A Pained Life: Lost in Translation

Years ago I walked into a neurologist’s exam room. The air conditioning was on. It was triggering my trigeminal neuralgia. “Could you turn that down? It is really setting off my pain,” I asked.

The doctor looked at me and practically snarled, “If it was really making your pain bad you would have turned it off yourself.”

No, I wouldn’t. I was not raised that way. As a female, as a patient, and as a person who tries to be courteous. It was his office and his air conditioner. It was not my place to just walk over and change the settings.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. He did not ask me, “If it is causing so much pain, why didn’t you just turn it off yourself?”

I did not reply to what felt like an attack on me and my truthfulness. And he wrote in his records, “I do not think her pain is as bad as she says.”
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