By this essay’s publication, it will have been one year since my surgery. I am writing this essay in mid-July, and, the surgery that promised to cure what ailed me still has not kicked in. I’ve been fighting against an apathetic series of doctors for so long that today, when I talked to a doctor, not only was he optimistic over the challenge of taking on my case, but he also suggested a possible diagnosis.
In 6 days, we’ll confirm if it could be sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Even if the diagnosis changes to something else, and even if the route to recovery takes me months, it is still significantly better than anything else I’ve encountered since April 2020. I feel like I’ve been kicked around by the many doctors that proclaimed to be there to serve me. They didn’t give a shit about me. They wanted me out the door as quickly as they could and some barely even tried. This doctor didn’t have any of my charts, as did one of the sports medicine doctors – that I had met in person no less, but he was willing to talk with me about what was going on. Unlike one of the surgeon’s office doctors that bullied me around and ordered a neck MRI to address my lower back and tailbone issues, who said that he really cared about me and wanted to help me get better only to have his assistant send me off elsewhere, this doctor didn’t say he cared but actually seemed to care.
We’ll see next week, of course.
But it’s incredibly good news for me because with a diagnosis, that means I’m not some fucking junkie loser like I’ve been accused of, but actually legitimately disabled as I am. I can’t go to the grocery store without careful logistical efforts. I have to think about going days in advance. I have to plan for the amount of energy I’ll have to go, and if I don’t have that amount of energy when I wake up, then I can’t go. I have to park far away because no doctor has provided me a disabled parking pass. I have to slowly walk through the grocery store, handling items carefully so as not to drop them and be unable to pick them up, and if the item is too heavy I can’t purchase it, because I need to bring it up the flight of stairs to my apartment without an elevator.
This is not a life of luxury I live.
It is a life full of misery and it should be a tragedy to the American Healthcare System. The doctors that all saw me and ignored me should have this experience for one day. That might be enough for them to stop looking the other way. Maybe this doctor has experienced something like my life for one day, or maybe I’m being optimistic only to have the rug pulled out from under me again, as it has happened again, and again, and again for so many months that I have truly resigned from imagining a life of ever being able to do anything physical again. But what if that doesn’t have to be the case, and what if this doctor can actually help?
What if the sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be cured?
What I have experienced should never happen to another human being again – especially not in “the greatest healthcare system in the entire world.” That fucking lie needs to stop or it needs to actually become true because I sure has hell didn’t get a fair shake from them. I’ve been treated like a subhuman not even worthwhile. My life did not matter to the many doctors I saw. I was trash to them. That behavior of doctors like this needs to stop. Now, you might be saying, “well, Zombiepaper, surely you must be exaggerating. There’s no way that our holy doctors in America could be like that?” I would say about 75% of the experiences I had from the 20+ doctors I saw were like that.
Part of my journey, especially if I can recover from this, will be to change this.
I’ve been very unlucky for a few reasons, but lucky for a few other reasons. What would have happened had I not had insurance? What about the dedicated focus to dealing with this? I could have given up. I could have killed myself and got it all over with, as many other patients of the American Healthcare System dealing with chronic pain have done. It’s a terrible tragedy that pain management doctors murder their patients in this way, and indirectly, too, so that they continue to pretend to be the heroes when really they are either causing the drug epidemic in the United States or preventing patients from living decent lives.
The power of doctors is unregulated and under-managed.
Recording phone calls and visits with doctors is a powerful tool you can have to prevent their manipulation. It’s not all about power. Most of the time, doctors will stay medical jargon so quickly that you can barely understand it. How about people for whom English is not their first language? How many doctors have manipulated their patients into diagnoses using manipulation tactics like this? How cruel I must be and how angered I must be by the doctors I’d seen to feel this way. I am talking like a crazy person, aren’t I?Well, recording your conversations with doctors isn’t purely a power trip, but it can trip up power.
Bad doctors don’t like being recorded.
They don’t like being on the record giving bunk advice, because what I think insurance companies should really do is take on the responsibility of monitoring the diagnoses and behaviors of doctors. I reported two doctors to my previous insurance company and both reports returned with physical letters to me stating that they received the complaints. The first was a silly little apology and the second was a statement that they would investigate why a doctor failed to give me a diagnosis and assist. I believe that if more patients speak out, fewer situations like mine and others will happen.
Sure, I might be a highly specialized case, and, there’s a pandemic.
But these are excuses to justify why this shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s easy to dismiss me as just some loser, as I’ve been dismissed all my life, and that’s a shame. The thing is, though, despite everyone else expressing that I’m a loser, I don’t feel that way. I feel like I’m not a winner, but I’m certainly not worthy of the kind of abuse that I’ve experienced at the hands of doctors of the American Healthcare System, as I have experienced the abuse from many abusers throughout my entire life. I don’t believe that’s fair. I don’t believe that people like me should be excluded from society for no reason. What did I do to deserve this? Did I kill anyone? No. Then why should I be treated worse than a criminal just for trying to get the treatment I needed to continue contributing to a society that might need my talents?
So, I’m a loser, but I shouldn’t think of myself as a loser, huh?
It’s all stupid garbage and they are the ones that are abusive and need to change, not me. I am the one that’s trying to work within the system as best I can, as corrupt as it may be, and there is little more than a diagnosis that I can cling to as hope for ever getting the chance to do anything a “normal” person gets to do without any hesitation. When was the last time you went to the grocery store? How easy was it for you? How much of a life of luxury do you live compared to me? If you spare even one ounce of empathy for my situation, then you might be able to see why I know that I’m not alone in this. I might be able to walk so that I can then help others walk as well.
These essays will help.
I have written perhaps the single most comprehensive look into the mind of someone that has dealt with chronic pain from start to finish of anyone that has ever lived. I couldn’t say that definitively, but I’ve written about the entire process to as much detail as I could. I don’t think I left much off the table, other than the absolutely worst parts I felt or experienced. I’d been writing for years before my pain began in April 2020 and since I had already built up the format, system, and discipline to write, I continued along through. Even the day before and day after my surgery, I wrote.
I may need to edit these essays down for publication.
I’m sure no one will want to have these essays published, so I will need to do it myself. I’m sure most of them retread the same ground multiple times, so most of them are redundant, but that’s OK. I wrote about 15 months of hell. 15 months of the worst experiences a doctor could ever imagine giving to a patient. Yeah, fuck them. They should be held accountable for that which they inflicted on me, and others. I am not the only one and if my experiences can help out anyone to understand how it’s like to live life like me, then it will be worthwhile. My life had no value to many of the doctors of the American Healthcare System. They didn’t care at all, so, what’s my gamble for going along with this plan – especially if my health can improve?
It will be a story of home for persistence and fighting back against a malicious system.
I don’t want money or blood from the doctors that wronged me. I want system-wide reform. I want doctors like them and many others to be held accountable for their actions. The money I paid for doctors to give me bad advice is money down the drain. They were able to afford their luxury vehicles with my money, sure, but I don’t want it back. I want their luxury vehicles to be earned through actually helping patients, so the ones that do might only have to deal with some logistics involved with the primary thing I think will help – every patient and doctor interaction should be recorded, sent along to independent advisors to review, and the patient should be able to “go off the record” if they want.
Sure, that would be wasteful for some situations.
However, I think something like that would instill a sense of doing the right thing all of the time for patients because they can’t not. If doctors like the most recent sports medicine doctor or the second pain management doctor who were both going to give me bad advice until they both remembered that I was recording, before changing gears, were recorded from the start, well, they’d either be canned long before they saw you and me, or they’d shape up and be the great doctors they’re currently touted as in all situations, not just the ones that would get them prestige. If the case is too difficult, sure, fine, whatever. Transfer the patient and make sure the care is handled correctly. Throughout these many doctors visits, I was reminded of how “patient care” was the top priority when I worked for four years in healthcare IT, and then when I was a patient, how seldom I felt like my patient care was a priority at all. It’s probably some cruel joke that I’m not in on. I might be murdered by the American Healthcare System by trying to change it in this way, but they didn’t seem to care when they could have avoided all of this in the first place, so who knows, maybe it’ll be an easy win.
Maybe I’ll kick all the right asses back into shape – for patient care.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 221.5
– Last week’s weight: 221.0
– Weight Difference: Less than a pound.
– Difference between writing and editing for publication: I had the injection in my sacroiliac joint on August 29 and I’ve felt relief. The process was much less stressful than the last injection, and the results feel like they might last. I’ll have a follow-up call with my doctor in two weeks to confirm, but in the meantime, I will do what I can to physically get around, stockpile food and do other things that can make sure that I am ready in case this is, also, a temporary two-week relief, rather than the long-term relief that I need.
|Inspirations: The day I wrote this is the day this essay published about how I felt like I would never get better. Now, I might. But who really knows?|
|Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2021 July 20 [10:24pm to 11:01pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 July 20 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|