On one of those few occasions my GP saw me sitting opposite him he uttered the immortal words, "Pain is a good thing John!" I was so shocked into silence that it allowed him to develop his theme a bit more. "You see, pain is the body's way of telling you there is something wrong. Think of it as our safety net." At that moment I was wracked with pain up and down my back and in no mood for bullshit.
"If you think about it," the fucker went on, "Pain is what brought you to see me this morning. Without it you might have ignored things altogether and it could have got worse." It occurred to me at this point that I should share some real pain with him and see how good he thought it was. But my back was too sore to lash out at him. "I see!" I replied, appearing thoughtful."But do you think that now that I've got the message from my, ahem, safety net that you could suggest something to get rid of it? Some sort of nuclear pill or something that will blast it away from me instantly?"
It's not the first time I've come across this either. It's been my experience and that of others I have spoken to that the medical profession appear slow to alleviate pain from the rest of us when we complain to them about it. I don't know if this is some self-righteous sadistic tendency or there is a sound medical reason to leave someone in chronic pain. Certainly when the sufferer presents to one of those white coats, pain relief is top of their agenda. The doctor's agenda is quite different though at those times. They are consumed with knowing what is causing the pain and again I have found they have little interest in your own theories on the matter. Pain relief is way down their agenda as they check this and that and ponder it all wisely.
The problem is when you are in strong pain all else pales to insignificance. You cannot string two thoughts together as your complete concentration is on that piercing discomfort in whatever part of your body you have it. The white coat humming and ha-ing around you drives you wild and as you sit sweating and close to tears. I had a pancreatic infection one time that saw me doubled up in the A&E unable to even think. In the course of admittance procedure my blood pressure was taken and it was sky-high. Alarm bells went off and I was suddenly a big emergency. They fluffed about around me all day to no avail. It was only when one of them listened to me and pumped me full of morphine for the pain that the blood pressure bounced back to normal.
And that is the problem. The doctor is dedicated to the preservation of life at all costs while for the rest of us, it is about the avoidance of pain. When you are deep in bad pain, death is one possible cure for it, though I'm not suggesting it is the best one of course. But that one belt of morphine I had, showed me that the white coats are in possession of some pretty potent solutions of their own and yet they are reluctant to dispense them.
They can be a right royal pain sometimes, can't they?