BLOG PIECE by Jane Green
In response to BBC News Article - NHS Health Minister Nadine Dorries writes about how women need to stand up for themselves with doctors.
"Trying to change the rhetoric or culture of medical unexplained female symptoms is like trying to change the direction of a tanker about to hit an iceberg"
I begged to see a specialist for my ongoing, repeated injuries & illnesses that ‘came out of the blue’.
I took a day off from my very demanding job, and as a single parent I could not afford any time off to do this, so had to use my holiday leave.
I was told "at my age" it was normal to get aches and pains (i.e., menopause) and that maybe it was because I "didn’t like my job" or I was "being hypervigilant".
What and how does a patient fight that rhetoric?
I had repeated dislocations and ruptures of ligaments, herniated discs plus more, as it turned out.
I tried to state my cause.
Yes, sometimes saying my job title helped (Assistant Headteacher), but the stress of the situation also meant I was unable to express anything else.
I was sent to a pain management course.
I was in constant pain due to 2 shoulders with tears and instability plus all my normal pain.
I was told to come back when I was no longer in pain....I remember saying then "when will that be?"
Another time I was suffering from repeated vomiting - not able to keep any food down, let alone the stomach aches and pains.
I had no support.
No one there for the unexplained 'crawling insects' sensation that I felt under my skin, plus the peculiar skin rashes that appeared all over my body.
The boiling, itchy heat - so hot that I felt I could fry an egg on the surface of my skin...
But, the repeated raised eyebrows from a multitude of medical practitioners meant that I had to walk away.
This led to further my deterioration and eventually burn out.
The recent legislation that patients need to pay for all medications that can be bought over the counter is also institutionally against women who generally have far more than just one item.
And, with complex conditions, this adds even further expense to those who are just trying to survive being chronically ill, often also caring for family members and statistically often single parents.
“Telling women to fight back individually, after years of disbelief (in some cases) builds up to mental trauma, and is extremely unhelpful.
This is not misogyny in the sense of men against women, but the misogyny culture of medical oppression - culturally thousands of years of neglect.
We cannot individually change this, but together as a movement of emotional, organisational transformation of medical culture”