As I Lay Hurting

 

I had my first pain management doctor’s appointment today, as the new rheumatologist I saw at the beginning of the month doesn’t do pain management.  I went in hopeful.  I should have known better.  Once again, I was met with fat-shaming and incredulity.  And after he was finished beating the shit out of my body, confirming what three other doctors have already diagnosed, I was treated to feeling like a drug addict when I signed the agreement not to sell my tramadol and handed them a pee sample.

I don’t really feel like writing a long, coherent post with subject, verb, tense agreement, so here are the highlights.

  • Is there something in the Doctor’s Guide to Being an Asshole that says that when a patient complains of fibromyalgia, the doctor must poke and prod as hard as possible so that the patient gasps and screams?  It’s like if you went to the dentist, complaining of a sore tooth, and the dentist shoved a sharp instrument up through it to make sure you’re really telling the truth.  I felt like I’d been on the wrong side of Mike Tyson by the time he was finished.
  • Maybe this is my own personal quibble but, when did doctors stop giving physician referrals?  I keep having doctors tell me, “You need to go see this specialist,” but don’t give me a place to even start.  Are we just supposed to figure it out for ourselves?  At the last doctor visit was the rheumo telling me I needed to go to physical therapy, but to make sure it was somewhere that has experience treating fibro.  Today, I was told to go see a dietician for weight loss and a non-inflammation diet.  And when I asked for professional referrals, they looked at me like I’m ridiculous and bothering them.
  • Why do doctors insist on fat-shaming their patients?  I was in a fuck-ton of pain when I was 100 pounds lighter, back before there were weight gain-causing meds and the inability to exercise.  Will weight loss make me healthier?  Sure. Will it eliminate my pain?  No.

 

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I’d like to get these doctors to understand how it feels to live with chronic pain, especially when it comes to exercising, (yet another thing I got shit about today, as I don’t do enough aerobic exercise.)  You know what I’d like to?  I’d like to beat the shit out of them with a baseball bat, tell them to drop and give me 100, and then scream in their faces like a drill sergeant:
WHAT’S THE MATTER, PRINCESS?! DOES IT HURT?  IS IT HARD?  ARE YOU GONNA CRY?  IS LITTLE BABY PRINCESS GONNA CRY?  Do you want to stop?  You do?  GIVE ME ANOTHER 100!

I’d also like to strap them into some sort of device that creates fibro pain, (like the ones that cause douchey husbands to feel what labor feels like) and then make them go for a 10 mile run.  RUN, FORREST! RUN!

  • “Studies show that Percoset and other narcotic pain meds don’t really help fibromyalgia.”

The pain doctor actually said that to me.  I just wish my body had known that when I had to take it while I was at Disney so I could have the ability to walk.  And I’m really tired of doctors saying that studies show this and that, when it’s really just an excuse to do whatever the hell it is they feel like doing. Of course, narcotic pain meds don’t cure fibro.  But on days like yesterday when I could barely walk without crying because of how much damage he did to my body during the exam, it would have helped. Fuck the “studies”.

I really wish I understood why doctors insist on under-medicating pain patients before they’ve even exhibited signs of addiction and abuse.  Doctors don’t do that to other patients in pain.  It would be the equivalent of a doctor saying to a person with a broken leg, “What you need to feel better is a cast and crutches, but you’re going to have to just walk it off and find some other way to feel better.”  It sounds ridiculous, but that’s what doctors do to chronic pain patients all. the. time.

Once again, I feel stuck.  Being stuck with a shitty doctor is almost like being stuck in an abusive relationship- you can’t leave because, if you do, it will look like you’re the one to blame.  It will look like I left because I’m a drug-seeker, hoping to find a dealer with a medical degree. You’re an addict, Harry.

Finally, a message to all the doctors who think I don’t exercise…

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Music for pain management

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It is nothing new to say that music is reflective of and affects one’s mood. When we’re going through a break-up, we hug our pillows and belt out All By Myself with Celine Dion, preferably off-key. Then, we get pissed and rage clean to Alanis’s You Oughta Know. After that, you’re back to somber introspection with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Quittin’ Time. Next, we move on to irritated vengefulness and trying to remind ourselves of how the ex sucks with thoughts like, “Who the fuck does he think he is?” and “And you know another thing that was fucking annoying about him?” while we listen to Ben Folds’ Song for the Dumped. Then, finally, one day we find ourselves happy again, dancing badly around our home to Groove is in the Heart.
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Not only does music affect our moods, it can also aid in pain management and reduction. Plenty of other fellow spoonies are already aware of this technique, but I wanted to share my own experiences with it.

I’ve always loved music and singing, and have always used music to alter or enhance my mood. If I need a self-esteem boost, I’ll play Amanda Palmer’s In My Mind. If I need to psych myself up for something, Sara Bareilles’ Brave is playing. If I want to maintain my happy mood, you may hear Nickel Creek or Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog coming out of my phone.

Yesterday, I needed some soothing music while I folded laundry. I wasn’t particularly agitated, but as I mentioned yesterday, my feet and legs have been in horrible pain. My hope was that the music would help me maintain a calm self, focused on the music, rather than the pain. I found the New Age Yoga station on Songza and allowed myself to become immersed in the gentle rhythms and be touched by the cool, wistful notes.
As I listened and folded underwear, I remained tranquil. I don’t feel as though I was in a meditative or hypnotic state, but any thoughts that turned toward the things I needed to do and the future were slow, almost suspended lightly in my mind. I was physically affected as well. I had always assumed that all people had the same reaction to soft music or voices, having their hair brushed or washed at a salon, or to a gentle touch. A tingling sensation starts in my scalp. The cool tingling trickles its way down my body into my shoulders, arms, legs and, occasionally, into my bathing suit area. It continues as long as the stimulus continues, causing me to shiver with the most wonderful feeling. Well, apparently not everyone experiences that sensation. Furthermore, it has a name: autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR is also referred to as “brain orgasms“. As the Mental Floss article suggests, this music ended up being tantamount to porn. No doubt, this pleasurable feeling caused the release of endorphins, which are known to be responsible for elevating mood and ameliorating pain.

This is definitely a technique I plan on using in the future. It allowed me to finish my task, with minimal pain.

Do you use music for pain management? Which type of music do you find most helpful?