By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee... 2013
I have been at the doctor's office for half of today... and waited in the pharmacy for a good while... to get medicine. Now, why am I telling you about this?
Well, I have been thinking about something. I'm betting that there are many people who read my stories, who can identify with me when it comes to ... having to live with pain ... for the rest of your lives.
Ever since being a little girl from the age of nine, I have lived with some form of pain, be it physical... mental... and after many surgeries... chronic pain.
Before I go any further... let me tell you this 'just so you will know'... you won't ever hear me complain because of the pain in my body. You may see tears in my eyes, see the strain in my face... I won't let you hear me cry. It's rare... I show my weaknesses to anyone.
Why won't I complain about pain? Because... truthfully, I'm so fortunate that I can feel it. I remind myself of this often... I'm lucky I can feel pain. I'm thankful when it isn't so bad that I can't hardly bear it... lately, it's been more than I can bear... because of the 'extra' pain in my body. Sometimes... that happens.
Feeling pain reminds me that I'm so lucky to be alive. The surgeries saved my very life... I was almost gone when the first one was performed on me.
I have 'forever' pain from two thoracotomy surgeries... normally, if a person has one of them... they only go through one. I went through two... thoracotomy surgeries... in one year. Oh my... you can't imagine the pain from them... it's been twelve years now. Nerves are severed... there's no 'fixing them not to hurt'... one has to resign themselves to the pain.
Not only that... a rib was removed during that surgery. That is awful pain, afterwards... That happened to me... and in one of the surgeries, a portion of lung was removed. The first surgery, a large mass was removed from the other lung... it was resting on my heart.
Cancer... Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was diagnosed with it in 1998... my life, my body changed. Guess what? This is something I never forget... I'm so happy to be here... I love life. Pain or not... limitations in what I can do... it's okay. I'm here. :))) I will cope with it... cry or not. You won't know I cry... unless you see my eyes.
I don't complain... in fact, all these years I've never asked for medicines to help me with the pain. I am proud of that in a way... but, I've dearly paid for it... I have suffered like no one would believe. Doctors, nurses ... understand why... I told them. It's hard for me to ask for... or take medicines for ... pain.
It stems from childhood when I would stand in my Grandma Alma's bedroom... she had a little table beside her bed in front of the window. I can still see it in my mind... feel the fear I felt when I would stand there as a little girl... looking at ... all those bottles. All those bottles... why, she would ... die ... if she didn't have all that medicine. My Grandma Alma was very sick...
I remember as I stood there, looking at all those little brown bottles, some blue... each with their white caps... I promised myself 'when I grew up, I was not going to take a lot of medicines like that'. So, far... I've succeeded in keeping the promise of that little girl I was at one time. I would cease taking a medicine as soon as I knew I didn't need it anymore.
I would tell myself that if I depended on so many medicines... and 'something happened'... and I couldn't get them, I would die. I would feel fear that my whole life would depend on all those little bottles to survive. Now... when disasters 'really happen'... I worry for the thousands of people who 'for-real' have to worry about their medicines... because 'something bad really happens now'.... floods, terrible storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis....
If I didn't feel a medicine was 'good for me'... I would give it one week... never take it again... if 'it didn't feel right'. My 'Gloria Opinion' is for 'me, only'... if I don't use judgement to help take care of myself, too... then, something bad will happen. Doctors are wonderful, save lives... but, there are some who are not up to par as they should be. You be your own judge of what you do... I don't suggest you doing what I do... I am writing about myself.
For example, about 5 years ago... my allergies were giving me a fit. I decided to go to a doctor I'd never been to. I was tested for allergies, already knowing what I was allergic to... I was hoping to get medicine to help me not to suffer so. It was not to be...
That doctor looked me straight in the eyes, told me something shocking... he said I had asthma. I looked back at him, asked him was he sure... he said 'yes'. He put me on an inhaler... sure enough, I became 'sicker', felt like I had asthma. I began over the next week or so, to have panic attacks. I couldn't breathe...
Thankfully, Skip took me to 'our' hospital in Raleigh... and my cardiologist was close by... he came by the ER, and asked me, 'what in the hell are you doing in here'? Just several weeks prior, I had been to him... and I was on 'even keel'...
Skip told him about the doctor I'd gone to... I was admitted to the hospital that night. The next day, I was tested thoroughly to find out... that doctor misdiagnosed me! I did... not have asthma. I 'knew' I didn't ... I had been in and out of the hospital, going through so many tests... someone would have found it ...if I had it.
When I got out of the hospital, I was okay. The medicine was thrown away... I never went back to that doctor. I never got medicine to help my allergies.
I was told that 'unfortunately... there are 'bad' doctors, too... who will do what that particular doctor did... to gain patients. I knew that, too... but, I still got caught up in it. I worked in a hospital... and saw, heard many things... I should have known better.
Oh... 'I've never had 'asthma' ... since. I do suffer from allergies... still. That's okay... at least, I'm not taking unnecessary medicine that would eventually harm me. One has to pay attention to their own medical conditions.... read, read, read... ask questions.
Learn what to ask... know the names, how to spell every medicine you take. Know what your medicines are for... pay attention to how they make you feel... if it doesn't feel 'right'... talk to your doctor. Sometimes, one has to go... to another doctor.
Truthfully, I know... I bet you know people who have taken a 'shoebox of medicines' for years.
Even when they didn't have the medical condition anymore... they still took the medicine originally given for it... just kept adding bottle after bottle of different medicines through the years to their 'shoebox'... until there were many bottles.
You hear people, just as I do, say... "I take 15 different medicines... I take 18 medicines in a day"....
I'm not a doctor, so... you can only read my story... maybe it'll help you to 'arm yourself with knowledge'... begin to ask questions... maybe ... change doctors until you find one you are comfortable with.
You see on the news about 'bad' cops, lawyers, judges, nurses, doctors..... just because someone is labeled 'cop, lawyer, judge, nurse'... so on.... doesn't mean they are perfect. When we were little... we were brought up to almost believe they are 'Gods'...
We all know 'good' people who 'really are bad'.... just as we know people who are really good. One has to pay attention when it... touches your life, your loved ones' lives. Just because 'someone is something'... doesn't mean ... 'they are a good something'....
The doctor asked me this morning 'why did I let myself wait so long to come when I could come ...get relief from the pain'? I looked at him and told him, it's a 'childhood thing'... also, that really I just didn't know 'why?'
I've been fussed at by doctors/nurses... through time for being like this... no matter, I never changed. I still didn't ask for medicine to ease my pain.
This year has been by far... the worse year for pain in my body. The past 3 years have been by far... the worse for mental pain... losing my only child. This year has been the worse year for the chronic pain in my whole body... from every surgery, every scar on my body.
Pain is just as much a part of my life as breathing the air I breathe... it's 'why' I live.
I'm used to living with pain... I never get used to it. It hurts so bad... but, it's a 'good' thing, too. :)))