To the Doctor that Told Me She Wouldn't Patronise Me
I'm no stranger to my GP surgery; I'm pretty sure if you suffer with a chronic condition you're well-known at your local doctors. However, I do avoid going if I can. They mostly blame any new symptoms on my preexisting condition(s), so I'll only go if I'm really concerned or can't get any relief at all.
Last week I'd been suffering really badly for about five days with a trapped nerve in my shoulder; so much so, I was screaming in agony whenever I moved my arm. I'm not one to whinge in pain, my mum always used to tell me off for masking my pain, but this, I just couldn't hide - it was excruciating. My whole arm, shoulder and neck were killing; I had tingling in my fingers, a burning sensation in my forearm and a stabbing pain in my shoulder blade. I couldn't grip and my arm was pretty much useless. It wasn't fun and it wasn't going anywhere, even with my strong medication.
I get nerve pain often; sciatica wants to take up residence down my left side every few months and it's never a pleasant experience. Luckily, I know what concoction of meds will help but diazepam is a touchy subject as it's very addictive. I was given ten diazepam tablets over a year ago and I only take them when it's absolutely necessary. I'm very cautious with my medication and only take the highest dose if it's completely essential. So, when it comes to diazepam, I'm super vigilant.
Whenever you ask a doctor for a specific medication, they always give you the, 'I know you're addicted to painkillers' look. As someone that physically can't function without drugs, this gets very tedious, very quickly. There's a huge difference between being an addict and needing them to operate.
Anyway, I got an emergency appointment to see a doctor. I wheeled into the room once my name was called and explained to the doctor who I had never seen before exactly what had been going on. She listened intently and then came the dreaded question, 'what do you usually take for this?' I almost didn't want to say because I didn't want to come across like I was begging for diazepam, although I kinda was as I definitely needed it. I bit the bullet and told her. She looked at my notes, turned back to me and said a sentence that I've never heard from a doctor before, 'I don't want to patronise you because you clearly know a lot about medication and pain.' I'm pretty sure I smiled like I'd just spotted a puppy. She didn't lecture me on the side effects or potential addiction; although she did comment briefly on them. But again, said she wouldn't patronise me but needed to mention it. She quickly examined my arm and it was obvious how much pain I was in. She wrote me a prescription for diazepam and told me to come back if it got any worse.
The second Ian and I left her room we grinned at each other. I've seen countless doctors for multiple reasons and none had treated me like she did, like a human, like a human with a brain. I couldn't believe it. SHE didn't want to patronise ME.
It's little things like this, like this one sentence this doctor said to me that makes the life of a chronic pain sufferer easier. I wasn't made to feel like a drug addict, or an idiot that didn't have a clue about medication. She understood that I'd lived like this for years and this wasn't new to me. I want to thank her for treating me like an intelligent adult that has lived with chronic pain for sixteen years. I'll always remember this doctor and the day she didn't patronise me.