By: Dr Alexa James
I watched one of my favorite TV shows recently, The Golden Girls. Though I saw the show hundreds of times, I really clicked and hit home this time to watch some episodes. The episodes I am talking about are known as “sick and fatigued,” if we know the show.
This two-part episode was a time of extreme exhaustion for Dorothy and a month of feeling sick. I know everything too well as a fibromyalgia. That truly brought me to think. How many of us have had several doctors, appointments and stories to endure?
How often were we brushed off and told to rest because the doctor could not find the root cause of our pain? How many times have we wondered and doubted that we might not be really sick?
The episode concentrates on the struggles of Dorothy trying to find a doctor who believes that she is sick and does not try to discard her disease because she is incomplete. It’s all in her head, she saw doctors, but she knows that she’s not good deep down. This has been addressed by all of us and continues to be addressed.
It’s not easy to have an invisible disease. We know something’s wrong, but how are you demonstrating it? There is no simple test or blood work to diagnose fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue.
The episode scene is all too well-known. We know we’re ill. We know we’re ill. It’s known to our family. They encourage and support us to seek assistance. (I know not everyone is fortunate, but I have an incredible support system like Dorothy.) Finally, after being finally diagnosed, Dorothy meets the doctor who dropped her out while she was in a restaurant dinner. Rose, Blanche and Sophia took her ironically to dinner to finally be diagnosed with other doctors for chronic fatigue.
She could confront him and tell him she really is sick, and he was not professional nor helpful in dismissing her without any assistance. We are not all fortunate enough to confront those, particularly doctors, who doubt us.
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The refusal to face an invisible disease is nearly as bad as our physical pain. Although the exhibition came out several years ago, for those of us who suffer it still is so powerful and helpful. Given the fact that many people question and doubt the pain and fatigue, TV shows are so helpful and famous people like Lady Gaga and Morgan Freeman talk out to illustrate how serious and real these diseases are.
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