Tag Archives: Gastroenterologist

Medical #WotW

It’s been a tough week, so I haven’t written much. I’ve had countless plans and ideas in my mind, among which restarting my Dutch blog (yes, again!), but my brain and body won’t fully cooperate. I did restart the Dutch blog, but I only republished an old post. Because I can’t really get my mind to work towards creating an original blog post, I’m just going with #WotW and share my word for the week. I’m a bit late, but I checked and the linky is still open.

My word of the week, not quite surprisingly, is: medical. I’ve had quite the week with medical visits, after all. On Monday, I had to be screened by an endoscopy nurse in preparation for the upper GI endoscopy, which was Friday. The screening was relatively easy-going. The only hurdle was that the nurse hadn’t gotten a referral letter, so he had no idea why I was supposed to get an endoscopy. I explained that i had heartburn and pain up my esophagus. “Ah, you have reflux.” I happen to know the term in English but had hardly heard of it in Dutch and thought it’s the same as heartburn. I got the idea that the nurse felt the endoscopy wasn’t necessary, but he didn’t say so. Not that it’s his job to decide on such matters anyway. The nurse did say that my being short of breath while lying down but not (too badly) during slight exertion could be due to the reflux.

On Friday I got the actual procedure. It was a breeze too. A nurse from the institution came with me since my husband was at work. She wasn’t allowed in the room when I got the endoscopy but that wasn’t a big problem. I was sedated under twilight anesthesia, where you’re conscious but not quite aware of what happens. I can’t remember a thing about the procedure itself, though I do remember being brought to recovery. In the bed next to me was a man who got the news that he might have cancer. That gave me a bit of anxiety, because I still wasn’t so sure nothing would be found on my endoscopy. As it turned out, the doctor was finished telling me the results within less than half a minute. Nothing was found and he’d send a letter to my GP. I’m glad that nothing was found, although it would’ve been better if something with an easy, targeted treatment had been found.

On Tuesday, I went to my GP again because I’ve been having terrible fatigue and what I have gotten to believe is some sort of brain fog. I didn’t mention the term brain fog but did describe what it’s like. The doctor sent me for bloodwork and is going to give me a physical examination next week. Even though I’ve been a little less exhausted over the past few days, I do hope something easily treatable will be found. As the doctor explained, fatigue usually has more than one cause. It could be I’m having some case of the winter blues, because I’ve been feeling more depressed lately too. Fatigue for me gets better and then worse but it’s never fully gone though. I have had vitamin and iron deficiencies in the past, so we’lll see whether these are acting up again.

The Reading Residence

No Need for Permission to Voice Your Pain

I went to the gastroenterologist last Wednesday, who said I may have irritable bowel syndrome. This diagnosis used to be pretty controversial. It ws only years ago that I heard a doctor on TV say that we used to sit through abdominal pain without complaining and now we take meds for our irritable bowels.

I thought of this when I read a post by Dawn Santos on needing permission to voice our pain. Dawn said she’d tell every normal person who’d complain like she wanted to, to seek counseling. Her post is meant to validate those with chronic pain conditions that they have the right to complain, but as a person who’s suffered from abdominal pain and other symptoms for years without having a diagnosis or often being visibly in pain, I want to say it doesn’t matter whether you are or appear normal.

I am not saying that chrnic pain is not worse than being in pain only every once in a while. What I do say is that the dichotomous line between healthy and ill is arbitrary. I recently read an interview with another doctor, who said he has some form of arthritis but considers himself pretty healthy. I on the other hand have considered myself somewhat ill for some years now, despite not having a diagnosis. I can see why my attitude is not as upbeat as his, and there are many factors to this. Pain levels may be one (I have no clue in how much pain this doctor is on a regular basis). Psychological factors like coping mechanisms, attribution style etc. contribute too.

You may not be able to see whether someone has a chronic pain condition or not. Besides, mental health problems are real problems, too, and Dawn’s comment about counseling made me feel that it’s merely a bad attitude. I want to say that no-one needs permission to voice their pain. Of course, it’s best if you stay somewhat positive and don’t complain all the time, but as an onlooker, you can’t see how much effort someone puts into getting through the day with some level of positivity. Therefore, this should not be a reason to judge someone’s complaining. Getting fed up with it sometimes is okay, but that’s true whether the other person has a (known) chronic pain condition or not.