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My final bellyache - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
My final bellyache
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j4 From: j4 Date: June 9th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: if you're in pain and knacked no job is the right job

I don't know how to get the blood tests -- if you try to tell GPs what to do, they just wash their hands of you completely. As I said in comment above, most of the GPs I've seen have said "Hm, dunno, try Gaviscon". They're just not interested. I think they assume that a thirtysomething woman with non-specific stomach pains is just a whingey attention-seeker with internet-related depression.

One GP (about two years ago) did wonder if I had gallbladder problems & actually got me an ultrasound for that, but when it didn't show anything he started muttering about stress/counselling/etc. It just makes me so angry. I don't need someone with qualifications in psychoanalysis to tell me "being in pain makes people more tired and stressed and cross than usual"!

The problem is, I go through phases when it's really bad and phases when it's just a bit uncomfortable, but when I have the really bad phases I can't get to a doctor in time to get them checked out while there might be something there to see because you can so rarely get an appointment in under a week unless it's "a medical emergency", so they prod my stomach when it's back to "normal" (ie just a bit rubbish) and can't find anything. I can't pretend I'm dying just to get them to inspect me while I'm actually ill. :-(

Grrrhh sorry. I don't mean to be all negative about what you're saying. Just.... grrrrhhhh.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 9th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: if you're in pain and knacked no job is the right job

I think they tell you in GP training: "Looking at the symptoms and listening to the patient will help you diagnose the problem... unless of course they've had mental health problems in the past, or they're overweight, in which case you can just assume that all their problems must be because they're depressed/mad/fat. Tell them to cheer up/lose some weight, that'll sort it."

Did you get a test for helicobacter pylori?
j4 From: j4 Date: June 9th, 2009 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: if you're in pain and knacked no job is the right job

I would love to cheer up and lose some weight.

I can't remember what they tested for the last time it got really bad (apart from the ultrasound for gallbladder stuff which didn't find anything), I think they did do a couple of blood tests actually but god knows what for. That was in Cambridge though so it must have been oh my god over 2 years ago.

(The problem with asking GPs to test for specific things... well. I still remember the look I got when some GP ages ago told me that there was no way Prozac could be anything to do with the side-effects I was getting, and I said "but I looked it up in the BNF and it lists it as a known side-effect". Basically if you actually do your homework then you're obviously either a nasty little smart-arse or a hypochondriac.)

I think another part of the problem here is that I know my mum has similar problems sometimes so part of me just thinks at myself "oh for god's sake, all women get this, stop whining". And when it's in the "just uncomfortable" phases I think "I can't go to the doctor for a bit of trapped wind when PEOPLE ARE DYING OF TEH AIDS CANCER etc". Though then that leads into the "If I can't cope with a bit of stomach pain I am never going to be able to have children", which then reminds me "Oh wait, stomach doom means that I have about as much sex drive as a bowl of overcooked lettuce, so I am never going to have children anyway and furthermore I am not fulfilling my duties as a Wife so it's no wonder if he hates me and wants to shag prettier women", which is frankly only one stroke of black eyeliner away from "I HATE MYSELF AND I WANT TO DIE".

Also, my parents don't understand me, and I wasn't allowed to keep a bear in my room. :-}

I think I need a "fucking emo badger" icon, maybe.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 9th, 2009 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: if you're in pain and knacked no job is the right job

I have so, so much to say about the way mainstream medicine intersects with culture, but your LJ is not the place to do it. All I would say is that sometimes, with the best will in the world, GPs don't give you the best advice.

You've tried the Gaviscon, you've done what you were told, and it isn't working, so you're justified in going back to ask them to look again. I know this advice is eerily similar to the advice you'd get about a work grievance, but anyway: keep a diary. Record your symptoms every day, as dispassionately as you can. Maybe give the pain a score between 1 and 10. GPs are used to people who say "It hurts all the time" and they've learnt to discount that kind of language. It's harder to ignore someone who says "This is what I've been experiencing over the past month".
htfb From: htfb Date: June 9th, 2009 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)

medical emergency

The on-the-day appointments are there to be taken up. It doesn't have to be the sort of emergency that takes you to hospital---they've got hospitals for that.

FWIW, I have just had blood tests taken for everything under the sun (they missed out malaria, but not a lot else) by getting the form from a specialist with very little interest in, eg, my chloresterol levels. Once you're referred past the gatekeeper GPs things get a bit more flexible.

The whole system is intensely frustrating, though.
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: June 9th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

oh, not at all

-- if you've had the blood tests, been poked to check that nothing's damaged or broken, aren't obviously leaking blood or other fluids, and had an ultrasound for the gall bladder stuff, you've probably got it covered -- very small gallstones *can* hide from an ultrasound but you wouldn't expect it to happen.

So, onto the stress, I have a history of stress related pain myself, and take the following tack with Doctors; yes, stress may be causing it, but I still need to stop it, what can I do? They can be very unhelpful (stop having such a stressful life? Er, right...), but occasionally I get something useful.

So, stomach pain -- I went to a Doctor when I was getting very bad persistent pain in my stomach. He poked me around a bit and agreed that the whole area would be tender, yes, because I had hurt myself by repeatedly tensing my muscles in anxiety. Then the pain had started worrying me, leading to me getting more stressed, leading to me tensing up more, which made it more painful, and more worrying, and so on. He suggested I try consciously relaxing the muscles, which I probably should have figured out for myself, but I'd been thinking the pain was coming from my internal organs or something. I found that helpful (certainly more helpful than counselling*, anyway, which always left me feeling more stressed -- but that was later and for something entirely different) and while I still get stomach pain, I don't get it as bad as I used to -- because if I'm awake I can step in and force myself to relax.

House stress at the moment, though, and you can't really turn that off, it's too fundamental. It feels like someone's kicked me in a flying rib. Thanks so much to our buyer's exchange anxiety. I can stop myself during the day, but at night the stresses all come out. Could be worse, though -- my little sister grinds her teeth!

*I have friends and family who have benefited from therapy which concentrates on methods for breaking cycles of stress like the one you describe ("being in pain makes people more tired and stressed and cross than usual")
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