Questioning Everything

Hello everyone. 🙂 I’ve been both present and not-so present around here for quite some time, mostly from an emotional standpoint. I’m not going to apologize for that. No one should ever apologize for taking care of themselves, or the crap in their lives. If someone tells you their life is perfect, I’ve got a bridge to sell them in at least two states. 😦

My x-rays came back and showed nothing. That was two and a half weeks ago, and my doctor never deigned to get back to me. In fact, she idiotically had an assistant tell me my spine is “perfect” (If that was true, I would NOT be in excruciating pain every day of my life.) and to “keep taking the muscle relaxers” and “do yoga”. I REALLY didn’t appreciate the “do yoga” comment. This isn’t a pulled muscle or a stretching issue, not by a long shot. I told the assistant “Where did the damage to my spine go? It did not miraculously heal itself because IT WAS INOPERABLE.” Her response? “I’ll tell the doctor you’re not happy with the results.” Click. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! One, I never said that. Two, I stated that I wanted to find the root cause of the pain so it could be properly treated. If you’re going to “assist”, at least get your shit together. 😦 Picture the angriest face in the world, because that’s how I’ve looked at times dealing with this crap! 

I called the office today and left a message for the nurse practitioner to get the ball rolling on the MRI. They need 24-48 hours to hear back from my insurance company because apparently, doctors used to abuse the privilege of running tests and now need to run such things past the insurance. Angry, annoyed face makes her appearance.

I had an appointment scheduled with her for tomorrow afternoon, but decided to cancel. I’d rather talk with her, ask for the MRI to be pushed through, and reschedule once the results come in. It’s pointless to go in and rehash my issues with someone new, especially considering the amount of pain I am in. Just showering and get dressed is terribly painful, especially when I can’t bend down. I wake up in so much pain each day, I simply cannot commit to anything at the moment. I cannot drag myself in to the office when I can barely drag myself from one room to the next. Yes, it’s less than five minutes away, but just the thought of going in for another chat is a waste of time in my eyes. Especially since I see how much they’ve been billing my insurance company each time, and how much the insurance actually pays out. Let’s sum it up in one word, LUDICROUS. I should start sending bills to my friends/family when they call for advice!

I hate admitting this, but fighting through all of the day-to-day pain, and some extremely upsetting things I have learned over the past few weeks, has made me want to cancel the rest of the year, pretty much. There is a deep, dark cloud of depression hanging over everything. I hope & pray it all works itself out, that the impossible will soon be possible, and that changes will start working towards positivity. I hate the way I feel and when I feel this way, sharing my thoughts isn’t always wise.

I saw the new therapist last week. For now, I’ll go in once a month. Not because I feel I need it, but because it’s good to have someone in place in case I DO need it. There are some painful things coming up in my life, and in the lives of those close to me, and I might need a neutral third-party to help me get through it. I don’t love her, but I don’t hate her. I think she’s fair and I appreciate that she likes my direct approach and honesty. My doctor, apparently, said a lot of wonderful things about me to her before he left. He told her I deserved someone amazing. That means more to me than a lot of things he could have said. When someone’s perception of you is incredibly kind and positive, it’s nice to get that feedback. I am sure plenty of people don’t have the same insight into me as a person, and that’s fine, but anyone I work closely with who gets it has the opportunity to either see that in me or they can choose to see something else. That’s on them. I’ve got a hard enough time dealing with my own personal stake in who I am.

I’m writing. I am researching extensively, and trying to flesh out my characters to give them more depth. As solid as the story is, and it’s so good I can’t believe I wrote it, I know the characters need more substance. You want to get deeply enmeshed in their lives from the first chapter on, and you want to root for them. It’s already there, but going deeper is important because otherwise, I will certainly be told that the characters need more trials and tribulations. I do read-throughs on it and always think “This needs something MORE.” Being tired, in pain, worn out, and often-times triggered by the smallest things, have made me feel like I needed a break from the writing. I started research for a new project the other day. I’ve never written a crime mystery, but I’m contemplating it. Why not? It’s personally uncharted territory.

I have been managing a pain support group for well over a year now. A few days ago a member approached me to start a petition for 100,000 signatures to go in front of the President. She offered to help, as did her husband. Is it terrible that I wanted to say “Do it yourself; I’ll sign it and help you promote it.”? This is a small group of people and they only come to me with ideas that are enormous undertakings. Whenever I present something small, they ignore me. All of them. I understand that many of them assume I am a pain advocate, but the truth is, I am a patient who is struggling and can’t even fathom getting 100,000 signatures. Do I for one single second feel the current “President” gives a shit? NO. He’s trying to revoke the current status and privileges of roughly 800,000 people by what he’s done with DACA, so why the hell would he care about pain patients?! If he were a reasonable person of sound mind, I’d feel more confident that what I say will be heard. However, he’s not a reasonable person and he’s proven he’s not sane, so this feels like a fight I don’t feel I can take on. And yet, I said I’d do it. Mostly to see if it can be achieved. I don’t have any expectations.

I hope everyone had a happy, safe, fun summer. I hope you enjoy the remainder of it because Fall is definitely on its way. For the first time in a long time, I’m not excited about it, or anything, really. Each day of my life is so monotonous, I can’t bear waking up each morning. Here’s hoping that changes.

Wishing you all a peaceful and safe Full Moon.

Lisa-blue

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Official?

I finally have documentation on my medical chart that I have Fibromyalgia. What I find odd is that the doctor didn’t check for trigger points or question the discussion, she simply added it to my “history”. If the original doctor who diagnosed me in 2003/2004 had remembered to put it in my chart back then, I’d be dealing with a lot less stress now, but he didn’t. He also said he “did not remember ever having such a conversation”. Of course you don’t; you don’t have my memory and you aren’t the fucking patient! I think we can all safely agree that when a doctor doesn’t do their due diligence, it’s upsetting. From here on in, the words “Please put that in my chart.” are going to be ingrained into my speech at every appointment. All it takes is one idiot, and that’s unacceptable in my eyes.

If he had never said “I firmly believe you have Fibromyalgia.”, after running the gamut of testing and everything came up negative, I might have had to learn about it the way so many other people do; on the Internet. Instead, I walked away relieved, thinking “Thank God I don’t have lupus.” He didn’t explain Fibromyalgia or discuss the progressive nature of it, or I wouldn’t have been so fixated on testing negative for lupus. I had no idea how stupid my thought process was that day. Because in reality, I’d maybe heard of Fibromyalgia in passing, but I had definitely heard first-hand horrors about lupus. In the years that have since passed, we are much more aware of the horrors of Fibromyalgia and precisely how progressive it is, and widespread, as a community of chronic pain sufferers.

I feel a little better that I have a referral for a new neurologist after explaining how I am being ignored by the current “physician” (The man returned my phone calls ONCE. Since then, crickets.), and I use that term loosely. Initially she refused to refer me to someone else when I called and said the appointment was an absolute bust, but in person, hearing about it, she changed her tune. Of course, she also wasted a month and a half of my time because she should have had my back when I said something wasn’t right with the other doctor. I am being sent for x-rays of my cervical and lower lumbar spine, and the doctor said she’ll discuss direction with me when she receives the results. Now if only I could physically move my body… 😦

I talked about how bad the pain was. I’m not 100% certain she took that seriously. My baseline is an eight, which is honestly more like a fifteen for the average pain patient, but when doctors hear that, they react badly, so I stuck with the eight. Now while I am relieved she prescribed muscle relaxers, I was filling out some paperwork very early this morning and noticed a derogatory remark in her notes. It’s highly inappropriate to say to a person’s face (I would NEVER.), so to see it in black and white made me see RED. It genuinely put me back into the whole “I need a new doctor.” position, and I am still on a waiting list to be seen by a different physician in a few months. I firmly feel this is the best course of action. If I don’t like the new doctor, I can always go back to this one, but I feel like it’s important to get a second opinion and, quite possibly, a different perspective. You can only “Uh huh.” me so many times and look at the computer instead of me before I inevitably lose my patience.

Why does a derogatory remark bother me? Because if this was deemed an issue she felt she could put into my notes, but not say to my face as any type of concern, then that is a serious communication issue for me. Moreover, by not talking about it with me, she made an enormous assumption which I know for a fact isn’t true. Please, do not make assumptions about people based on looks, height, weight, skin color, ethnicity, level of education, etc. In other words, DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS AT ALL.

I’ve met Ivy League educated people who were dumber than a box of rocks with twelve piles of shit on top (one was a doctor who’d gone to three different Ivy League schools. Not only was he a moron, but he had all the warmth and compassion of a dead roach. He had zero empathy and cared only about the enormous check he got at the end of each session. He did NOT last long in my world.). I’ve met people with GEDs who made me feel inferior on the intelligence scale, and I’m not stupid, so I try not to judge a book by its cover.

When I see the nurse practitioner in a few weeks, I am going to demand that comment be removed from my chart. It was an assumption, but if it’s not fact, don’t put it in my medical records. Period. I’m a patient, and I want to be taken seriously, but when you write things like that, another doctor might see it and make an error in judgment that I simply don’t deem fair.

When women judge other women without any facts, it pisses me off. I have no right to do it, despite the fact that I am human and occasionally make a snap judgment or a snarky comment (privately). However, I do not know another woman’s story, pain, health, or journey, and taking her down to a tiny square of humanity is wrong. If I don’t want it done to me, then I cannot do it to others. There’s a time and place for joking, but NOT at the doctor’s office.

How sad is it that this reaffirmed my desire to only see male physicians? I’d rather deal with someone who’ll speak up and be real, as opposed to someone who smiles in my face and puts a nasty comment in my medical history. Ladies, you’re not doing the world ANY favors by being rude to female patients. Treat people equally and treat them with respect, or don’t treat them at all. Go into another line of work, but don’t be a bitch. The same way I’ll call out a male doctor for a douche bag comment is not dissimilar to how I’ll tell a female doctor she’s off base. For some reason, men always know precisely how to take what I’m saying and women just get offended that I called them out on their bullshit. In this particular appointment, I probably corrected her half a dozen times, maybe more. I wasn’t there to nitpick or play games, I was there for a serious discussion. Zero compassion, zero empathy, and very little eye contact because she was looking at the computer, not at me. Now while she did appear to be listening, I was the last appointment of the day and got more time than originally scheduled for, but it still wasn’t “enough”.

She said she wanted to follow-up with me “in a few weeks”, but they saw she didn’t have an opening for six weeks. There is NO reason why I should have to wait six weeks to be seen after waiting two and a half months to be seen this time around. It’s disrespectful, not to mention ridiculous. It was her decision to pass me off to the nurse practitioner and while I’m not happy about that, I can only say “Lets see how it goes.” I know a few people who prefer their NP over the doctor, but I still reserve the right to meet with a new doctor when an opening comes up and see how it goes. I deserve better care, period. I was assured that once I am “in” with the new doctor, follow-up appointments are not difficult to get and don’t take months. I need to see for myself, even though she’s further away. And I like the fact that she sees ten new patients a week and does her best to get through the waiting list by doing so. That means something to me. So, I’ll see how it goes when the time comes.

Tonight, I am trying to gear myself up for the x-rays tomorrow. I’m grateful that the hospital can take films 24/7, even on weekends. I hope that by mid-day, my body is loose enough muscle-wise that I can get that taken care of and go on with my day. I have so much to squeeze into this weekend and honestly, the thought fucking exhausts me. If I went back to caffeine, I’d be able to do it without issue, but I don’t know if that’s the healthiest choice to make, so I’m going to play it by ear. Overall, all I can truly do is my best. I’m tired of being told, and shown, that my best is never good enough.

Instead of getting to enjoy my weekends, or brief moments, I have to suck it up and force myself to do things I physically cannot do much any more. If only every day people understood this. 😦

For now, the Fibromyalgia is official. But at what cost? Don’t for a single second think I don’t wonder if I was misdiagnosed and I have something else, because I do. The more I learn, the more I question. As should we all.

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Life, On Hold

I guess late Friday night has become my new “time to write”. I have no idea when that became a thing, but let’s roll with it, shall we?

My big accomplishment this week was talking to my insurance company and getting an emergency reinstatement, all thanks to someone who knew what she was doing and was the kindest person one could hope to speak with. The best part was, as she was helping me, saying “I don’t know why they needed address confirmation. You already confirmed it twice. And I’m not seeing where they sent you a letter, but apparently they wanted confirmation by June 13th. This makes no sense.” She then told me to call back Wednesday morning. After four hours of not being able to get through to anyone (I love being on hold for an hour and then being hung up on. T speak to a person once this week, it was a six-hour wait on hold, in total, and constantly calling back whenever I was hung up on.), I finally got confirmation through the automated system that I’m “active”. Yay! The downside is that I still have to call again to see if they will reactivate the “child company” before September 1st (I spoke with them, they told me their system might update next week, but there are no guarantees.). It’s still early in the month and there’s no legitimate reason I should have an issue. However, this does mean canceling the neuro follow-up without the “child company” to pay for it, which, lets face it, I had no belief in, any way. When a doctor is out of the room before you’ve finished speaking, it’s not a good sign for things to come. He still hasn’t called me back, still hasn’t squared away medicine or ANYTHING requiring prior authorization, and I don’t see the point in going in without knowing I’m covered for the visit and two, to discuss what? Would he even listen to me? That’s a twenty-minute waste of my time and I simply don’t have the patience for it this month. I’ll reschedule, and maybe between now and then, he can figure out how to get his shit together before I write a scathing review.

I rescheduled one of the appointments I wasn’t able to get into last Friday, but the person who scheduled it informed me I would require the doctor to “discharge me as her patient” in order to see someone else. I listened to the message and “Are you fucking kidding me?” is all I had to offer. I’m a PATIENT, not cattle, not a piece of property “owned” by the overlord. I feel like it would be hypocritical to see this doctor for thirty minutes and then say “Can you discharge me to another physician because, after the way you treated me when we first met, I cannot in good faith work with you moving forward.” Doing so could cut me off from much-needed medication, and I am already angry that she put me in a compromising position with my current primary care doctor, who surprisingly came through for me. And if you’re going to practice what you preach, it is hypocritical to sit with someone you already know isn’t going to work out, merely to get a month’s worth of medication. Plus, how long would I have to wait to see someone new? The whole thing stresses me out and makes me ill. These are things I will have to bring up at my appointment next week, which is also stressing me out.

Every aspect of my life is on hold. Finishing up online classes for a certification? On hold. Starting new classes for a new certification so I can begin a career I actually want to work in? On hold. Being able to get up each morning with zero pain? Probably never going to happen. The issue with suffering from any form of chronic pain is that, if you sign a pain contract, you can be tossed from any doctor’s office if, for example, you decide to use Kratom or CBD oil as an alternative because they might look for it in a drug test. The pain I am in is so bad, all I want to do is go to the emergency room and scream until someone helps me. However, no one wants that put into their chart as “drug-seeking behavior”. I’ve never “sought drugs” in my entire life. The only addiction I’ve ever had in my life was to Polar Seltzer. I’m drinking my first bottle in months because I went off of medication based on sheer forgetfulness. In case you’re wondering, Toasted Coconut is as good as it sounds. 😉

I’m having trouble sleeping soundly. I’ve had a migraine every single day this month, and only had two migraine-free days all of last month. I’m hurting, stressed, frustrated, and fed up. I’d like to sleep soundly, wake up pain-free, and not have to struggle to push myself physically. I was hurting so bad last Sunday, I nearly passed out in public, but not before a woman who has never met me before stopped me at the grocery store to inform me I “look kinda pale”. I went into the stores’ restroom and took a look at my face. Nope, pale is my natural skin-tone. If you don’t know me and have no clue what I look like on any given day, it’s incredibly rude to approach a stranger and say “You look kinda pale.” I turned around and said “Are you being cute?” I was annoyed. It wasn’t the concern of someone stating I didn’t look well, it was something else, and quite frankly, combined with my eye makeup, I wouldn’t have approach ed me at all. The colors I’d used sort of made me look like a vampire. I didn’t notice it until after the fact and once I’ve finished with something like that, I am not taking it off and starting over.

I’m having terrible difficulties writing the things I want to write. After months of research and trying to get the ball rolling with an article revolving around chronic pain patients and the reduction of medicine we’re experiencing as a whole, I’ve had to focus more on my own health than I would normally be able to focus on a body of work. And since then, plenty of people have come forward and written things from their own perspectives. It sort of makes me wonder if I should bother at all, which bugs me, because I don’t like starting something I’ll never finish. It makes me feel like a fuck-up.

Yeah, I’m hard on myself. What might normally work for others in terms of decompressing only manages to stress me out more. I hate hearing these terms “breathing exercises” and “mindfulness”. It’s reached a point where I will throw something hard at you if you mention either. I cannot breathe past the pain I am in, so please spare me the nonsense. I’m plenty mindful, yet apparently not mindful enough for people who preach about it. And yeah, I lack the ability to “go with the flow” because the “flow” is monotonous and makes me want to walk in front of a truck.

No one wants to “exist” and wonder what their purpose is. People keep turning to me with “pain advocate” or “pain activist” issues and here’s the thing; I am having a hard enough time advocating for myself. For someone who has been told I am “always incredibly articulate”, I feel like an absolute moron trying to explain how badly I am suffering and how all I want is relief. I imagine this is what happens when your body is experiencing too much pain on a daily basis with no break. I have NEVER outright said to any doctor “Give me pain meds.” Never, and yet I feel distraught at the thought of being forced into a pain contract or worse, having a year-long (possibly longer) wait to get into any form of pain management. Pain management in Massachusetts is everything BUT pain medication. They will even prioritize surgery over managing your pain. If you will willingly implant a pain pump into my body, but are afraid to give me real medication in that pump, then there is no valid reason for me to put myself through surgery. I’ve never had surgery in my life. I still have both of my wisdom teeth, mostly because I’m stubborn. I know they will likely have to come out by the end of this year, and I’m kind of okay with that, but that is far less invasive than something being implanted into my body that may, or may not, work. See how stressful it all becomes when you think about it?

This is, by no means, the life I signed up for. I had dreams, goals, and things I wanted to achieve. And yet, as I sit here, my entire fucking life is on hold. I, for one, hate it.

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Full Corn Moon In Aquarius

fullcornmoon-2017

Tonight is the Full Corn Moon, named because this is a time of the corn harvests. The August Full Moon is also known as the Sturgeon Moon because this was the time when wild sturgeon and salmon would be abundant in rivers and streams. At this time, our emotions will be heightened, our senses will be sharp, things that were hidden or in the shadows can now be seen.

If you have been feeling stuck in a situation or that everything has been standing still lately, get ready, because this Full Moon will be bringing with it a wind of change. The whole of earth is going through a massive transition at the minute. Summer is fading and Autumn is coming in, leaves are starting to change color and are falling from trees, plants and flowers are dying and seeding the earth for next Spring. But at the same time, crops in fields are flourishing with the harvest; fruit is now at it’s most ripe. We will feel this energy of transformation, and we should use it to help transform and shape ourselves into what we want to be.

The Full Moon is in the sign of Aquarius. The time is potent to follow our hearts and to create new pathways. We have shed our skin. Now is the time to emerge and start turning the visions we have of ourselves into something real. There will be some deep emotional changes happening now; don’t fight them. Let them come to the surface. We must move with the changes, allow what wants to come forth, and trust our inner knowledge and guidance.

Your enthusiasm, idealism, and creativity will be at an all time high. You will be bursting with new ideas and energy. You could have sudden insights into the future and where it is you are going. Dreams will be wild and vivid and could even be prophetic. You can move from a breakdown to a breakthrough. You are experiencing a transformation in consciousness, and big changes are coming.

Sometimes your growth can feel weird and strange when you are no longer connecting to your past. But truly, the old way of living no longer works for you. You are experiencing new aspects of yourself and of life. You are giving birth to the new you, and giving birth is painful. This is real work. This is real growth. There is so much to celebrate right now. Realize that to live out new, promising visions there is a need to restructure and grow. A new vision of the future will be illuminated, but it is up to you to figure out what you do with it.

Most of all tonight’s Full Moon will be about healing. Let the winds of the Aquarius air sign blow away your negative thoughts and feelings and take you on a journey of discovery. Let go of the past and welcome in the future. This is the harvest and it is time to start reaping what we have sown, your hard work will start paying off. Take the gifts life offers you and make the most of them.

Have a Blessed Full Moon and may the Goddess watch over you.

Written & photo credit: Wicca Teachings

Edited by: Lisa Marino

You Only Get One Chance

I showed up for my doctor’s appointment today and the office staff, who I can only describe as idiotically incompetent, something I don’t normally say about this particular office, waited about ten minutes before informing me that my insurance had been terminated. To say I was outraged is a vast understatement.

When they ask you to confirm a week prior to your appointment THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO RUN YOUR INSURANCE. Every office is supposed to do this to avoid people showing up for appointments without coverage. Apparently, they’re too fucking lazy to do their jobs. Instead of doing their due diligence, they get me up early on a Friday morning, I arrive on time, and I get handed a huge pile of horse shit shortly after trying to gear up to be seen. I stepped out to find out what was going on because you don’t have private conversations in a waiting room.

I called my insurance company and they immediately passed the buck, claiming it “wasn’t their fault and they didn’t know anything”, thus leaving me to call the “parent company”. After being on hold for nearly twenty minutes, “the parent” made claims that I was notified of termination in March. I didn’t even have my insurance for a full two months in March, and I’d know if I had received a letter requesting information. I open everything they send me because if they need something, I make sure to handle it right away. I can’t afford to be without coverage. They told me they’re “missing a document”, but the document in question is one I provided them with before I was approved for insurance in the first place. How did it suddenly “go missing”? How is it that they waited until July 29th to cancel me?! They told me they sent me a letter on July 14th to notify me that they needed this document by the 28th. I would know if I’d received such a letter, but I didn’t. I have only received a few pieces of mail in the past few weeks and none of it was from them. The only thing I have received from them recently involved open enrollment for this Fall; which gives me the opportunity to change the secondary company and try something new out for three months, and either keep it after that for a full year or switch back to the current “child company”. Why would you send that to me if you were going to terminate me? It makes no sense.

I called them at the end of June to ask a question and I was assured that I was active with zero issues regarding my insurance. That would have been a good time to say “Hey, did you get the letter we sent you in March?”, or at least one would think so. I’ve spoken with the “child company” a handful of times and not once was this mentioned to me. Instead, the “parent” told me I did not have to do anything until the end of my first insured year when they ask you to verify your address and other information for the umpteenth time, “to keep everything current”. Their words, not mine. I don’t know about you, but I call and change my address with companies if need be, I don’t wait until they ask me to verify.

Being told “Please write a letter verifying your address and fax it to us immediately.” pissed me off because I missed out on two appointments I’ve had planned for the past month as a result of this idiocy. Even better, they told me to call them Monday (I’ve already faxed them the document.) to “make sure they got the fax”. These are the same people who, for months, told me they were handling my application and in the end, I was forced to re-apply because they’d somehow “only gotten one page” of a twenty plus page fax. I find this very hard to believe after being told “You’re in the system, we just haven’t processed you yet.”. I was told it would take 48 hours for the fax to be processed, but up to two weeks for me to be reinstated. I nearly lost it. I have appointments pending this month and I NEED to be seen. I cannot imagine going to the ER, something I had planned on doing due to my pain escalating, and being told I was not covered. I’m so outraged, and yet I am told this “happens all the time”. How is this acceptable? If I don’t receive notification of something, then I cannot provide you with a ridiculous document I’ve already given you.

The doctor’s office tried to get me to sign a waiver to be seen, claiming my insurance would “back date” me. My insurance company said “We don’t do that; don’t sign anything.” The woman in the office was asked twice how much one appointment was without insurance, just to get in and be seen, and she actually said “$800.” Did your jaw just hit the floor? She can’t possibly know what she’s talking about because that is so beyond unrealistic, it’s not even funny. Who the hell made up such nonsense? That she repeated it with a straight face more than once was truly appalling. Why can’t you just say “I honestly don’t know.”? Why lie and claim it’s “high because it’s billed through the hospital”? Trust me, that is NOT what you bill the insurance company and if you do, that is laughable because you’re probably lucky to get $80 from them. I know how this shit works.

The main reason I was there was to meet a new doctor and get medication. After dealing with the insurance and feeling like an absolute moron for not canceling when it’s genuinely what I wanted to do in the first place, the doctor calls me into her office, ostensibly to discuss what she is going to do, etc. It went from “I’ll give you a one month supply of your medicine.” to “I can’t prescribe that.” She was rude, dismissive, judgmental, and then tried to back-track with me and pretend to be nice after she’d already judged me for medication I’ve taken for fourteen years and insulted my intelligence. For the record, I hadn’t said a word to her before she started in on me. When I give you direct eye contact and it’s an icy look, and I’m being deadly silent, I am giving you the opportunity not to dig yourself a deeper hole. She kept digging. I immediately knew she was NOT going to work out. I may have to see her in a month, just to be prescribed the medicine, but I’ve already asked someone else in her office to “find me another doctor”, and I explained why in the shortest way possible.

My former doctor hasn’t actually left, which did not shock me at all. His name kept coming up in conversations to me and I nearly walked into his office and left him a note about the Oxford English dictionary definition of “I’m leaving on July 7th.” (I’m legitimately going to offer to pack his office for him. He is WAY too good for that place.). I haven’t spoken to him in a month, so he’ll know something is wrong if I’m calling. I both want to call and don’t want to, because I’m really unsure what he can do at this point. I am not sure what he was thinking when he recommended her, saying she was “really warm and caring” (I couldn’t warm up to this woman if we were cremated together. I can’t wait to hear his reaction when I tell him that. He knows me well enough to know I am not joking around.), but I hope to G-d he’s got someone else in mind because I will NOT tolerate someone like her ever again. Her behavior is the precise reason I started seeing male doctors almost exclusively. I don’t need bullshit from a doctor simply because she’s female. I’m a woman, too, but I don’t have anything to prove simply because I’m female.

I walked out of her office politely, but being told to “call my primary care physician” for medicine she was too afraid to prescribe pissed me off. It wasn’t merely what she said, it was the way she said it and how disrespectful she was overall. The one thing my PCP did do right is prescribe it without argument. I was shocked. I can make a month’s supply last about six weeks or so, but I shouldn’t have to, and that’s the point. This doctor was beyond rude and then tried to pretend like she was a good person. That sort of behavior doesn’t fly with me. This is a medication easily called into my pharmacy, so it’s not a serious drug (not in my eyes, any way), it’s just not prescribed as regularly as it once was. My former doctor didn’t have enough experience with it to prescribe it or to try tapering me off of it because he wasn’t going to be there much longer, so we simply discussed my taking a lower dose of it whenever possible, and I have done that. I take it as needed, but I don’t take the entire prescribed amount each day.

Walking out angry from a maybe five-minute conversation is not a good first impression to make on ANY patient. Being rude, dismissive, condescending, refusing to listen and actually hear me, and being passive-aggressive are not qualities one wants in a doctor. You only get one chance with me. There is no way I can have a working relationship with someone like that. And sadly, I knew I didn’t like her the second I saw her. My intuition screamed “That’s the new doctor. Get out while you can!” You aren’t going to get anywhere with me using the “bitch card”. If that’s how you want to make your first impression, so be it, but I do not have to allow you to be a treating physician in MY life.

Hopefully this gets straightened out soon and I can move on to a different doctor who isn’t a rude snit. I am fine going elsewhere if they don’t have someone who can handle themselves in a professional manner.

I know a lot of people who only want to deal with female doctors, and by all means, have at it. I’m a girl’s girl to the core, but my experience with most female doctors has been horrible. This one was exactly how I thought she’d be, and that’s sad. I had zero hope for her when I made the appointment to begin with, and now, I am sorry I didn’t push harder for someone else.

Ultimately I will do what I have to do to take care of myself and prioritize MY health, but I’m not going to do it with anyone who cannot be respectful of me. Note to self: Listen to your intuition, and don’t ever take shit from someone simply because they’re a doctor.

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Stressful Sleepless Nights

I have long since passed “tired” and have reached a state of pure “painsomnia”. No matter what I do, I am in too much pain to sleep properly, if at all. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I’m not in the correct head-space to allow my body to rest as it needs to. It’s twisted when anyone who suffers as much as I do is completely unable to sleep at times.

Most nights I am sound asleep by three a.m., if not earlier. Last Wednesday night, no matter how many times I tried, sleep alluded me. I had my alarm set and finally got frustrated and said “Fuck it!” I knew there was no way I was going to fall asleep because I couldn’t shut my brain off and the pain I am in is over-the-top excruciating. When you cannot see past the pain you’re in, it’s bad. Pain, as it turns out, is a definitive breaking point. It is exhausting, it is draining, and it makes you feel insane. Your entire body goes on high alert.

I have tried everything to break this cycle, and yet here I sit, trying to figure out how to reach some type of “pain-free” state. But really, what are my options? The emergency room? Kratom? CBD oil? I have NO idea. If I understood the root cause of the pain escalation, I could at least handle it from a medical perspective and make a decision as to how to proceed. However, I am being waylaid by every single doctor that is supposed to be treating me. And lets face it, Kratom and CBD oil aren’t covered by insurance and they can be quite expensive over time. Yes, they are natural methods to relieve pain, but I can say I know very little about CBD oil, despite extensive research. I only know some people swear by it and others say it doesn’t help them, which definitely makes me question the enormity of such an investment. A friend even found a company willing to give me a huge discount, but still, it’s a lot of money for a “What if?”

I have an appointment in a few weeks with my soon-to-be fired primary care physician. The first time I was in her office, I noticed she had pain contracts for her patients in each room. It left me sour on the whole thing because I also noticed an influx of patients that were clearly there for monthly drug tests and new prescriptions. The restrooms are FULL of testing supplies. It looks more like a lab. So, while prescription pain medicine is covered by my insurance, do I want to subject myself to monthly drug tests? No. For one, I’ve never taken narcotic pain medicine daily, and if I did, it was in much lower quantities than prescribed. I’d fail a drug test because I don’t take six pills a day, or however many might be prescribed if I were lucky enough to be taken seriously. Asking me to “bring my bottles” so my pills can be counted and “pee in a cup” each month is treating me like a drug addict when in fact, I am a pain patient. Moreover, I find it interesting that I had to wait two and a half months to be seen for something serious, but she can see other people monthly if they’ve signed a pain contract. It’s insulting. She flat-out said, via that infamous e-mail, that I should “go to the emergency room” when I have a paralytic attack. As if they happen daily and I am able to call for help during said attacks. Instead of being a responsible physician who orders the correct tests prior to my coming in, she blew me off. I will be printing up the entire exchange before she has the opportunity to delete any such evidence. They might just be e-mails, but I honestly never know what a doctor might do to cover their own ass.

I have ZERO trust or faith in this woman to properly treat me, and that is precisely why I have to move on. The second I have a scheduled appointment with the new physician, she will no longer be listed as my primary care doctor. I can still switch at any time. That is a comfort because I’m sick of not being taken seriously.

My migraines are still eating away large chunks of my life. It took the neurologist quite a while to get back to me, but when he did, it was a short message to tell me he could put me on another class of medication. I called him back and said “I’ve been on all of those already; they don’t work.” If he’d requested my chart from my previous neurologist, he would know all of this already. He did not address my request for Relpax or a new anti-nausea medicine, he skipped over it like I hadn’t said anything in the three messages I left for him. I’m sick of playing phone tag. If he can’t get this straight, I can’t keep my appointment at the end of next month. It’s an inconvenience to begin with and the man lacks the ability to listen and actually hear you. It’s not my job to do his for him. Why should I repeat, and pay for, previously failed medications? I care about the crazy chemicals that go into my body and as a patient, I have the right to say no. I played stupid when I said “My insurance does cover Relpax, they just need to hear from you.” and “I belong to a migraine support group and this anti-nausea drug is talked about a lot, do you think I can try it?” A close friend also recommended the anti-nausea medicine, but he only needs to know the basics. Instead of appreciating the fact that I’m an educated patient, he would much prefer for me to be a moron that simply says yes to everything he says. Yeah, that’s not going to happen on my watch.

I’ve decided that if I can’t survive this coming week on over-the-counter pain medication for my back and neck, that I am going to the emergency room. The doctor can kiss my ass if she doesn’t like the decision because ultimately, the hospital CAN admit me, even if only for a few hours, and run all of the necessary tests. If they did, for example, do a drug test, they would find I am 100% drug-free, so they wouldn’t be concerned about giving me pain medication, providing they deemed it necessary. Trust me; I’ve never thought it was more necessary than I currently do. I’ve had broken bones hurt a hell of a lot less than my back and neck do. 😦 I can’t even sit up straight or do anything to stretch my muscles out gently without causing the pain to worsen. And yet, I am the moron popping Aleve, using a heating pad in July, and alternating with ice packs because I am also running a fever. But according to the physician’s assistant “It’s probably just the weather or like your allergies.” If you are trying to be any kind of professional, drop the Valley Girl routine. It’s not cute.

This week I get to meet a new doctor and someone who I believe will be temporary. I’ve once again been handed over to a student, after specifically requesting “no one temporary” (I heard myself say it, so I know it’s not my imagination.), and I will likely have something to say about that after the fact. I am on an incredibly short fuse, so I’ve decided that both people get exactly two chances with me, if that. I legitimately don’t want to go, don’t want to discuss a damn thing except the outrageous amount of pain I am in, and don’t want to waste my time, but again, two chances. If I’m feeling nice (I’m rarely nice.). I hate forcing myself to do things I am not okay with. Chances are if I can’t stand the sound of your voice on the phone, we will NOT get along well in person. I know precisely how intense I can be, and I’ve only recently realized it’s because I’ve been badly burned by certain types of people and I won’t allow the cycle to continue. While some people will say, and have, “You enjoy giving off the impression that you’re a bad ass.”, I don’t think it’s actually occurred to them that I AM a bad ass. You can be a lovely human-being and STILL be a bad ass when you have to be. Believe me, being a bad ass is far better than wearing “the bitch card” 24/7. A bad ass is a position of power where you make all of the important decisions and stand your ground, and it trumps being a bitch every day and twice on Sunday.

I once questioned who the hell a person was without passion; without something they stood for and believed in. I said this in observation of someone else. I said something along the lines of “What does she stand for? She lacks passion. She’s too worried about what others think of her to concern herself with what she thinks of herself.” I vowed not to become a person like that, to always know who I am and what I stand for. So whether it’s advocating for my health or speaking my mind about something specific, I want to come in fighting strong. I feel like hell, but I do not have to look like hell and I don’t have to ever act weak because I am NOT. I am human. I have horrible, bad days. I am stressed, functioning on no sleep and very little caffeine, and there are days I want to break down and hide. But ultimately, I don’t have a choice in the matter. I am doing my BEST. It sucks, it’s not easy, and there are days where I live in pure fear of how far I have fallen, but no matter what, no one will ever be able to say I had zero passion or thought.

She is brave, she is strong.
She will get up whenever she falls.
She knows herself inside and out.
And though she may face challenges, 
she will face them with courage and hope.
And though she be but little,
she is fierce. -William Shakespeare

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.