I had a really frustrating doctor’s appointment this past Monday.
A doctor in the “pain treatment” department of a hospital essentially refused to give me cortisone shots for my carpal tunnel (with a referral from my ob/gyn) because “the benefits did not outweigh the risks”.
Or in other words, I was told to suck it up.
This insinuation, the implication that I was somehow exaggerating my symptoms, that I would rather put my unborn baby’s health on the line over my own discomfort was insulting to say the least.
What it really made me do is feel like a bad person, a bad mother. Someone who didn’t want to be troubled with the nuisance of tingling, numb fingers as if that were the worst of it.
Yes, I know this is temporary. I know it’s not the end of the world. I know. I know. I know. But that isn’t making this very moment any easier.
In general, it got me thinking about pain. How we’re unable to articulate what pain feels like and how each of us have a different threshold for pain. How we can’t ever tell someone they don’t hurt when they actually do or show someone our hurt in the exact way we are experiencing it.
Specifically it got me thinking about how a man will never know what it’s like to be pregnant or give birth. Ever. They cannot. And whether they experience something more horrific or uncomfortable is not the point.
It’s why I’m hoping beyond hope I don’t have a male doctor on call when I go into labor.
And no, not every guy is an insensitive jerk. The father of this baby is filled with nothing but empathy and patience, a person who encourages me to vent, gives me room to be frustrated and sad and scared and who at No Point has asserted any sort of selfishness or dismissal of what I’m experiencing due to my pregnancy. His love and support has been invaluable.
I can’t know for sure if this guy who sat across from me the other day saying I should just put up with my pain for the sake of my baby was talking to me this way because he was a man. But when he said his daughter is pregnant and he would tell her the same thing, I realized he couldn’t understand her pain, nor did he want to. From his medical vantage point, there is no benefit to easing my suffering, which is beyond just physical, even if I was his own flesh and blood.
I don’t need a man telling me to suck it up. I don’t need a man to validate this process, this experience. I don’t need a man to tell me shit about pregnancy or labor and I don’t care how long he’s been a doctor.
This may be the first time I’ve gone through this, but I know a helluva lot more than Every Man On The Planet.