When you have pain and the doctor tells you that «it’s nothing»
By Juan Carlos Vargas
Pain is an annoying, personal and non-transferable sensation, which means that «nobody can feel it for you».
It’s unpleasant, not to say frustrating, when after performing medical tests and images, the doctor comes up and says: «That’s nothing!» and the worst is when we hear the fateful sentence: It must be STRESS!
You keep looking at him and do not know whether to respond in a bad way, to question his ability or, ultimately, his lack of compassion.
How is it possible that you to tell me «that’s nothing»? You are not inside of me, you do not know about my bitterness or sleeplessness; of my complaints and my laments … oh my God, !you are a barbarian!
Every day, someone enters our office, telling us that their previous doctor (s), have given them quite similar answers to: !you have nothing!
Pain, in addition to the above, has the interesting feature that can´t be seen or measured, so it has a certain dose of subjectivity.
It is well known that not everyone has the same type, degree, intensity, time, location, etc., of pain. In addition, we must take into account, the well commented «threshold of pain», of which we all seem experts, but that, in reality, little is understood and remains a mystery what is hidden that word.
The Pain, is still full of unknowns, irresolute, tortuous shortcuts, variables, etc., not necessarily measurable, etc.
It is known that the condition of emotional balance and stability play an important role in the way we feel and handle pain; and, that, also pain, in itself, influences our emotional balance and stability. They are states that embrace each other closely and sometimes it is difficult to recognize who embraces whom.
BUT say: !You have NOTHING or maybe worse, you IT´S nothing!.
I think we should insist a little more, know a little more, go a little deeper, of course discarding that we are facing someone with somatizations etc., but being careful to assume prematurely that this is the condition.
We are dealing with persons, with past and present, illusions, longings, disenchantments, wounds, triumphs and defeats, that feel, love and suffer; with personal and unrepeatable stories and that come to us seeking to be heard, understood, cared for, etc. Many times, only this interest, is being a balm in the lives of patients.
My Mentor Ross Hauser, MD, taught me that Excellent Doctors do not see an X-ray, that we do not have a Magnetic Resonance in front of us, not even a back that hurts, knees that can´t stand them … We have a patient with PAIN!.
When they tell you that you «Have NOTHING», examine yourself inside, do a deep scrutiny and self-criticism, and if you feel you should look for another option … follow your hunches and your thoughts … it is very possible to lead you to «fresh waters and greens meadows. »
Personally, my pain has made me more compassionate and much more sensitive to the pain of others. The tortuous and unpredictable ways of God!