By Carmen Rioja
“Just wait for the exit
it causes me such fierce pain,
that I die because I do not die.”
Saint Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)
Perhaps too quickly, but the truth is that life is almost normal again this summer. Although the use of face masks and hand washing are still recommended; always obviously, most restaurants, hotels, squares, and parks will have unrestricted access. We already see the exit out of the tunnel!
Now we must relearn how to go out and socialize safely and having completed our doses of vaccines continue to be prudent and cautious about health. Some people even having had the vaccine could still contract the virus. It is proven that their symptoms will be very minor and without complications.
In any case, those who suffer from a syndrome or chronic disease must take special care and not relax their guard too much. Today I especially want to talk about inflammatory diseases and in particular a condition called fibromyalgia that not everyone knows but that makes those who present it feel disabled and exhausted due to the constant muscle and joint pain that they suffer.
However, there are doctors who still do not fully accept the existence of this disease, but rather classify it as neuropathic pain that can be caused by stress or as a result of another condition without classifying it as fibromyalgia.
Although today there are many treatments to lessen symptoms, there is not really a cure for conditions that have a complex neurological origin that can involve the entire nervous and endocrine systems, among others.
If you suffer from a syndrome such as Parkinson’s, lupus, sclerosis, fibromyalgia, or any type of dysautonomia among other chronic conditions, you will have to adopt a multidisciplinary and proactive vision. I know it sounds horrible, going to a lot of doctors. Sometimes when I can’t walk because of pain or low pressure, I don’t know which specialist I should see and I think to see which is right, between a rheumatologist, an orthopedist, a neurologist, a physiotherapist or an acupuncturist. And when I almost make up my mind, I think I have never been to a chiropractor and what if this is from endocrinology? This thinking continues until the pain passes and I don’t see any of them, even though I should. Every six months or once a year I have to go to rectify my medications and the dosage for dysautonomia, when I think I have mastered it, it always surprises with new symptoms.
For medical specialties, some years ago the Mac hospital opened in San Miguel de Allende, and this is not a commercial, but there I have found very good and professional doctors. In the directory there are two algologists, the branch of medicine that specifically treats pain cases. Most of the time the treatment consists of an interdisciplinary plan designed especially for the patient, involving different techniques and therapies in addition to medications.
The truth is that I cannot always pay for one of these consultations, but by searching there is always something for all budgets. One of the best gave consultations upstairs in a pharmacy across from the market for 30 pesos. Another brilliant doctor of German descent consulted me several times at Dr. Simi’s pharmacy for 30 pesos as well.
And once a year I go to my bedside cardiologist who costs 800 pesos but is inexpensive based on his experience. He is dedicated to saving hearts with short circuits–he knows how to implant a pacemakers. Imagine, in addition to the facilities he has to care for his patients, he is backed by a full team on site utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, and he is an expert with dysautonomia studies!
It is a matter of finding out and being prudent but always proactive, because if the discomfort does not go away by itself, it means that we need help from experts.
Great philosophers like Santa Teresa de Ávila had to sublimate their constant pain in order to get ahead moderately. Hence and from her faith and the great works that she left behind from the sixteenth century. Her famous Christmas carol, “I Die Because I do Not Die” was written approximately between 1572 and 1577. Today I think that pain should not be a companion for life. It exists, it is true, and it helps us to recognize an internal damage or evil that must be addressed; but if he comes home, he should not be invited to have tea, or just let it pass by. And if necessary, invite him to the exit. That is where being proactive helps. Let’s look for healing techniques. Life cloistered by a pandemic threat seems to have come to an end. It is time to go out to the theater, to walk, to visit an old friend, go out to dance, and look for everything that makes us grow and collaborate.
Carmen Rioja, Mexican artist who specialized in art restoration, and creative workshops. She likes to write stories and poems and throw them in imaginary bottles into the sea. Rioja has published the books “La Muerte Niña” and “Rojo 43.”