I’ve been experiencing some pain in one of my fingers for almost a year, which developed into pain in my hand and then pain in my wrist over the last month or so. Now the wrist pain is really quite bad, especially when I first get up in the morning, and so I dragged myself to the doctors this morning.
I was feeling quite happy when I went into the consulting room, I’d parked the car easily (something which can’t be taken for granted where I live) and the appointment was bang on time (again, far from the norm). However, this didn’t last long, after a few questions my hand pain was diagnosed as arthritis- which is perfectly normal for someone of “my age” apparently:
“Take ibuprofen and keep it moving – only don’t move it too much” …. okay ….
With that dealt with so swiftly, I mentioned the fact that I haven’t had a period for 46 days and that I know I’m not pregnant.
“Oh” said the doc “this will be the menopause love, it’s perfectly normal”.
I didn’t think the menopause at 44 was perfectly normal so I pressed her:
“Do I need anything like HRT then? I know when my Mum had a surgical menopause at 44 they put her on HRT until her 50s”.
Looking at me as if I was mad she replied:
“You’re not too young for the perimenopause, it’s all perfectly normal love”.
Of course in my head I’m thinking:
“But you didn’t say the perimenopause, you said the menopause”.
But I actually said:
“So there is nothing I need to do? It’s just old age?”
“No, it’s all perfectly normal. We would only consider HRT if you have raging hot flushes, strong mood swings, other than that it’s all….” (I’ll let you fill in the blanks)
And so off I trotted out of the appointment feeling like I’d met with a doctor who had lost their empathy over the years. Yes, it might be ‘perfectly normal’ for a 44 year-old woman to present themselves to her with symptoms of arthritis and the perimenopause, but it isn’t ‘perfectly normal’ for me and a little bit of information wouldn’t have gone a miss.
I hear stories of how doctors used to be very poor at supporting women during the menopause, but how that has changed. Alas, I did not meet with a shining example of that change today.
I’ll sign off now – using my arthritic old hands 😉