“Some beautiful women who suffer from this condition, are often delicate pain darlings…” said my consultant gynaecologist after listening to my list of painful and sometimes excruciating symptoms.
I didn’t hear much after this.
I was too busy trying to stop my blood from boiling over and my fist from punching her in the face.
Was this woman, who had listened tentatively to me sharing intimate details about the inner workings of my lady bits, calling me a wuss?
Now I know I’m not a DPD (delicate pain darling- in her words) for several reasons. First being that I squeezed out a 9.7lbs baby with a head the size of a cannon ball on gas and air alone. The second is that when I breastfeed said baby in those first few weeks, when he puked (along with milk he’d drunk) he would regurgitate large brown scabs.
From my nipples.
I managed to feed through this pain until my nipples scabbed over permanently and became pretty much numb.
Granted, I may get weepy over the John Lewis Christmas advert and sob like a mad woman mid-way through Ghost (I challenge anyone not to cry at that film) but a DPD I am not.
But, this is hardly the point, is it?
Is it not a medical professional’s job to treat its patients with dignity and respect, regardless of whether the patient is a raging hypochondriac?
And even if I couldn’t bare the pain of even a black head being picked, I would still expect for my symptoms to be treated seriously and to be handled with sympathy and understanding.
After all, we’ve all been told by our GP, “it’s a virus…take some paracetamol and get some rest” when we suspected something more serious. What you don’t expect them to say is, “just take some paracetamol and get out of my office you wimp!”
On top of all this, has anyone else noticed how outrageously sexist this comment is? After all, I find it highly unlikely this woman would have referred to a male patient in this way. Of course being called beautiful should be compliment (depending on the context) but when it is being used to cushion an insult? Hmmm not so much. So why am I getting my knickers in such a twist you may ask?
Is it because I expected more from a woman?
Or because women have had a particularly shit year?
Or could it be that when it comes to periods (and all that mucky girly stuff), more often than not, we’re made to feel like we’re making a fuss?
Well my answer is all of the above.
Frankly, if we don’t speak out when these things happen then nothing will ever change. Women will continue to be condescended and made to feel more than a little silly, which simply won’t do. Particularly when something really bloody hurts.
So what did I do? I rolled out the whole 9.7lbs baby line in defiance (to be fair I’d tell passing strangers this information – I’m rather proud) and I found myself another doctor – sharpish. A doctor who, after a very unpleasant scan, seems to have got to the route of the problem, without a patronising word being passed between us. Hurrah!
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to sobbing at Buster the Boxer and the jumping badger (and no, that’s not a euphemism).