Why oh why oh why? What’s the point

Question: Severely depressed and doomed at the moment.  Saw a rheumatologist today. The Doctor  at York District Hospital.  Lovely man – most polite, listened, spent 15 minutes hitting me with a hammer – can’t complain.  Result: your muscles are tense. Have some mild sedatives and all your problems are over!  Where do we go from here? No fancy tests, no analysis of work conditions, no bending of limbs saying “where does this cause discomfort”.

All I know is I don’t have arthritis. Well boy there is a new one!  Drug prescribed: amitriptyline  Further action: see your GP!  Is it all worth it? When you get this response you wonder should we suffer is silence?

Answer 1: I know how despondent you must feel. I’ve been there too. Sadly it is too common an experience. Hang in there.

Answer 2: I’m currently trailing equipment which gives support to my arms as I type (a Togl reorganizer, used in conjunction with a very supportive chair), and this reduces a lot of the tension in my arms – I don’t have to actively hold them over the keyboard any more. I’d initially seen one of their physios in the Leeds office, who assessed my particular problem. I experimented a lot with the various settings of the equipment and wasn’t really happy with it, so I asked if the physio I’d seen could come and check.

They were happy to arrange this, and she was able to give me very specific and personalized advice in my own workplace (aka dining room). This kind of individual support and advice from a specialist is invaluable, and I’ve found the DST staff very friendly (and reassuring when I admit to feeling guilty about taking up their time and resources).  I don’t know your circumstances, but maybe it’s worth contacting them again.  To anyone else – you can get in touch with your local Disability Service Team through the Job Centre.

They have expertise and funding to help people with disabilities of all kinds get into / back to / stay in work. If you’re not sure whether you ‘qualify’ for help, let them decide – don’t self-censor yourself!

Answer 3: What can I say but don’t suffer in silence – shout at the rest of us. We may not know the answers but all know to some extent or another how you feel and shouting helps! And if there isn’t a railway bridge or empty field to shout in ……..

Answer  4: Coincidentally, I saw a rheumatologist last week, with much the same outcome. (I’d only been waiting 9 months for the appointment). My chap was very pleasant and thorough, and took time to explain in advance that what we were hoping for was a negative diagnosis, which indeed I got, i.e. I don’t have arthritis. I’m sorry you’re feeling down about this, but it actually cheered me up. He may not have pinpointed what I HAVE got, but at least it is not something degenerative, and there is still hope that I’ll get it licked by other means, probably physiotherapy.

He’s sent me back to my GP to get me back on the waiting list for physio.  Meantime, I have had an interesting experience (well, I thought it was interesting…). I took a few days holiday last week, and whilst I did not consciously notice an improvement during that time, 20 minutes back at my machine on Monday morning had me in more pain than I’ve experienced for months. I’m not sure why this should be – perhaps I’d ‘recovered’ more than I thought during those few days, or perhaps tolerance builds gradually and walloping back in there after a break is almost worse than not taking a break at all.

Has anyone any bright ideas? (For what it’s worth, things have now settled down to their ‘normal’ level of discomfort once more…)

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