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Insensitive colleagues

Jess JustjessJJess Justjess Posts: 44
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone. So to update, I have chronic neck and upper back pain, nerve pain going down my left arm, have had RF with good relief but have not had that since 2009 and need it. I had a baby in between then and now and now my insurance is denying it even though they paid for the injections to confirm it would help. I had a "flare" after I fell and landed on my back and recently saw my doctor and she increased my medication dosages, didn't do any xrays or anything like that though. She thinks its just a flare up. I hope she's right but its been awhile since I fell and its not better. The medication is making me feel better though so thats good, its making me at least functional. And she was good with me, not at all implying any kind of drug seeking so I"m happy about that. I think I am just paranoid but here's why. See, I am an occupational/hand therapist and I work with OTs and PTs in my department. Today, something happened at work that sort of justifies my paranoia. So I am actually in the group of therapists that are going to start treating chronic pain patients in the new pain management program. One of my coworkers started talking about one of her patient's experiences with the new pain management doctor. Apparently, he gave this patient, who is a lesbian, a 15 minute lecture on religion and on how President Obama's new healthcare program is so terrible! So then this therapist said, "well you have to be a certain kind of person to treat pain patients, you have to be firm with them" And she said that she thought she would be the one they will "walk all over" and one of my other coworkers said, "I couldn't put up with that population, they are so whiny!" And there was some other stuff said too. I sort of sat there with my mouth open, I was shocked and didn't know what to say. I mean these are my BEST FRIENDS and they know that I have chronic pain! They know about my past RFs and I have been on restrictions from time to time. They have NO IDEA what we go through on a daily basis. How getting out of bed, dressed, and ready to go is a task in and of itself and it can't even be accomplished if we didn't have our meds which they accuse us of being addicted to. I am so hurt by their comments! And I think they had no idea that they hurt my feelings but it justified my feelings of paranoia. And the funny thing is, about 1/2 hour earlier, my friend Amy was saying how she thought the surgeon I work with discriminated against overweight people and she said she thinks its terrible and she knows she is sensitive to that issue because she is overweight. It was so ironic that just 30 minutes later, here she is being inconsiderate toward ME! And I have never said anything inconsiderate about overweight people. I just don't know what to think! I think nobody really understands and I am just alone in this issue and its an invisible disability, but nonetheless a disability so I just have to suffer alone. Anyway, just wanted to vent. I'm glad its a weekend so I have a couple days to get over it before I have to see those kind compassionate coworkers again!
Oh, and my doctor wants me to do another round of therapy so now I have to pick which one of these insensitive people I should let put their hands on me! I picked one, and she wasn't in the room at the time, but even her I have heard say things about "this population." She has been known to not even meet the patient before commenting on their medication list. Nice! But I have to pick someone, so maybe she will change her mind about how this population is when she treats me.


  • Jess,

    Why don't you sit them down and explain what you just said in your post. I know its horrible, but people are just so judgmental and insensitive some times. Maybe you can open their eyes a little. I'll hope for the best.

  • Hi Jess,

    I went through similar happenings at my place of employment for about 2 years until my position was terminated for "decreased job performance". My department all knew what I was going through because I wanted to keep them and the owner in the loop what was happening. I grew up the during the age of responsibility and I had a obligation to the company and that job. "Oh .... not a problem ... do what you need to do ... we understand ... we're so sorry ... blah, blah, blah! Next breath "we're so sick of you complaining about your neck ... go take a pill ... you need to do this or that, well, you get the idea.

    I had a bone spur removed and was back at work 10 days later, only because I feared losing my job. (One call from my supervisor the entire time I was off!) I looked liked I had been shot at and hit! Felt like it too.

    Guess what I am getting at is maybe "back" above has a good suggestion. If these "friends" are true friends, maybe they do not realize what affect the things they said had on you. My case, I just considered the source and moved on, not that it didn't hurt. I was in too much pain to concern myself with the shallowness of these people. Might just try a good old fashion sit down over coffee. Hope things work out for you. You know you always have us!

    Rassy's Story
    Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
    The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.
  • Thanks guys! My husband said the same thing about me sitting them down and talking to them about it. See in my position, he said I actually can help other pain patients by helping them to see that. I mean, what if they said the same thing about all black people, as "that population" then it would be obvious that it is discriminatory but this they don't see that way. Also it ocurred to me that as health care workers, we are obligated to listen. People like me, who never complain at work, should be able to "whine" and "complain" to our health care workers who are dealing directly with that problem. We certainly pay them enough to deal with it, ever see the itemized bills? So I feel that if you can't deal with the "whining" then don't! Get out of the field! Go work with people that aren't sick, injured, or have pain! They do know that I have chronic pain because like I said, they know about my procedures, my few times I took restrictions, oh and last time I did my coworker asked me to have them removed because it was affecting her schedule. Basically, I have to evaluate patients and then she can see them but if I don't (and I wouldn't do certaing patients that required too much physical work), then she doesn't have her schedule filled. But I never complain at work, ever! They notice that I'm in pain from time to time and ask if I'm okay so then I tell them I'm not feeling okay or that my back/neck is really painful today and then they say "oh, thats too bad" and thats the end of it. Oh, and they see me take pills but they don't know what I'm taking. So anyway, thats my thought, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
  • I think you have the right idea! Go get 'em girl! Good thinking. Stay strong. Keep us posted.

    Rassy's Story
    Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
    The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.
  • I agree, please speak with them. You are doing all pain patients a favor by talking to them. As therapists, they need to understand.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
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