholes? (oh shit — I do love y’all! I really do) I was never as happy as I looked for all those years. That smile on my face and my sunshine attitude was for you, not me. I wore a mask everywhere I went because I knew people had a worse day than me and I did not want to share my pain with others.

Well, guess what? I’m tired of that shit now. I don’t have the energy to both control my pain and make your day fantastic at the same time. I use all my energy just to survive my own shit on a daily basis. I’m sorry I don’t have the energy to wear a fake smile, too.

Sure, I’m sure I have mild depression, but it’s probably not the reason you think it is. I have mild depression because I’ve seen behind the curtain. I’ve seen complete assholes, who didn’t care how much pain I was in. I’ve been let down by medical professionals when I needed them the most. I’ve seen the reality of United States health care and it’s nothing like I expected. It’s stalk, cruel, mean, direct, and sometimes, it’s evil incarnate. I’ve looked the devil in his eyes and I saw the truth of my future and it scares the hell out of me. So, if you think I’m mildly depressed, I probably am, but it’s not because I’m sick, it’s because how I’ve been treated since I became sick. The saddest part of all, my disease did not make me depressed, my negative experiences with the medical world made me depressed and that’s the honest truth. It’s a very sad truth affecting many patients and no one seems to care to fix it, so here I sit, with the diagnosis of being “mildly depressed” and the person given me the diagnosis refuses to accept that colleagues in the same field are the main reason for my depressed issues. Oh well. If you’re not going to fix it, congress isn’t going to fix it, and even the American public isn’t going to fix it, just write the damn prescription and let me get up out of here, so I can go back to living the best way I can (and watching cat videos).

Now, don’t get me wrong, just because I am not wearing a smile all the time, does not mean I’ll not be nice to you and say kind things to you. Just because I’m in pain, I have no right to treat others ugly or with malice, but as a medical professional you need to know that you don’t need to poke a grumpy bear, unless you are planning to get bit. For once, I want to go to a medical appointment and hear a medical professional say, “Hey! With all the crap you are dealing with, I think it is awesome you haven’t murdered anyone today! Way to go! HIGH FIVE!” That would be pretty awesome. Just surviving this world is hard enough, but surviving this world while living in chronic pain is almost impossible. It’s exhausting. I want medical professionals to recognize the effort I put into an appointment while not snapping at everyone. 

I really think those who live in chronic pain should receive get gold stars at every appointment just for showing up and pretending to be a normal human every day. We should receive gold stars for not biting the head off of every jerk who gets in our way or who looks at us twice when we park in the handicap parking place. Dammit,  I want my gold star for putting on a bra and getting out of the house.

Here is what I don’t understand, if a puppy gets hit by a car, they run off under a house and moan and cry from the pain. No one just goes up to that puppy and expects it to act the same. No. A crowd will form and very slowly someone will reach down and with great care they pick up the puppy, cooing the whole time. They cuddle it with warmth, love, and care until it is well. If someone pokes or scares an injured puppy, they expect to get bitten, and they actually blame themselves for being inconsiderate to the pain of the puppy. Why do so many medical professionals treat chronic pain patients with less consideration than a sweet puppy? They somehow can see the pain in a puppy, even playing commercial after commercial requesting money to stop the pain and abuse of animals. Many states even have a registry for those who abuse animals, but medical professionals are allowed to treat chronic pain patients with disdain, hate, and skepticism. We are treated as if our pain is less important than our pet’s pain. I love my pets but I’m important too. My pain is real too. Puppies can escape under a porch and later sleep in a dark warm kennel, being fed nice treats of magnificent proportions, chronic pain patients are forced into bright while hospitals, treated with heavy hands, and many times we are insulted by the people who took an oath to help us. 

Well guess what MFers, I’m a sweet, wonderful, kind, loving, injured puppy! I expect to have some damn love and kindness projected to me once in awhile, and I want my gold star for not biting you when you poke me or hurt me worse. 

Xena Warriar Princess

 

Honestly, in the end, we all want to be loved and cared for, but it really takes special people to care and love those who are in chronic pain for the rest of our lives. Sometimes, we bite, cuss, argue, cry, and lash out, for no other reason than we just have so much pain and this pain has made us completely 100% exhausted.

To those family members and medical folks who love us, care for us, and put up with us, you are the angels of the human race. You smile at us when we’re grumpy, you pat our arms when we’re sad, you give us gentle hugs when we wish to be alone, and somehow you know the exact time to bring us hot tea to settle our nerves. In return for your love and kindness, I promise I’ll give you as many smiles and gold stars as many times as possible to make your life easier during this painful journey called life. 

You’re the Pooh to our Eeyore, and we will be forever grateful for your love and kindness.

 

eeyore

 

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy!

 

 

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