Currently I have been undergoing diagnostic tests to see if perhaps another illness could be added to my list of complaints. One might think this is a productive process as information will come from these tests which can be used by my rheumatologist, that can inform treatment. Yes, on paper tests seem like a good idea. But in reality, I think tests are becoming more and more a bad idea. For me anyways. Here are five reasons why:
1. I am hypersensitive to pain. That means that my body receives pain about five to ten times what most other people feel. Therefore, “You will feel a little sting” means nothing to me. With my body, there is no little sting, especially when you are prodding about trying to find my deeply hidden veins with a needle.
2. Tests take a while, results take a while, appointments take a while. Living in waiting mode negatively affects your mood, your mental state and your capacity to stay positive. Each appointment leaves me flat like a pancake and I can feel depression hanging there just waiting to get in.
3. Often tests don’t show any conclusive results anyways. Unfortunately, just because it can’t be seen in testing doesn’t mean it’s not there. Possible waste of time, money, pain and effort. Did I mention that this is the third time in six years I have lined up at the rheumatologist for a diagnosis?
4. The doctors are lovely, the nurses are lovely, the staff are lovely, but there is not getting around it, doctor’s surgeries, pathology offices and hospitals are full of sick people.
This last point really hurt me today. I am very sensitive to others’ feelings, so even in my fatigued zombie state I did not miss two key signals today. The first hurt was when I was in the MRI waiting room, waiting my turn. The lady before me had gone in to be tested and had left behind two middle aged sons. After some random banter they started talking about Mum’s tests and the word inoperable came out. That word made me sad. Sad for the lady and sad that the world has this word.
The second signal came when I was redressing after my MRI was done. Which, by the way the testing lady said I stuffed up because my leg twitched and moved before the contrast went through. At multiple hundreds of dollars, this better not be true, especially with the amount of pain I was in today. The second signal was impossible to miss. Somewhere in the passageway in the pathology area a small boy (he sounded maybe seven or eight) was screaming. Screaming in pain and desperation begging for whoever was trying to do something to him to stop. “Stop it, stop it, don’t, leave me alone” type screaming with full volume and distress. That made me upset. I silently prayed that this boy’s discomfort is short lived and his illness is acute such as with an injury rather than chronic and/or possibly terminal. I am sensitive to others’ emotions and with this being a child, hearing his pain really hurt me inside.
5. Situations like this highlight the empty space beside me. Having a partner to support me in stressful times would be nice. Everyone else seems to bring someone with them in these places.
Perhaps it is third time lucky and all my symptoms get categories finally, and I don’t have to do this ever again. I can only hope.