They were talking to us all as if we'd all had some injury/surgery we're all recovering from and will be fine in a couple of months and how the pain receivers in our brains are the same ones for depression so anti depressants cure chronic pain. Which I guess is cool if that's what your problem is. Four hours in and the guy in the front row asks "What about arthritis?" and the doctor says "oh no that's different". Insert more Samuel L Jackson monologue here. At the end we're given a form where we can request who we want to see so I just ticked all of the boxes: Doctor because I'd like some pain killers I don't have severe reactions too, Physio incase they know something my physio doesn't, OT because they can help me move and Psychologist because why not. The problem here was there was allegedly a minimum 3 month wait for physio and a minimum 9 month wait for OT.
Yesterday I had my appointment with the doctor. My appointment was almost an hour late even though I was the only person there and then I didn't even see the doctor listed on my letter. I get a woman who just smiled and had her condescending pants on. She had her mind made up before I even entered the room - I DON'T HAVE PAIN, I HAVE DEPRESSION.
What. The. Fuck.
This was followed with "Everyone has arthritis" and "Everyone has kyphosis" and my favourite "Everyone has a curved spine, it means nothing". I stood there telling her the doctor at the induction said anti depressants don't help arthritis. She just smiled and shook her head no. Made me take off my shirt where she informed me my back looks just like X, Y and Z's (meanwhile other specialists have commented straight away they can tell I have a problem just looking at me with all my clothes on!) and how everyone's spine has a curve. I'm fully aware of how a spine looks. I've seen enough of them. I even did a project on spines during my fine arts course and my GP at the time let me borrow some anatomy posters. The photo below is an MRI of a completely healthy spine on the left with mine on the right. They are SO SIMILIAR (please tell me you caught the sarcasm there?).
While technically Scheuermann's Disease is discussed as Kyphosis/Lordosis because at the end of the day these are very different conditions. I shouldn't have to explain this to a person who allegedly went over my files and checked my MRI's (which apparently look totally normal). Kyphosis is generally from slouching or being overweight and some physio or weight training can correct it. We have a whole generation that slouched over computers, playstations and now smart phones. Sit on a train and everyone is looking down at their phones. It's really no surprise that kyphosis would be something common. Scheuermann's is a growth defect where the vertebrae grow incorrectly forming the curve but not everyone with Scheuermann's looks alike either. There are people who look completely normal standing up but if they bend over there's a strange hump just randomly in the middle of their spine. Others have a prominent 'hump' right at the top. I suppose I'm lucky that from the outside it's just one big curve but I'm super self conscious of it. I notice it when I see my reflection and it's the first thing on my mind when choosing what to wear if I leave the house. I'm not even comfortable taking a photo of myself and I've considered it for the purpose of my blogs.
So with my shirt off she got me to raise my arms while asking where things hurt. Pain doesn't kick in within a second of doing something but I felt like a circus monkey and completely exposed. Then I had to take my shoes and socks off while she got me to walk to the door and back, then again but this time on my toes, then again on my heels..what this has to do with my spine I don't know. Then I had to lay on the bed and raise each leg and her big evaluation was "you're just unfit". Move over Sherlock..it's a bit hard to stay fit when you can't exercise properly. I'd love nothing more to resume to normal activities and lose weight!
The entire appointment was just her harping on that I don't have pain, I'm depressed and unfit and I need medication. She even pointed out my fidgeting as if that proved her case. Who isn't nervous seeing a new doctor, especially when they haven't had the best luck with them? That literally proves nothing. I was also pissy but she wasn't picking that up at all. She then randomly asks me if I had a traumatic childhood, not sure what that has to do with anything but said yes and randomly threw out one particular thing. She then asked me if I was abused. This must have been the first time in my life my poker face was on because she wasn't picking up the fact I was biting my tongue from snapping, I've been told I look like I want to punch someone over less. I actually have an aunt who firmly believes I was, she let me know this when I was 29. I was just dumbstruck, what do you do with that kind of information just blurted at you? I've blanked a large part of my childhood and only remember bad things so I'm pretty sure I'd remember that if it happened. But mostly I wondered if she REALLY thought that why didn't she do something? I mean she helped have my stepdad arrested because she thought she saw him on Australia's Most Wanted when I was 11. Clearly she has no problem dobbing people into authorities. Nope, this doctor is dead set that I could be wrong on that too. She wouldn't listen to anything I said including how I was very fit before everything suddenly got worse. I was walking at least an hour a day, I was out photographing concerts and events, even just a normal photoshoot would have me looking like I might be on speed between being on the floor to being on the furniture. Then in the space of a month I was struggling to walk around my own unit. That improved but I still couldn't walk more than 10 minutes on the treadmill after that. Walking now is dependent on the surface and if I'm carrying anything or how I woke up. Then around mid last year problems started increasing and the last few months my back would lock up. Until then it had only happened once at my first go of hydrotherapy. Since cutting right back on how much I do I have managed to avoid that since January but the area that locks up was also the area that the MRI picked up osteoarthritis etc so I had an answer for what was going on there. As far as she was concerned nope thats not a physical problem something clearly happened in my life to trigger my depression off. Literally NOTHING happened in my life. It was same shit different day. I was super excited to have a space to work in and working on project ideas. I guess I just couldn't handle the excitement of it all. This woman literally believes I need a psychiatrist and anti depressants. I gave up talking. She asked me if I had anything to say and shook my head no. I'd have a better conversation with the wall. Not only was I irritated that she wasn't helping me with my pain, but my GP and psychologists I've seen have all respected my decision to not want to take anti depressants. I was put on them when I was 20 and I barely remember that year. I know they work for some people and that's great, but I know what works for me. I know when I'm hitting a low point and I'll get someone to talk too. I have severe depression but it's manageable and doesn't stop me from working or anything else.
She eventually gave me a script for pain killers and emphasised how this is just a bandaid on my situation and won't actually help me...and not to abuse them and wants to see me in 3-4 weeks. I've NEVER abused a drug in my life. I've had multiple occasions where the pain has been severe and I forget I have pain relief in the house, plus you also don't want to move to get them. If I'm at home I'll avoid them as much as possible because at home I can rest til it passes and I have heatpacks. I don't even remember I have alcohol in the house. I have a bottle of vodka I was given 4 years ago untouched. Wait, 2..addiction is clearly something I never have to worry about.
AND NOW WE'RE HERE...
So next Monday I get to see my GP again. That guy is a total legend except he has a tendency to forget how old I am and will think he has the wrong records up which is just amusing. Previously when I saw him for something and I'd told him about the Pain Management induction, all of the "it's in your head" talk and how long the wait times were he sat back in his chair with his arms crossed, scowled and asked which hospital it was again. I tell him and what left his mouth almost had me laughing because not once in roughly five years I've been seeing him have I heard him swear - and on Monday I get to tell him he's right. They are wankers who can't do their jobs.