How naive I was when Melissa became ill. After all, you go to the doc, get a prescription, go home, crawl into bed, and follow the doc's instructions...simply enough! In a few days, you
But, what happens when you don't get well?
Well, that's when you go back to the doctor. Again, and again, and again. Soon, he (she) thinks you're "imagining things" or you're "depressed." You're given a little pep talk and a prescription for an antidepressant.
You protest: "BUT I'M NOT DEPRESSED! I'M IN PAIN!"
"Well, this should help," he says, as he hands you the prescription for the antidepressant, his ears and actions on auto-pilot.
You leave his office, (perhaps in tears), maybe not even realizing that you are getting ready to embark on an arduous journey to 'find the right doctor,' 'one who will listen'....maybe even one who will care?
For the person who suffers from adhesion related disorder, yet has no knowledge they are suffering from adhesions, the journey can continue on for years...and years...and years. You will meet doctor after doctor, as you firmly believe that you are going to find the RIGHT doctor...the one who will know what is wrong in your body and will help relieve you of the agony you're in.
Unfortunately, for the person who suffers from adhesions, the "right" doctor is few and far between! While we search, going in and out of countless doctors' offices, we have no idea that we are dealing with an illness that is 'ignored,' and often a 'taboo' subject among physicians.
Looking back, there's no doubt in my mind that many physicians KNEW Melissa was suffering from adhesions, yet not one single doctor ever suggested 'adhesions' as a probable cause of her misery. Countless physicians had the results of her tests: her intestines were 'narrowed' (proven by repeated upper gi and small bowel series), she had continual vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and an inability to stand upright (adhesions constrict, which caused her to walk in a bent-over manner), yet countless doctors sent her on her way, telling her she must resign herself to a life of pain and misery, denying that she was truly 'ill', or reprimanding and insulting her for not 'accepting' at least one of the (conflicting) diagnoses that had been given, along with the 'treatments' that had been provided for her (steroid and antispasmodic pills).
It is my opinion that the doctors remained silent, due to the other knowledge that they had: any surgery to remove adhesions will only result in creating more adhesions! Since adhesions are bands of scar tissue, and the body's natural response to heal itself after trauma (surgery is trauma to the body), surgery to remove adhesions is a catch 22 situation; both for the sufferer and the performing surgeon.
Once we learned Melissa's pelvic organs were encased in adhesions (after her first laparoscopy surgery--photos from this surgery are in the book: Doctors: Bound By Secrecy? Victims: Bound by Pain!), it seemed only reasonable to me that her intestines must be involved as well. However, the surgeon who had performed the laparoscopic surgery disagreed. He insisted her continuing pain and problems were due to endometriosis rather than adhesions.
"But," I asked, "what about the portion of the intestines that you photographed that was STUCK to her uterus?"
"I freed it up," he answered.
"But, what about the rest of the bowel. Did you check her entire bowel?" I pressed.
Well...let's just say that he wasn't too happy with my pressing questions.
Many doctors prefer the driver's seat. You're just the passenger. It doesn't matter where you want to go, where you want to stop, what you want to discuss about the trip, or where the journey is going to lead you. They have a firm grip on the wheel, they will decide the turns to make, where you are going, where you will stop and where you will end up.
Have you ever felt like you were being held hostage when certain people get behind the wheel? When my husband and I first married and went places together, he was always the driver. While I thought we were going on a relaxing and enjoyable trip...well, he had something totally different on his mind--a goal: "making time."
I recall his firm grip on the wheel as we traveled for hours on end, non-stop. As we flew through little towns, I would see cute little shops, roadside vendors, or perhaps (God forbid) a restroom. I would say, "Oh look, there's a cute little......", or "did you see all those tomatoes, peaches and....." and my voice would fade away as we "made time."
It never failed. As he continued on, pedal to the metal, (always well over the speed limit), he would reply, "You didn't want to stop back there, did you?"
When we would reach our destination, my husband would proudly announce. "Well, we made it in x hours and x minutes."
It didn't take too many months of marriage before I learned to say, "STOP the car!"
He did. And, we bought tomatoes and peaches. We went in shops. We used the restroom.
To this day he continues to announce, "We made it in x hours and x minutes," except now he adds: "of course if we hadn't stopped at that shop it would have been...."
For the person who suffers in illness, any illness, you must be an active participant in the plan for your health. If your pain is being ignored, you must take the wheel. If your pain is finally acknowledged and the source of the pain has been uncovered, it's okay for the doctor to be in the driver's seat, but the passenger should be able to ask "just where are you taking me?" "Is your recommendation/plan for my health going to HELP me?"
A doctor who has ears to hear his patient will apply the brakes. He (she) will allow you to be an active participant in the journey of your health.