As you may recall I received this reply to my post about doctors, patients and money from someone who self-described as an anaesthesiologist and pain specialist:
"...I get lied to and BS'd everyday by people
trying to tell how to do my job, which usually involves them telling me that the
only thing that will work in Oxycodone, not PT, CBT, BF, TENS, Diet, Sleep
modification, Smoking Cessation, daily exercise, leaving an abusive spouse,
stopping a job that is eating up their mind, soul and body, etc..."
I wrote in response a post about the need for equality and partnership with the doctor, as opposed to being adversaries.
As a chronic pain patient, what is our obligation? Is it different then the relationship between cancer patient and oncologist, endocrinologist and diabetic, general practitioner and someone with a cold?
To some degree I think the answer is "Yes."
In the other examples the doctor tends to have visible, lab based proof of the patients' problem and condition. He needs to rely on a cancer patient for the truth about their level of pain, but in that situation the truth is, by all accounts I know, accepted as reality. Cancer and pain is a known combination.
We, on the other hand, have to be believed to be treated.
My disorder, trigeminal neuralgia, used to be very specific with few, if any, parameters outside of the textbook definition and description. (They have extended the signs and symptoms so it is now no longer an automatically immediately identificable disorder.)
CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome) does have visible effects. Fibromyalgia, soft tissue injuries , other invisible treatment resistant pain often does not. Treatment is reliant upon trust.
That trust is often broken when a patient comes in and says "I need oxycodone (or vicodin, or codeine, or other opiate)." It can also be breached when the doctor says, "Let's try PT (or another treatment) and the response is "I did that. Didn't work. I won't try it again."
The truth is some patients are liars, BS'ers, untrustworthy as angry doctor said. Even for those who are not it can be hard to be believed if we are demanding. To go again to the cancer analogy, it is, I am going to make an assumption here, the rare person who says, I need tomaxacin (or other specific chemo drug, or drug.)."
How do we fix this?
Instead of asserting I need, I want, we need to work together.
"I have been on vicodin and it has helped me greatly. I would like to continue with that drug. What is your position on it?" "I have tried PT, etc and have not had a benefit from it. Is there a reason you believe it now can help me?" Make it a conversation, not either side bullying the other. They may have forgotten, or not know, what has been tried, they may have another therapist who works in a different way, the name of the treatment sounds the same but it is not, and so on. They may have opiod policies with which you disagree. If you decide to stay it makes no sense to ask for what will not be given/prescribed.
"How dare he not give me that!" "I know what I need and he has no right not to give it to me." I have heard people say, "I am going to sue because he did not give me what I said I needed."
There is sometimes a belief that a physician must give us what we want, no matter what.
Angry doctor is sad. I feel sorry for him. He soes sound, as one commenter wrote, 'burned out'.
Nevertheless, his unwritten point can be valid. If we are demanding we may well seem like liars and BS'ers. We both, doctor and patient, have a responsibility to bring common sense and conversation into the examining room.
And leave the demands and tantrums outside.
What do you think?