CN: more codeine drama
And in an epic bout of cluelessness someone just told me to “calm down” because the RAGCP said the letter was unhelpful and doctors rarely get deregistered anyway so it’s just hype and nothing’s going to happen.
Except it’s already happening.
And unless I can somehow find a new GP within 10 minutes of my house, find a thousand dollars to pay for the specialist and food, convince the pain specialist to let me communicate (and get there), all in the next week, it isn’t being undone.
Look, even if my ‘I want to get out of here *point to time* *leave*’ appointment ends with the GP saying ‘sorry I panicked, we’ll work this out over time’, the fact there is that he made this decision for me based entirely on his fears and not my needs. He destroyed any trust I had for him. I would be looking for a new GP anyway. Previously, I’ve had time to do that – time to go and look at the carpark and where I can get in and out since I’m not apparently worthy of a permit, time to look at reviews, time to prepare a summary and sort out clearly what I need so that I can present everything as concisely and smartly as possible, time to make the extra trip to make the appointment since I can’t ring… that’s time I wasn’t given here. I can’t gradually do that while still receiving care, and I no longer have the option of ‘well that went to pot, I’mma take a few weeks to recover, just deal with the chemist, and do this on my own terms’.
I’m, weirdly enough, constantly praised for how rational I am in extreme circumstances. There’s no reason for ‘calm down’ or ‘just breathe’ or any of that, because that’s not how I function. And yet, that is what was said. “Calm down, it’s just hype.”
What ‘calm down’ functions as is a tool for minimising and silencing. ‘Calm down, it’s not really bad,’ as if someone’s only seeing how this works out really badly for them because they’re emotional. “Calm down, nothing’s going to happen,” as if nothing has happened already, and preparing for something to happen is in no way helpful (or itself calming, you know, how you can prepare for something and feel more confident about it because you got this?). “Calm down,” as if you only get a voice when you meet some invisible standard of behaviour and mental state and emotional presentation and anything else is dismissed. “Calm down,” says “your reaction you have is invalid and the only appropriate thing to be is in agreement with me”.
I’m not calm. If I was calm it would be worse, probably. But ‘calm’ isn’t the same as rational, or analytical, or educated, or careful, or reasonable, or anything else that generally gets attached to the things people say when they’re believed and not dismissed.
But this happened to me. “Calm down, it’s just hype,” ignores that reality – it isn’t hype, it’s not something that might happen, it’s something that has happened. It’s not something that being in a socially acceptable, narrow range of presentation is going to undo.
Today I slept for maybe two hours, watched two games of football, and told myself that all today’s things I was going to do – lodge an equal opportunity claim to see if it can get processed fast enough to make a difference if I can afford the pain specialist, write to the Minister, see if I can put the bin out now that I’ve spent two hours with ice on my shoulder and it’s dark out (my neighbour still parks their car out front and puts their bins in the rest of the space, leaving no room for anyone else, and two of us in this block have disabilities. It’s an ongoing drama) – can wait until tomorrow. I can then do one trip out instead of two, and post them, go to the doctor, go to the chemist, and buy whatever food I can afford (so, basically, none), and save what spoons I can for the gynaecologist. I made it a whole 18 hours without crying. New South Wales won State of Origin and I got to see it. All day, it was there in my mind, maybe I’ll phrase it this way, I should say that.
But now is not a time to be calm. Now is a time to act. Speaking here isn’t enough. Speaking to journalists isn’t enough. Reaching out to my friends and family isn’t enough. My cousin sparked a panic attack yesterday because she made a public share with a graphic which was the equivalent of “people who take opioids are a drain on society and deluding themselves”, after I shared an article about how the policies here and in the US are leaving people like me without access to medical care. If being angry, if being scared, if feeling threatened, if not being calm is the thing that gets people like me to speak out, gets them through finding supportive care (or alternatives, because seriously), or simply stops someone from giving up, it’s okay. If expressing something makes people feel like they’re not alone, if it gets them the resources they’re looking for, a support group, a small piece of fiercely prized independence, that’s good. These are things that “calm down” denies people, and these are things people need. When faced with such misguided hysteria, with mistreatment, it is not the time to be a socially palatable form of accepting. It is a time to take that “I don’t fit with your worldview” and make it so big it can’t be ignored. A lot of people are like me, and can’t do much – I have to prioritise the doctors I can afford, and be careful about how much I do so I can get there, so I can maybe survive a bit longer, but if these five thousand doctors each have five patients, that’s a small city’s worth of people doing a little bit, even if some of us cover people who can do less, or aren’t able to do anything at all.
But being calm, in the way that was said to me – “calm down, it’s just hype” – is to ignore the things happening to us, to tacitly accept it because it’s inconvenient for other people for us not to. That’s not good.
There are things people can do to help, who aren’t like us – if you know a doctor still willing to prescribe, tell people who need it. Signal boost (don’t appropriate, or say you speak for us, or start up an awareness community only to use it to whine about yourself). Don’t just believe what you’re being told – look at the statistics for yourself, and see the flaws, the multiple causes lumped in as one. Ask what you can do for people who may be losing their ability to care for themselves. Talk to politicians – if they can make special trips out to the boonies to talk about shopping hours, they can make time to hear about this from someone whom isn’t automatically dismissed by way of diagnosis or the taking of medication.
But do not tell us to calm down, that it’s not really an issue, that it’s the universal right thing because the government said so. No right thing involves a consequence where people are denied medical care, and their quality of life directly impacted as a result.
That is something that there is no need to “calm down” about.