Thursday, March 20, 2014

Am I Healthy?

In the past 8 years since the onset of my chronic migraines and subsequent development of fibromyalgia I've heard one thing from doctors and nurses time and time again which doesn't quite sit right with me. They keep calling me healthy. I hear this when dealing with a new doctor or nurse. They will take a history or ask what brings me in today and I will explain what is going on with me. It doesn't seem to matter if I give them the short version or the long version of my health situation the response is always the same: "So you are healthy." When they say this what they actual mean is that I don't present with cancer, diabetes or heart disease. But does that mean I'm healthy? Are these conditions the only real measure of health or lack of health?

Here are the facts. My entire life revolves around my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. I can't function more than half the time because of pain or other bothersome symptoms like confusion. Even on the best of days I can't spend more than 2 or 3 hours at the most doing stuff. I have to rest between activities. Any interruption in my routine will result in a flare up or either or both conditions. I can't spend much time around bright lights, loud noises, smells or activity without triggering a migraine. My nausea is so severe most days it interferes with my ability to eat enough food. Despite crazy fatigue I struggle to sleep and even when I sleep I rarely ever feel rested. My brain frequently fails me when I'm in the middle of a sentence, leaving me unable to say the word I'm thinking. I'm in pain ALL of the time. Even though I spend all of my time trying to manage my symptoms so that I can optimize my ability to function, I don't function well enough to hold a job.

Does that sound like a healthy person?

Living it, I can tell you that I don't feel healthy and I don't see myself as a healthy person. Healthy implies that the body is working the way it is supposed to. My body certainly isn't in that category even though it may look that way to the casual observer. BUT I don't think doctors should be casual observers. Hearing medical professionals declare me healthy makes me think that they don't take my conditions seriously because they don't think it is life threatening. It feels like a brush off. Every time I hear this, it makes me cringe and I feel instantly uncomfortable about the care I am about to receive.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you. It's hard to admit you're sick in the first place, and when your doctors disregard that, you feel they are disregarding/denying your reality, and thus denying/disregarding you. Just know that I (and many others here) hear you. You're you, and your reality is your reality. If you feel disabled, you are. If you feel sick, you are. Neither means you have to suffer, but the quickest way out of suffering is the acknowledgement of what is. Can you find another doctor?