Masochism and Doctors

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The thing about me is that, I never have the “right” symptoms for anything.  I had figured this was due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome at first, but I am starting to think that masochism has something to do with it.  For example, when I recently had a sinus infection, it was sort of something I was dealing with for the past few weeks.  Master and me thought it was just ear wax related, so we bought one of those “clean your ears out yourself” kits and spent a week on it at home.  It didn’t work, so after about a week, we went to the doctor, who flushed one ear, but told me the other one was completely fine, and I should be good in a day or two.  That’s when I got the worst headache of my life, and we went back.  The doctor looked again and told me my ears were both squeeky clean, and that wax could not be the issue at all.  It took us forever to figure out that it was actually that I had blocked sinuses, because I take an inhaler and it keeps my nose clear enough to breathe.  The doctor kept pointing out that usually when people have sinus infections that they are in a ton of pain.  She told me to rate my pain.  I told her:  0.  No pain.  My only issue was that I could not hear out of my left ear, and I would get occasional headaches.  The headaches were so bad I couldn’t sit up, but outside of the headaches, I had no pain.  Eventually she decided to just look at my sinuses anyway, since it would only take a minute, and she knew what was wrong right away.

That seems to be a common problem with me.  Doctors like to always ask me: “So, why are you here, if you’re not in pain?” And, I have to sigh and say “I’m here because, even though it doesn’t hurt, I don’t think limping like this is normal.” Or “Because my hand will not work.”  Or, “Because I can’t hear.”  And they almost never seem to check me for the things that are actually my issue because “You’re not in pain, so nothing is wrong.”

When I was going to PT, my physical therapist told me at one point that there was no way my foot could possibly still be broken because I “Would be in so much more pain.”  It’s really frustrating, because it turned out my foot was broken.

It’s not that masochism makes me feel no pain, I’m not implying that.  I do like pain, and I get turned on by it, it’s just that, for me anyway, I find that my constant exposure to pain (whether in the bedroom, caused by an injury, etc) has given me a much higher tolerance for it, which is also why it takes more and more beatings for me to get off the same way I always have.  More pain = good in the bedroom.  I guess it would be good outside of the bedroom too, because then it would be easier to figure out what is wrong with me when I get sick or hurt.

Master has even told me that maybe I should lie and tell the doctor something hurts worse that it does.  “Always add one or two to the number when you’re rating your pain.”  But, we concluded that would not be the best idea because if I say my pain is an eight, and I don’t look like I’m near tears, then the doctor won’t believe me which isn’t good either.

Any other masochists out there have this same problem?

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14 thoughts on “Masochism and Doctors

  1. I have the same problem due to my fibro. I fractured my foot and spent the next three days in heels because I process pain on a totally different level. Docs always give me a hard time because I should react more.

    • @Krissy Novacaine Yeah, I can relate. The worst bit is when I actually *am* in severe pain, the doctors almost never believe me. It’s frustrating. -.- And they NEVER believe me when I tell then that I have a “high pain tolerance”. Ha! Oh well. -.-

  2. apolloswolf says:

    I have the problem of when it hurts I play it off. Or block it out. And when it gets to the point I can’t block it it’s bad and usually lands my in the hospital. The biggest problem is when I get sick I don’t run a temperature.. ever.. my blood pressure goes up to 140/80 which to some is “normal ” but I’m usually a 110/64 . With a slow heart rate.

    • @apolloswolf I think I wind up blocking some pain out too, especially when it is something that is going to interfere in my daily life. For example, if something is bothering me, but it means I will have to skip something I love (an outing, a party, a workout, etc), then I will just push through it. Though, I know that isn’t the best idea, because if something gets to the point where it is actually bothering me, I need to sit up and pay attention, more often than not.

  3. Absolutely!
    i have found that adding 2 to whatever number i think something is puts me still below, but closer, to what most other people report in the same situation. Of course, then i have days where i think i must be a wimp because i’m crying and didn’t realize the pain had reached that point. Kind of a disconnect between comprehension of pain and the actual pain itself, maybe…
    Glad you wrote this — the subject is definitely something we don’t always think about and often miss the correlation.

    • @jenpet Thanks! Yeah, we talked about adding two to the “How much pain do you feel” number, but for me it isn’t helpful, because I almost never show pain on my face when I am at the doctor’s. They should see what it takes to make me cry. Ha! Lol. I shouldn’t joke. It’s a serious topic, but also a frustrating one.

    • Also, it seems that your pain tolerance is higher than mine. i hate sinus infections and i can feel them coming on.

      • @jenpet Well, it’s not a contest. ;) But I will say that the sinus headaches that resulted from the infection were absolutely crippling, and I could barely lift my head let alone think straight. They were awful. Otherwise – yeah, my face felt just fine.

  4. Lada had a similar problem before she got on baseline pain meds: For her, the problem was that her baseline pain was so high that it drowned out the acute pain. She used to ALWAYS tell me she wasn’t in pain when I asked her, but her symptoms were those of someone who was fighting off extreme chronic pain. Then she got put on pain medication, which brought down her baseline pain to the point where it’s not drowning out the acute pain, and now she’s actually able to tell the doctor what her REAL pain level is when something’s wrong.

    Doctors still don’t believe her, though. Bastards. (grr. arg.)

    (To put it in terms Macula Pravus can understand:
    Baseline pain = static.
    Acute pain = clean signal.
    The pain medication dials back the static so the signal can get through.)

    • @Fred Very interesting. I have talked with Lada a few times about this particular problem, any if anyone out there could understand it, I know it is her. :) Sometimes I think we are both so similar in all the wrong ways, but I love her anyway. Please send her some ::hugs:: from me, and tell her I’m thinking of her. =^^=

      • Fred and Lada made a really interesting discovery here! I’m a severe chronic pain patient, and I have found the same thing. I process pain differently than a lot of people (find some things stimulating that others would find terrible) and I almost never ever bruise, but my chronic migraine and fibromylagia still always hurt like hell. One of the best sex sessions we ever had was after I had an accident getting into bed, MM was goofing around and threw me and my leg rammed into the side of the hard wood water bed support so hard I really felt it and I BRUISED (something I rarely am able to do.) I was laughing and crying at the same time, so he comforted me and in a few minutes one thing led to an other and….. wow! The problem is I hit the bed hard enough to have broken something if it hadn’t been the soft portion of my fluffy thigh. We have been too afraid to emulate this kind of injury on purpose. *sigh*

        Getting good treatment for my medical problems with meds and therapy helps me process BAD chronic pain better and leaves the other stuff alone. Acute pain is WAY different than chronic pain. Fred made it really clear. (I’ll have to share that with MM, he’s an engineer and that should make good sense to him.)

        I don’t have any solutions, but I can understand and empathize.

        I always learn something when I read your blog, kitty! Thank you!

        • @P’Gell I can relate to this on a lot of levels. I do bruise easily (well, except for my ass and my breasts, Master does a lot of impact play there, so they have a sort of tolerance), but I can relate to the difference between acute pain and the daily hummings that people with chronic illness deal with. Most of the time I am not in pain, but I do get really upset when something doesn’t work (like if I injure something). When I finally get around to feeling pain it is (usually) astronomical. That, or so minor that most docs just assume that nothing is wrong.

          Frustrating! >.<

  5. You might have an “on/off” switch that either registers really high pain or none at all. A lot of research into endorphins shows pp with chronic pain, those who like impact play and other kink etc tend to have endorphin issues. Either we secrete TOO much endorphins (and related neurotransmitters) or not enough.

    With chronic pain, I know I’m not secreting enough, but liking… eh ehm,,, intense stimulation, it’s like I have to kick my endorphin receptors into uber HIGH gear to work and provide me with pleasure. But, then when it finally happens, I’m totally blissed out.

    Weird stuff.