Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pain and Insolence And WCB

People who say "it is mind over matter. Just pull yourself together and get out of that wheelchair" are aresholes - and alties.

People who send you "love, light and reiki blessings" are alties.

People who say "the body's diseases are symptoms of your psyches anguish" are idiots - and alties

My experience this summer at a workers rehabilitation day program was pretty much like this. I am not in pain, nor being rehabbed, but I went with someone who is. It was amazing how many times during "relax" we had to listen to a stupid tape that had us imagining happy things. There is that scene from which movie that the character is told to go to his happy place- Happy Gilmore(?) and this was the same kind of poo poo.

The one day that a psychologist asked what stress was , I answered, only because I was sick of waiting for other people to answer. He sounded surprised that anyone actually knew. I can't remember what it was that I said exactly, but it was an outside or inside force that exerts physiological and psychological stress on a body. Why he was surprised was surprising- except that I am sure that most people in pain don't give two hoots about why or what- they just want it gone. Unfortunately the mandate to do this was limited by the programs focus- it is a functional rehab program. If your body can walk you can work.

If your body is in pain, please know that pain can be controlled by your thoughts. If your marriage is stressful it means more pain. If you are having money problems you will have more pain. If you are angry you will have more pain. Conversely, if you are happy you will be in less pain. ( I should be in pain considering I have all the above "causal factors".)

I call bullshit. Utter bullshit! There are things in life that hurt no matter how happy you were, are, or want to be. Neuropathy is not a fun condition. Nerve root entrapment is not nice. You could laugh your ass off for weeks and not make a whit of difference. You cannot think yourself well. That is classic patient blaming, and all it does is to further isolate the person in pain.

So you punish the person who is legitimately in pain by cutting off their compensation payments. Hmm...well, so far they person you cut off is not working because they are still in pain. It has been 3 months. They have had treatment that has helped somewhat, but there is still unremitting throbbing and burning pain. Their children have to work- 14 and 16, and a wife looking for a second evening job.

In some circles, being sick or in pain for "too long" is a form of deviance. Deviance is a psychological term that stigmatizes one for being abnormal. There are no alternatives to the system if your body does not react to an injury or surgery the correct way. There are no avenues of appeal because pain is seen as subjective and so because it is not able to be measured it is somehow discredited. Chronic Pain is thought as a way to get out of doing something. The word psychosomatic is bandied about in this circle. Malingering and faking are words that may not be said but are implied and psychologically tested for. Alt med in the form of acupuncture, talk therapy, biofeedback and relaxation abound in an institution that routinely denies MEDICAL treatment to clients based on a lack of available evidence that it works. It is the best of both worlds!!

I am tired of it. I want to try Botox, as it has had limited success with some people with back problems. I want to try a Spinal Cord Stimulator- but if you look into archives you can see that isn't an available option.

What I don't want is for my loved one's pain to be seen as a way to drop out of life. A person who works HARD for 17 years straight to provide for their family does not just all of a sudden say fuck it- I am going on WCB. They just don't. A normally private person does not just decide one day to go to a million doctors and shrink type people for something to do. A person who was gainfully and well employed does not put himself in the hands of Vocational Specialists who are barely in their twenties and have no understanding of their role in life just because they want attention.

His wife does not write a letter to the Health Minister, and expect to be told to go on Welfare when she tries to explain the situation. "Alberta Works" is a fancy ass name for Welfare. No, I was actually looking for an explanation as to why we got screwed, and why chronic pain is not a recognizable condition, and why WCB and his former company could treat him like he did not matter.

Dear Health and Wellness Minister- I did not like that answer. We are proud people and if I have to work six jobs I will just to stay off of Welfare. If my children have to live with me until they are forty to go through University because I will not be able to help them pay for it, then that is what we will do.


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