Thursday, 5 January 2012

There Once Was a Woman with Fibro

There once was a woman with fibro
Whose doctor just laughed when she said so.
“The good news,” he said
“Is it’s all in your head.”
Now all they can find is his torso!

Admit it! If you’ve had fibromyalgia for awhile, or maybe just received the news, you’ve probably run across someone you’ve wanted to strangle because they just… don’t… get it! Maybe they think you’re faking. Maybe they think you’re nuts. Maybe they, like Dr. Norton Hadler, just think you’re feeling “out of sorts”, and all you need to do is snap out of it.

Comments or insinuations like this can lead you to looking frantically for legal loopholes that justify homicide… or at least dismemberment. But let me take a minute to give five reasons WHY so many people, including doctors, have trouble swallowing the concept of fibro, and what you can say to them the next time they doubt you.  

First of all, you likely look normal. If you had a 10-pound tumour growing out of your nose or your hair was spontaneously changing color every 17 seconds, they would be more likely to believe you. 

Second, your labs likely all look normal. Haemoglobin – check; serum sodium level – check; blood caffeine level – check.

Third, your X-rays and other imaging tests (if any were ordered) also likely look normal, or near enough to normal that they don’t explain your pain. (Believe it or not, I once ordered a CAT scan of the brain for a patient, and the radiologist’s report came back saying “Nothing seen!” That was the entire report: Nothing seen. So was it the patient who was brainless, or the radiologist?)

Fourth, every so often we read in the paper about some person who wins a 46 billion dollar settlement because someone’s dog peed on their toe, and many people think that chronic pain has just become a game… Fake it ‘til you make it!

And fifth, doctors (and others) invariably cry out – “THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS FIBRO UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO!!!”

Maddening, isn’t it! Now put the knife down and I’ll give you a few good comebacks.

To the comments that you and all your tests LOOK normal, merely ask the critic (doctor or otherwise) if they have ever had a headache. If they say “Of course, you nut job!” just ask them to “Prove it, you lying heap of parrot snot!” Then ask them if they believe in autism? Or in polymyalgia rheumatic (pronounced pah-ley-my-al-jia roo-mat-ika)? Doctors will ask; “Where the hell did you hear of polymyalgia rheumatica?” Everyone else will ask “polymywhatsika?” Either way, you’ll have them stumped, because both autism and polymyalgia rheumatica (pronounced P M R) are well-accepted conditions for which the source of pathology has almost everyone stumped (except, apparently, for one left-handed guy with three teeth living in a trailer in Big Foot, Alberta who’s got EVERYTHING figured out).

To counter the tales of $46,000,000,000 settlements, just ask them: “Do you know WHY that was in the news?” Wait for a second… “Because it’s NEWS, you malodorous imbecile! It DOESN’T happen very often. If you want to fake your way onto easy street, try walking a mile in MY shoes, ESPECIALLY because they happen to be 3 sizes SMALLER than YOUR shoes, so you’ll actually get some sense of what my feet feel like ALL THE FRICKEN' TIME!”

Finally, to counter the criticism that fibromyalgia didn’t even exist until a secret pamphlet went out in 1994 telling people how to act and what to say to piss their doctors off, just smile politely and say: “You moronic pervert! Haven’t you ever heard of Florence Nightingale?” (She was the mother of modern nursing, who just happened to have kept a diary documenting her chronic widespread pain and fatigue over the last 40 years of her life, back in the 1800s).

Then say: “And what about Sir Alfred Nobel, who had more brains in his left big toe than you’ve had in your entire family over six generations?” (The father of the Nobel Prizes, he wrote letters documenting his widespread pain and fatigue, also in the 1800s.)

“And what about the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne? You snivelling piece of…”

You get the picture!  Calm, but poignant comebacks to put everyone back on the same page.

So now… put all your knives back in the drawer and hold your head up high… that is, if you have the strength to sit up!

Kevin P. White, MD, PhD

No comments:

Post a Comment