What does “weird” mean to you?
I think it’s weird when I walk into Trader Joe’s and find there are no flowers for sale.
I think it’s weird when I’m scanning through the radio stations in the car and hear the same song playing on two different stations at the same time.
You may think it’s weird that I even listen to the radio.
Back in September of 2018, I wrote a blog post after my rheumatologist called me weird.
This week, it’s a blog post about a different doctor but the same adjective.
I met with a doctor specializing in chronic pain management. I didn’t go into the appointment with very high hopes. After all the doctors I’ve already met with and all the tests I’ve already had, what could this doctor have to tell me?
Well, she told me that my pain doesn’t follow predictable patterns.
I knew that.
She told me she’s not quite certain what’s going on in my body.
No one really is.
She hypothesized and starting thinking out loud about different tests. I vetoed the nerve conduction test and electromyography. I’ve done it twice, and all I can say is it felt like a form of torture.
I stood on my toes.
I stood back on my heels.
I walked down the hallway.
I crossed my legs.
The doctor reviewed the results of previous MRIs.
And her conclusion?
I have “weird pain.”
I didn’t agree to a new drug. I didn’t agree to a test that would involve inserting a needle into my spine.
And I didn’t let the tears flow in that exam room.
I thanked the doctor for her time, and on the drive home, I cried.
I don’t know why doctors think it’s okay to tell a patient they are weird or their pain is weird.
I’d like to suggest different adjectives: Abnormal. Uncommon. Atypical. Irregular.
At least those adjectives sound more professional, more clinical in nature.
You can click here to read my personal essay “The Hard Realities I’ve Faced After My Doctor Told Me, ‘You’re Just Weird’.”