I’ve been a bit quiet these last few days. I do my ‘sabbath’ thing Friday evening through to Saturday evening, then Sunday I just wanted to chill.
As you know dear reader, I emailed my G.P. to ask why I have to wait another 5 weeks to see the specialist, and I had no reply.
Today I went for a medication review with the G.P. – who didn’t know why I was there but improvised – then with broaching the heart specialist question, I had to reiterate my symptoms a number of times: I am not having chest spasms or neuropathic pain; I should know the difference considering how many years that I’ve suffered!
My new symptoms follow the classic heart problem ‘angina’: increasing and crushing heart pain that travels down the left arm; becoming more excruciating over time; profuse sweating; shortness of breath; subsiding after 15-20 minutes or within 4-5 minutes if I use the angina spray under my tongue. But no, the cardiac consultant is still thinking along the lines of a neurological problem apparently, which I can guarantee it is NOT!
So it will be 4 months down the line from the beginning of the illness, when I see the cardiac consultant again in 2 months time; I don’t see the point really if I’m not to be taken seriously. Heart and cancer problems are supposed to be urgent, and not left months at a time with little treatment. Had I been male without any other health problems and someone of a higher status I feel that I would have been attended too more quickly; maybe not, but that’s how it feels. Can you imagine being told you have cancer, then that you’d have to wait another 2 months to see a consultant, and then go on a waiting list to have tests that should have been completed 4 months previously? Consider this: my carer’s partner collapsed last week and he’s getting the tests done immediately, with the results given the following week; at the place that my other carer works, the lady of the house who is poorly had the tests the following week after seeing the G.P.: why is this?
I can feel myself getting stressed at this moment; I know that I’ll have a bad night tonight now. People are starting to do that questioning thing again with me too, asking how it is possible to be kept waiting for the appropriate tests IF it is so urgent, as if somehow I’m putting the whole thing on.
It’s basically been the story of my illnesses right from childhood. Due to certain G.P.s not wanting to be proved wrong for example, I had to wait until a new doctor joined my surgery before I was treated for asthma. I was 19 by then, and could have died many times over, just for the sake of pride. A Scottish doctor had properly diagnosed me when I collapsed with asthma on holiday when I was 10, and my home surgery doctors disputed this and told my mum that I was ‘putting it on’.
Can you imagine what that feels like when you’re a child and very very sick? As ill as I’ve been these last 20 years the memories of the serious situation I was in are on a par with what’s happening now. I’ll always remember how frightening it was to be hardly able to breathe, to really feel as if you’re dying, apart from the continual bronchitis that caused me to miss so much school; day after day terribly ill and in bed; not allowed to play outside in the summer; spoiling every holiday we ever had. And I was ‘putting it on’ eh?
Then to have to go through what I did with neurologists and ‘pain [deniers] specialists’ all these years, who largely disputed that my severe symptoms were physically based, rather psychologically based, even contradicting what symptoms other specialists had diagnosed and given me medication for! Going as far as to state that I’m some kind of fantasist who hasn’t got a degree, and that all of my symptoms are rooted in ‘panic attacks’ (I swear, that if one more consultant say this I will not be held responsible for my actions!). The only anxiety that I’ve had was and is caused by doctors!
Anyway, thank goodness I do have a G.P. who actually listens to me; as I’ve said before, I’d be dead if it hadn’t have been for her. Then I found a neurologist that listened too, but now he’s back home in South Africa. It’s made me hypersensitive over the years I suppose with those earlier experiences, to accusations that there is ‘nothing wrong’ when it’s obvious that there is something terribly amiss.
As my friend says, when you’re ill they tell you you’re not, and when you say you’re feeling well they contradict you. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it always sounds good when she says it.
I’m blabbing on now; lazy blog today. I’m 52 and should have more faith in the medical profession I suppose, but then, medicine isn’t something we should have faith in, rather it’s based on science, empirical evidence, and competence, so it’s something we surely have confidence in? Mnnn track record so far: no worries then.