So for the record, I have psoriatic arthritis, Kyphoscoliosis, Asthma, something else I can’t spell let alone pronounce that basically means the bottom of both my lungs are permanently collapsed. There bent backward to be exact and as such the blood supply couldn’t reach them and they’ve died. I also live with C-PTSD and related PTS heart murmur that is managed monthly by an amazing psychiatrist that I would be lost without and a cardiologist as needed.But for 7 years I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and so for 7 years I was without appropriate medication or support, which brings me to, todays rant. I Live in a Lucky country and comparatively speaking, I live with A LOT of privilege, like universal health care and disability pensions. Because I was born in Australia, I have enjoyed access to almost freehealthcaree my whole life and because I live here and qualify for a pension, I receive little less than a minimum wage here in Australia from My government so that I may live a reasonable quality of life. So let me be the first to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!!!! But despite all this privilege, I worry that it isn’t enough, that we as humans need to do more for each other, not financially but emotionally.For 7 years I was misdiagnosed not because there was a lack of evidence pointing to another cause but because of a refusal by public funded doctors to see past their own bias. For 7 years I was repeatedly shamed as a hypochondriac, despite medical evidence saying otherwise. 3 times I presented to emergency and was immediately sent for a psychiatric consult, all 3 times, there was something physically and seriously wrong with me. The first time It happened I was in Brisbane and was having a severe allergic reaction to over the counter medications interacting with my tramadol. The senior ambulance officer made the judgement call, that they would only take me to the hospital if I was willing to admit myself for a mental health evaluation. His reasoning, his mother has fibromyalgia and he knew the histrionics we played with and thus refused me any kind of medical care. Eventually, the psychiatrist did interview me and forced the hospital to treat me medically. After 32 hours in Emergency, vomiting uncontrollably, sobbing from abdominal cramps, a high temperature and shaking, the ER doc figured out, It was the over counter medication causing the issue. Not a Fibro induced histrionic episode. The next time it happened I was in Adelaide, and as it turned out, I had appendicitis but it took a forced psych evaluation and the treating psychiatrist to demand I be treated as a medical patient before the hospital ran any tests, again the Doctors on call in the ER that night, deemed my vomiting, sweating, shaking and pain to be nothing more than psychosomatic fibro related pain. The Last time it happened it was in Victoria, I was again suffering from a severe allergic reaction to medication and again they refused to treat me, they didn’t demand a psych eval this time though, they simply sent me home with an antihistamine and the advice I talk to my Psychiatrist about pain management. 24 hours later I was Back in the ER with my face closed up and my throat near closed, I had gone into a slow but potentially lethal anaphylactic shock, all of this combined with my treating Rheumatologists dismissal of my symptoms and bloodwork that forced me to go private. He repeatedly mocked and laughed at the concerned letters from my podiatrist, physiotherapist and myself that something more than fibromyalgia was going on. He told me my blood inflammation levels were so high because I was fat, he told me if I couldn’t handle the pain, then my psychiatrist wasn’t doing his job properly, and he lied blaming fibromyalgia on my rapid foot growth, and severe swelling in my neck, hands, and knees. Thankfully it was his complete disrespect of my treating psychiatrist that pushed me to my limit, I have an amazing relationship with my psychiatrist, so my rheumatologist, laughing at him, without bothering to learn who he is (my psych is literally one of the top treating psychs in VIC and an authority on psychiatry) was the end point for me. I went back to my Psychiatrist and asked him if he could refer me elsewhere, I figured birds of a feather flock together, so I knew it was a good chance that my psychiatrist’s peers would be at the top of their field too and I was right! But that costs $$$, it would cost and is still costing me a small fortune between 300 and 500 per medical visit to see my new Doctors and i would pay even more money to ensure my own going medical needs are met. Yes it means I have to drive 3 hours each way to see these specialists, but unlike my local government funded doctors, this Rheumatologist, takes my medical needs and test results seriously. Because of her, and the subsequent medication I am now on for psoriatic arthritis, my blood inflammation markers are under 50 for the first time in 7 years, I am exercising 4 times as much, I can toilet myself without medical aids, I can walk faster, I can bend again and I’m no longer sobbing in mind blowing pain every day. Because of her, I am trying to go back to school, just today I enrolled at Tafe to study online and because of this new found hope, I am actually planning a life that doesn’t revolve around disability or living on a pension. Because of her, I will one day pay taxes again, the very taxes that fund the inadequate public health system that shunned me.Why so many doctors from so many regions across Australia believe Fibromyalgia is a psychiatric condition despite being managed by Rheumatology, I will never know, I only know the public treating Rheumatologist I saw repeatedly used my exhaustion and nerve pain as a justification for his belief that all of my sufferings was psychosomatic and in my head. Why he and so many others felt compelled to give me an additional diagnosis of fibromyalgia when the existing diagnosis of C-PTSD already covers the reason for neuropathic pain and why they believe it’s ok to ignore blood tests, CT scans, xrays and reports from allied treating professional all pointing to something else in lieu of a convenient psychiatric justification. And perhaps in that lays the answer, are our public treating doctors so overworked that they are constantly on the lookout for ways to handball patients, and it’s convenient to label someone a hypochondriac, because it means you don’t have to deal with them, at least until the treating psychiatrist demands you do that is.I don’t have any answers, sadly all I have is questions and sadness, I lost 7 years of my life, being treated like an attention seeking drama queen, all because Doctors here in Australia don’t want to deal with the diagnosis they don’t understand. Today I am rebuilding my life, but I have also lost a lot and sadly learnt that in Australia even the medical system thinks it’s ok to treat psych patients like second class citizens, time and time again I tried to help myself and repeatedly I was made to feel like I didn’t know my place. The medical doctors I saw treated me like I was worthless and didn’t matter, but it was my psychiatrist who stood by me and repeatedly told me “this pain is not in your head” it was my psychiatrist who kept me sane when the medical doctors made me feel like a hypochondriac. But that should never have had to happen in the first place, It shouldn’t be my Psychs job to ensure I get good medical care because the medical ‘system’ doesn’t believe in treating psych patients with dignity. And this brings me to my next blog, why the relationship you have with your doctor is so important
My mum and i created this recipe back in 98, after i suffered a severe bout of bronchitis and pneumonia and my mum who has lupus, was struggling to survive the winter herself. Since making this soup i can honestly say 12 years later, neither of us, have ever gotten that sick again. We both keep a store of this in the freezing so if we feel anything coming on, were quick to nip it in the bud with out kills everything immune boosting soup.
- 8 – 9 chicken lovely legs, skinless
- 8 – 10 chopped cloves of garlic
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 – 3 small red chillies (Remove the seeds if you don’t like it too hot as they’re the hottest part, or just use one chilli. But you must use small chillies because they loosen mucus.)
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 litres chicken stock
- 2 finely chopped carrots
- 1 – 2 handfuls corn
- 1 cup macaroni pasta
- 2 – 3 handfuls baby spinach
Heat the oil in a stock pot and brown the chicken, garlic, onion, chilli and ginger. Add the chicken stock, carrots and corn. Bring to the boil, and if needed add water. Simmer for 15 – 30 minutes. Take out the chicken, pull the meat off the bone, break meat into small pieces and put back in the pot. Add macaroni and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add baby spinach, taste, add salt and pepper if needed, then serve.
Female misogyny is a big concern of mine, and a huge social issue here in Australia. Women degrading other women, because their women. Women who think women are nothing, incapable or incompetent with out men. This attitude can not be seen more clearly than in the treatment of our first female priminister. Julia Gillard is being critisied and objectified because she is a un-married women with out children. Other women consider her unfit to run the country, but when asked why, thier examples are “she’s a red head, we all know red heads are unreasonable and hot tempered, she has a big arse, flat tits, bogan accent, she doesn’t understand what it means to be married and therefore can not relate, she doesn’t have kids and thus can’t relate, she lied about the carbon tax, she’s just another lying manipulative bitch”. Of course none of these statements are true, but that doesn’t stop men and women treating our first female priminister with less respect than any other priminister in history. They don’t call her by title, instead they call her “bitch, cunt,ranga, whore, barren hoe, slut, that women, she, jules, Julesy and “her” but society at large and the media, almost never call her “Priminister”Or “Gillard”. This level of disrespect has never and is not happening with our male politicians, they are all still accorded the respect of their title and position and lies by men are considered standard politics, but “Gillard” who did not lie, but rather was forced into a position of minority leadership and therefore had to compromise with the leader of the senate Bob Brown, thus going back on her promise not to institute a carbon tax. Is being held accountable for a tax that Bob brown created and that benefited all Australians. Bob brown has not been held accountable for the tax that Australia hates, but financially and environmentally benefited everyone. The primister on the other hand is still being bullied and hated for it, one prominent journalist even went so far as to say “Priminister Gillards, father died of shame”.Julia Gillard will eventually go down in History as one of Australia’s most successful Priministers, but that is not what this country cares about. Gillard has successfully passed more policies in her term than any other politician in history, she has also been the only politician to actually make the massive social reforms that she promised for example she has instituted the nation disability insurance scheme. Australians will pay an additional 3% levy in their tax, but disabled Australians everywhere will now have access to funds that will enable them to buy the things they need to return to work, thus paying taxes and not receiving a pension off the government. She has also implemented the Gonski program for schools, ensuring that no child in Australia regardless of socio-economic standards will go with out a education. Disabled and under privileged children everywhere will soon be receiving the same education standard as their wealthy and healthy peers. She has made massive changes to parenting payments, allowing both partners more time at home with their kids and don’t even get me started on our highly successful economy that is the envy of the world. In deed as the facts stand, Julia Gillard is the most philanthropic politician Australia has ever seen. But the media does not talk about her success just her big arse, flat tits and marriage status, the Australian media would have you believe that because Ms Gillard and her Partner Tim Mathieson who is a hair dresser and are not married, they are both gay and living double lives. Yep in Australia, aesthetic appearances have become more important than policies. They harp on about a innocuous carbon tax, that she instituted a year ago with out any financial or social damage to our society, but because this tax was something Australians did not understand and therefore did not want, she is still be punished for it, the opposition actively uses it as a tool to prove “she” (they refuse to use her name, calling her only by gender) can not run the country, the use phrases like “she needs to make a honest woman of her self and repeal the carbon tax” such comments are a not so subtle way of reminding Australians that she isn’t married and of course all unmarried women are dishonest. They mock her repeatedly by getting their press pictures taken beside opposition supporters banners with the words “ditch the witch” and “ditch the cunt”. Recently while attending a state political dinner, the opposition gladly ate a main meal entitled “Julia Gillard, Kentucky friend Quail, small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box. The opposition leader apologized but refused to sack or reprimand MP Mal Brough for his actions in approving the menu at the dinner hosted by himself. Despite this blatant misogyny the media is still prophesying the end of Gillards leadership, they claim, that Abbot will win by a landslide in the September election. It is my hope, that like America, where the media prophesied a landslide victory by Romney, Australian media will also be wrong. Abbots approval rating is low, but his inept, POLICY FREE party has a slightly higher approval rating than Gillards Labor party. And i do mean policy free, Abbot is so sure of his victory he has refused to release any policies pre election. It is my hope that at this election if people won’t vote for Gillard they will at least vote independent. It will most likely mean Gillard will once again be forced to work with a minority government, but she will still be a better leader than the Misogynist Abbot. I just hope the rest of Australia sees that too, but sadly to many men and women agree with the sentiment of one anonymous writer from the website http://www.whatmenaresayingaboutwomen.com who wrote “One can be guaranteed with feminist Julia Gillard in Power. The lies, hypocrisy and incompetence will be clearly demonstrated and promoted under the guise of how brilliant leftist females are at destroying a country.”The above example of social misogyny that is sweeping our country sickens me and it needs to be stopped, whether Gillard is our priminister or not and before the systemic misogyny becomes ingrained in our society and increased levels of domestic and intimate partner violence not only increase but are tollerated as normal.
This is expecially fearful for people with a disability and those living with a disability or chronic medical condition have a higher risk of experiencing violence than people without disability. They can also experience more barriers to access support services.
Family violence is a gendered crime. Evidence indicates that family violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women and children. Male violence against women is often characterised by the misuse of power and control within a context of male privilege. Women are not inherently vulnerable or ‘at risk’, but are made so by policies, structures, and systems. As such, some women are at greater risk of experiencing family violence.
Compared to women without disability, women with disability:
- Are at greater risk of severe forms of intimate partner violence
- Experience violence at significantly higher rates, more frequently, for longer, in more ways, and by more perpetrators
- Have considerably fewer pathways to safety
- Are less likely to report experiences of violence
In addition, women are more likely to be seriously injured or killed when they are planning to leave the relationship, or in the months following separation. This is owing to the perpetrator’s sense of entitlement, ownership, and perceived loss of control of the victim.
For these reasons we work closely with domestic violence and sexaual assault support organisations to ensure not only that out practice reflects an accurate understanding of the risks involved but also how to best handle complex situations.