Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Surrender All

So, today, with great excitement and hope, I went to a spine and brain specialist to finally get some answers, and pain management. I tried to see a rheumatologist, but oddly, they've stopped taking new patients with fibro, RA, and osteo arthritis. Uhhhhh... yeah. Anyway, the nurse practitioner I see got me the appointment with this specialist. I had visions of someone who'd take me seriously. Visions of MRI's and CAT scans danced in my heads, and answers to what is really wrong with me. And oh the pain medicine that would get me over the terrible pain I've endured for more than a month, only I get there to find this paperwork mix-up, so I had to wait about five hours to be seen, digging for change in the bottom of my purse for vending machine potato chips, and reading Mary Karr's Lit, thankful I had the presence of mind to bring my iPod. A ginormous flat screen television played sappy worship music, and scrolled scriptures across pastoral scenes. I laughed out loud at Karr's wicked sense of humor, and gasped, hand to my heart, at her startlingly beautiful, poetic prose. Despite the wait and the endless headache, hope filled me.

It struck me as odd that the paperwork asked so many questions about mental illness, especially more difficult diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder. It asked if I had a history of depression. If I had ever attempted suicide. I began to get a sinking feeling. Why is a spine and neurology clinic asking these kind of questions?

When I FINALLY saw the nurse I had to take a psychological test, which apparently I did not pass to their satisfaction. Perhaps I should have taken it when I hadn't been in pain for weeks on end. But it wouldn't have really mattered. It was my history that was the problem.  Once upon a time I was so depressed I tried to commit suicide. This is no secret. I bear visible scars.  I don't bother to hide them, or the truth about my past. This doctor saw me for three minutes tops, and deemed me unfit for any kind of narcotic, including one I was prescribed three months ago for a foot injury. He recommended physical therapy. It doesn't matter that the last time I harmed myself was fourteen years ago. The scars happened when I was twenty-seven!

When I was in my thirties I went to seminary to study psychology. I wanted to understand human behavior, especially my own, and I had to take several of those blasted psychological tests. One in particular told me I'd most likely die by my own hand within ten years. May I just say, that one kinda sucked. But I have to admit, some of those ten years were rough. I counted them down, baby, and that's a heckuva long count down. But by grace and grit I learned to choose life. Some nights, in my dark and awful winters, I hugged my arms to myself and did not move until any hint of a dangerous impulse passed. And the years moved forward, some slowly, some quickly. I am here to testify. I'm gratefully alive.

I left the clinic a little stunned; a little angry--no, a lot angry--and profoundly disappointed. It wasn't about the medicine. It was about being dismissed, once again, for a past I've done a lot of work to overcome. And besides, don't treat me like I'm crazy. That ain't the name I answer to any more.

Heavy-hearted I trudged back into the waiting room as joyless as a deflated balloon. I Surrender All drifted from the television. I shook my aching, throbbing head, knowing who I was supposed to surrender to, but having no idea exactly what he was after.

How do you surrender all? Does it mean you don't go to the doctor anymore?

I have no idea.


Terry said...

Tell the nurse practitioner to try again. aarrggh.

Anonymous said...

Mair, My heart goes out to you, having had a similar experience. Don't give up! He thinks you're worth it and He knows best.

Matthew said...

I can think of a million things to say, but really all I need to say is I'm sorry you had to go through that.

Reihaisha said...


My heart hurts for you. The only words of comfort I can offer is that the fourth watch of the night gives way to the brilliance of dawn. My prayer for you today is that you have the strength to let God continue to work in your life whatever that looks like. I will also pray that you get a human medical advocate.

Renee said...

I agree with TErry. Go back to your primary care doc and let them know what happened. that's ridiculous

~Leslie said...

I'm so sorry, love. That had to be an awful experience (to put it mildly)! I have not idea what surrendering all would be in this situation. I'm praying with you and for you. Asking our Father to show you, tell you, let you know...


Bella Scarlett said...

I think it best for me not to write what I think of the medical establishment, especially the "specialists" such as neurologists, rheumatologists, ID's, etc.

Anyway, could you consider finding a naturapath or a homeopath? It's not an instant fix, but works to fix long standing problems gently.

MaryAnn M said...

hugs. major disappointment. look for the window if the door slams...i will pray you see the sunshine soon.

Kay Day said...

I'm so sorry.
I can relate to trying to find answers and to be written off as if it's all in your head.

I'm so sorry you had this experience. It was wrong.

Sometimes I just say, it's all yours, God. Whatever that may mean. The outcome? The disappointment? The expectations? The pain?

I'll pray for you.