When I was in seventh or eighth grade (12-14 years old), I was extremely clumsy. I fell down a lot, sprained joints, etc. I was constantly seeing an orthopedist to see if I’d damaged my joints too much. I ended up missing out on PE quite a bit, and became the antagonist in the mind of one of the gym teachers. One day, I sprained my hand and she told me that if I lost weight, I wouldn’t have hurt my hand. I could never figure out the reasoning behind that statement.
Fast forward to now, or at least an hour ago, and you’ll find me sitting in my rheumatologist’s office. I’m trying to get out the problems that I have been having lately with my joints. Every time I say anything, he is dismissive. I tell him that my joints are stiff, he says that’s my hypermobile joints. I tell him that they’re feverish, he says that’s normal for osteoarthritis. I try to point to my hands and wrists to try to explain that they’re getting harder to use and that they hurt a lot lately. What does he say? He tells me that if I lose weight, I won’t hurt so much. Huh?
I get that weight increases pain in joints that are weight-baring. Since I don’t crawl around or walk on all fours, then I would say that it is highly unlikely that more weight is exerted on my hands than on the hands of any other person, including people who weigh a hell of a lot less than me. And if he actually looked at my chart, he might see that my weight has gone down since the last appointment. Of course, that would’ve required him to pay attention.
His solution was that I need to take more muscle relaxers. Before I could get out that the muscle relaxers don’t make my pain go away, he was out the door. I didn’t recover my ability to speak fully until we got out to the car. My dad seemed shocked by the way things went down. (He had never gone back with me before.) He thought that the doctor was too dismissive.
He also thought that I shouldn’t complain about joint problems since joint hypermobility isn’t really that painful. That was quite enlightening. I wonder if he came up with that on his own or if he consulted the crackpot’s guide to connective tissue problems.