Friday, April 22, 2011

An Open Letter to all Doctors

Dear Doctor,
As you know, I am one of many sufferers of fibromyalgia.  Currently I am flaring badly and am waiting to be seen by a pain management specialist.  Unlike when I was in OK and my PCP prescribed whatever he felt I needed, my doctor here is gunshy of any pain medication and has flat out told me she will not prescribe it.  For that and many other reasons, I am looking for another PCP.

Last Saturday, when the pain was so bad it was all I could think about, I came to your clinic as it was one of the few open on Saturdays.  After waiting for two hours to be seen, a very kind doctor entered the room, listened closely to what I said, pressed gently on my shoulders and prescribed pain medication.  He apologized for my agonizing wait, recognizing the pain that fibromyalgia can cause.

Today I called your office to ask for a refill to last until I get to pain management.  One refill.  The nurse took my request and spoke to you.  When she called me back, she gave me your answer.  I was to follow up with my own primary doctor.  At one p.m. On a Friday.  Now that's true care.  Even if I WANTED to there is no way I could make it into her office today.  How many doctors do you know who take patients a few hours after they call on the last day before the weekend?

I begged the nurse to please talk with you again.  She agreed after much discussion.  That was two hours ago, so even if she calls back soon, it will be several more hours before I can get my medication.

Perhaps you're unfamiliar with my diagnosis.  Perhaps you've never felt the pain of somebody yanking your arm out of your shoulder, knots as large as your fists in the back of your neck and head, flushed skin, aching back and hips.  Perhaps you've never felt the fatigue that keeps you laid out for days yet struggling to sleep because of the pain.  Or the shame you feel at not being able to do the things with your children or your job or your friends that you used to be able to do.  Or the depression that settles over you, heavy, like a rug smothering the life out of you.  I am not the same woman I used to be.  Everything that mattered to me has been taken away.  The only way I can partially get it back is through pain medication.

I fully expect when your nurse calls me back she will tell me that you have no intention of helping me.  You've already made your position clear, which leaves me with the option of lying here suffering or going to yet another clinic to receive medication.

And people wonder why those of us in pain look like we're drug seeking junkies, visiting multiple doctors.  There's no other option, is there?

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