[Tripping On…] Physical Therapy Reunion, Part 26

When I was went to physical therapy, and concluded my sessions, I thought, well, there’s nothing more that could be done here, we have to proceed to our next steps. Going back and talking to the same physical therapist might seem embarrassing to some, but it was helpful, diagnostically, because they already knew me and could see how much worse my health has gotten. The muscle in my left leg is weaker than my right.

I shared my doctor horror stories since leaving physical therapy.

I don’t recall writing directly about leaving the pain specialist’s office, being told there was nothing more they could to do to help my pain, and sending me to the ER, where they gave me Ativan because they were treating my spinal pain as an anxiety attack. Sure, I was hyperventilating and getting anxious, but that was because the discs in my spine were so aggravated that my body was shutting down. So they treated that. Even after I gave them the documentation, told them that the pain specialist could advise them on what was going on, and had someone else present, they still treated me like garbage at the ER, ignored everything I said, and ignored me for long enough for my body to begin shutting down before they coaxed the anxiety reaction out of me necessary to give me an anxiety diagnosis to send me along my way, so I basically looked at all of that as a terrible nightmare of a reality that I had to endure.

Turns out… that’s not how patients should be treated…?

With the documentation and this story, my physical therapist that had before had done his best to guide me along through workouts that for a person in reasonable health can be reasonable, now, he just said to focus on the most minor things possible to start a baseline. I can turn to my right for 20 seconds before I start to feel pain. I can turn to my left for 11 seconds before I start to feel pain. That pain shouldn’t prevent me from doing anything else, even though between waiting in the waiting room to fill out paperwork, sitting and standing, my spine was definitely hurting much more than it normally does. That is a minor, insignificant amount of movement and yet it was still significantly painful for me.

I told him it seems like most doctors don’t understand chronic pain.

He told me that he has family members that have chronic pain so he understands. I almost wonder if doctors study through all these years of theory but forget to look at the patient. I was not looking at any point to get high. The only thing I want is to wake up and go to bed without being impaired by my body, which is not currently possible. Somewhere along the way, the doctors I worked with failed to look at me as a patient or as a human being, and treated me in ways that one should never be treated, which led me to where I am today. I was hopeless, burning through all of my energy just to make it through the day, and finding life all too intolerable, and all of this could have been avoided with just some simple human empathy.

It does feel nicer to be validated through all this pain.

Although it’s commonly stated that you wouldn’t wish pain like this on even your worst enemy, I would wish pain like this on every single doctor that hasn’t experienced at least three days in a row of chronic pain. After the third day, they can get their little medical badge on their lapel congratulating them for passing that test. The reason for that is my old primary care physician couldn’t seem to understand the least bit about what was going on, sent my case along to the pain specialist who was more concerned with fashion than his patients, and some of these medical professionals I’ve been working with seem to only be doing it for vanity and the paycheck. I understand the medical profession is a difficult job. That doesn’t excuse bad behavior by bad doctors.

These and other doctors will not be punished for their poor behaviors toward patients.

We should not hold doctors in reverence, except after they do their jobs. We can appreciate them the same way we appreciate a plumber doing a difficult job, but if the plumber fucks around, are you going to praise them and consider them godly? I would hope not, and maybe it’s through my years in healthcare IT, but I consider plumbers and doctors to have the same sort of general mentality. They – we – you – I – everyone – we’re all human. None more important. None less important. Your skills may save my life someday. I might save your life someday. That doesn’t make either of us better than the other.

This was a long tangent, but I suppose it goes back to the point of rebuildings.

My physical therapist said that surgery will be more taxing on my body than the exercises we do, so he recommended we see how things go over the next few sessions. After my sharing session, I came up with the idea of asking for a different pain specialist through a different location, so I did. If can’t do anything without feeling pain, then my pain thresholds are probably maxed out. If I have any chance of physical therapy succeeding at all, then I need the help of an empathetic doctor that won’t talk over me, won’t treat me like garbage – as I told the insurance company – and is actually invested in helping me feel better, rather than kicking me to the curb as soon as the first round of medications he tried failed. Everything I wrote here is the truest expression of my honesty I can express. Not a word of exaggeration.

I feel the need to say that just in case anyone is profoundly dumbstruck.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Sometimes, you have to get dragged through the worst elements of life before life can start to feel better.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 August 05 [6:48pm to 7:12pm]
Last Edited: 2020 August 05 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.