real life fibromyalgia sterotypes

Real life Fibromyalgia stereotypes

Last week I made a visit to my Lyme/Fibro/CFS doctor (wow that’s a lot of slashes, I have way too many health problems). We’ll call the doctor Deep Throat. Deep throat’s office staff are the worst I have ever dealt with. I’ve never met an entire office staff that is grouchy and mean before. I admit, I judge them for it. I am a very nice person and they are always surly and rude to me and I always want to be vindictive and spit in their food or something.

There I am sitting in the waiting room. I got there 45 minutes early because of some cosmic intervention or something, there was no traffic in Houston that morning. As I’m sitting there in the waiting room this lady walks in with a cane. She’s about 200 lbs overweight and could barely walk. My first thought was “Oh that poor lady, I bet she’s a fibro patient, she looks miserable.” Well, technically I was right, she was a fibro patient. She gets up to the window and immediately starts arguing with the office staff about her past due bill of $20 from six months ago. The office staff makes it clear she needs to pay the bill, and that’s when the yelling started. This fibro lady starts yelling as loud as she can and waving her cane around. She’s yelling about her fibromyalgia and how she can’t deal with these people and how she’s on medicare and receives disability payments so she shouldn’t have to pay her bill. She goes on and on (while yelling and still waving the cane) about her fibromyaglia and how they are discriminating against her for having it. She should be able to go to the doctor for free! She has earned not having to pay money! She is special because of her fibromyalgia!

At this point I’m just staring at this lady who walked in with a cane, but is physically jumping up and down and waving her cane around while she’s screaming. She kind of looked like a mean Tigger (as in from Winnie the Pooh). Meanwhile the poor office worker is trying to explain over the yelling that medicare is not free, it requires a co-pay. Angry Tigger doesn’t stop yelling and bouncing, so another staff member is sent for. She comes out and tries to calm down Angry Tigger, but angry Tigger is mad and wants special treatment because of her fibromyalgia. At this point they go in the back, and I can still hear her yelling.

My first thought was frustration this women is representing fibromyalgia patients. I was really annoyed because she just bolstered the stereotype that fibro patients are crazy. After some time thinking about it though, all I felt for this women was compassion. Who knows what kind of crap she’s had to deal with to get a doctor who will take Medicare? Who knows how long and how difficult it was for her to get a fibromyalgia diagnosis? Who knows how many obstacles this women had to run through to make it to her appointment? I don’t.

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3 thoughts on “Real life Fibromyalgia stereotypes

  1. Unfortunately, anybody can get fibromyalgia, which means that all forms of humanity share this road. It's not just nice, respectful, kind, patient, the long-suffering, or pleasant folk. It is out in the general public, which can be dicey. Like the saying goes "it takes all kinds to make a world".

    I try to turn away from people like that,for they do not represent me, nor do I expect them to. Only I can do that. The bad part, which you hit on so well is that they become the unfortunate standard by which all other fibro sufferers are judged. So sad.

    All I know is this: when you work with the public, you are exposed to all kinds. Reacting by becoming cranky and mean in kind to everyone is a cop-out, and not acceptable. There needs to be some training and attention paid to this problem by the docs who own this practice, for their staff is a reflection of themselves.

    Too bad this is all too common…

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