Tonight’s blog is one of the most honest I’ve ever written but I need to share it as I know so many others have been in the same position.
How to react when a Consultant says your chronic pain is ‘down to your weight’?
Every doctors’ appointment following my spontaneous Sacral spinal fracture in 2014 has been sympathetic, kind and empathetic. Not a single one who was involved was anything but understanding. So what happened in this one appointment was unexpected and completely out of the blue.
Why? Well, the consultation began normally enough, questions about what my expectations were about this meeting, where my pain was on the 1 – 10 pain scale, the usual stuff. Then he asked to examine me, again usual enough and as I stood up, I pulled my top up and the back of my jeans down – again the normal routine.
But then as well as pressing into my back, he pulled my pants down, put his hand round to the front, ‘poked ‘ me and said “oh, you’ve got a bit of a belly haven’t you?“
I was mortified, extremely embarrassed and just blurted out something along the lines of ‘well I know I’ve put on some weight recently‘ and sat down.
Mortified because no one had ever poked my belly and made me feel so uncomfortable about myself. I was there to discuss further treatments, further surgery, spinal cord stimulators. He was the top man to talk to but he didn’t want to hear any of that, he just carried on speaking about how the body reacts when you gain extra weight and how when he gets an ‘ache‘, he takes the odd paracetamol.
And that was it……..
How did I react after that? Well, I’d like to say , we carried on chatting and the appointment went well.
But unfortunately, I simply burst into tears and sobbed. Not the most mature or professional way of dealing with things but there we go. I didn’t plan to do it, in fact for this appointment, I wanted to present my professional side, my ‘I used to be a Head of Department‘ head, the ‘I’m not an idiot‘ head but unfortunately he blindsided me and so the tears just appeared and kept coming and coming.
Throughout the rest of the appointment, I sobbed quietly and hardly heard a word he said. He knew that something was wrong but didn’t stop the consultation, he just kept talking to fill the time.
He didn’t want to hear that the drugs that made me gain the weight had been prescribed for me by HIS team………
He didn’t want to hear how how this damned constant pain has affected and enveloped my life and how proactive I’ve tried to be to help manage my pain……..
And he certainly didn’t want to hear anything about how completely humiliated he made me feel……
But hey, I’ve only spent five years of my life trying to get my head around being disabled, trying to put positive thoughts in my head, trying to use yoga, meditation, mindfulness, distraction therapies etc but now it seems that I’m also to blame for this.
I’m ok, I really am. I’m lucky; I have a loving husband and some very good friends and family but I’d be lying if this hasn’t left it’s mark on me.
But as my very good friend said “it is inexcusable for a so called professional to be so lacking in empathy” and she’s right.
Ps. If you need me, I’ll be the one in the gastric band queue……..😘