Almost there...

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Modern medicine is failing me. Truly, if you aren't actively bleeding, or suffering from something that risks death, then the suggestion seems to be, "Put some ice on it. And take some Motrin." If I hear that one more time from a doctor, I'm going to scream. On Tuesday I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with plantar fascitis. Basically, that means that the back end of my arch is in pain most of the time, it hurts to stand up, and occasionally cramps spectacularly (to the point of waking me up at night). This is an injury that has developed for no readily apparent reason even though all of my dance shoes and regular shoes have arch supports in them. And the cure? Four to six weeks of sitting on my ass, with ice and Motrin. Grr.

Then yesterday at work I started noticing a weird bump in my right hand where my ring finger joins my palm. So I called Kaiser, and the advice nurse said, "Sounds like a ganglion cyst. Let's have you go in to get it checked just to be sure." When I got there they said, "It's harmless. Use some ice and Motrin to ease the pain." Now just for the record, my idea of harmless is not something that causes me pain and prevents me from typing or carrying things in my right hand.

Now sure, these are just two incidents, but I could give you the longest litany of conditions that have struck me over the years that the solution is to merely live with it and maybe take some Motrin. I'm getting really sick of it. I've got enough ganglion cysts all over my body at this point that I'm convinced that by the time I'm forty, I'm going to be one giant lump of lumps. There's another condition (which Rick and I share, and both had before we met) that causes weird blisters to show up on our hands and feet. We've both been told, "Well, it's not contagious, but it's just the way your body works, and there's no way to fix it." For something that causes unnecessary callouses, itching, and occasional pain, and leaves my feet looking like a warzone from time to time, having no treatment or cure is a major bummer.

Western medicine seems wholly wrapped up with curing those that are dying and ignoring those that are merely suffering. I know that's probably because there are so many things that are killing people that there aren't resources to necessarily research non-terminal diseases. But what if curing some of these things ends up illuminating things about other illnesses? Or what if some of these things turn out to be early symptoms of something more serious?

Anyway, I'm just really dissatisfied by being shined on and told that my aches and pains and ailments are "harmless" and trivial. They are significantly decreasing my quality of life and I want to feel like they have at least been acknowleged. Plus, just once in a while, I'd like to hear, "You know, this is something we can fix."


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