Me and My poor quality of life are going upstairs….

September 7, 2011 Amy Disability StuffPatient-nessRandomResidency

I have been in 7-8/10 right hip pain post-call for about a month and half.

Yesterday was Grand Rounds and I was post call. It was on chronic pain in connective tissue disorders….NO REALLY it was.  I slumped in the back, ate my oatmeal and hoped that sleep would overtake me quickly. It was all fun and games while the geneticist gave an explanation of connective tissue disorders. Then the rheumatologist went on about Fibromyalgia and JIA.  I drifted in and out. Then the psychologist got up to talk and went on about chronic pain and patients (our) poor quality of life.  And how much they (we) feel persecuted in the hospital when they come seeking meds and how they pass up activites they would otherwise enjoy and then how there is a higher rate of suicide. They went on to talk about new research studies that were ongoing looking at day hospital treatment for chronic pain. and cognitive therapy.

I sat there in the corner in my imaginary white coat (I never wear one, it scares kids) and shook my sleepy head at this. Its all fun and games until someone misses the point.  Maybe part of why we have a higher rate of suicide and “poor quality of life “is not so much our pain but the medicine we use to treat it. And medicine in the literal and larger sense.

What if instead of taking our chronic pain patients out of society and out of school to be in a day hospital program, we find ways to help them engage in life? What if instead of giving narcotics like candy to our sickle cell population, we tired alternate methods or we at least stop complaining about how they are addicts because WE (the doctors WE) gave them their addiction!! What if we stop trying to make pain less depressing and find ways to make life more worth living? What is our goal, be pain free, or be living our lives?

I agree grand rounds friends, chronic pain is a mind game.

But its some what clear to me that you have never played.

Chronic pain is a series of choices.  Difficult choices. Defining choices but choices never the less.  Every day you wake up and you decide what rules today?  My life or my pain?  Do I fit my pain around my life or fit my life around my pain?  You can tiptoe around on eggshells and slip and fall or you can run and not look back.  You don’t choose to live with pain but you do choose to live to the fullest. TO live with joy. To live with gratitude.

Doctors, all the study show we are actually quite bad at understanding what “quality of life” means to our patients so maybe we should listen to them.

I rolled my eyes and my wheels and took my poor quality of life upstairs to rounds and helped save some lives. Then I went home, had a mug of tea, a long bath and a nap. I woke up and read a book, went to bible study, came home and finished the book.

Like I said me and my poor quality of life…..


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