Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Campaign

Apparently, I'm having post-exertional malaise from cleaning out fish sauce and hauling the bottles to the dumpster two days ago. So I spent most of the day in bed, pretty much waiting all day until I had enough energy to type something here. However, it's not quite as bad as it was a few months ago, which I describe as, even if I had been starving in bed I would not have been able to get up and go out and acquire some food to eat, assuming money falling from sky, of course. I've read another person's description as, even if the building were burning down, she could not have gotten out of bed. Yes, this is really hard to imagine if you don't experience it yourself. It's one of those things where in order to understand, I wish people could experience it, yet it's really not something you'd want to wish on anyone.

The CDC and CFIDS Association have partnered up for an educational campaign. They have a pretty informative Web site: Provider Education Project and the CDC site on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

However, as far as the Awareness Campaign, I don't know who it's reaching. The people who are looking for the information are already aware. The people who need awareness are the ones who would pass over learning about it even if the information fell in their laps. Who is this Awareness Campaign reaching, if in San Mateo County, between world-class UCSF and Stanford medical centers, one of the wealthiest and most highly educated regions in the world, and one of the most progressive supposedly... if I can go to twenty doctors in various specialties and hardly a one even recognizes this thing exists? The old-minded ones (who aren't quite used to women being in the work-world yet) say it's anxiety, stress, or psychosomatic. That's a pretty "interesting" conclusion, because when you think about it, that's an even more nebulous mechanism of causing physical symptoms than what the same people would call hokey in alternative medicine explanations of energy flow, meridians, trigger points, and whatnot.

So I wonder what would happen if, in response to my PCP saying to please let him know if there's anything else he can do to help, I suggested learning about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, even if he doesn't believe in the Lyme disease stuff. Doctors don't like to be told things.

What's better, a doctor (or any person) who is dumb and nice, or one who is smart and not-so-good a person? My mom says that people who really are nice and caring won't be that dumb, and people who are not-so-good people won't really be that smart. Hm... but in the case of a sick person seeking treatment from a doctor, which would be more effective? Neither? If a dumb person really cared enough, could he find a way to solve a problem with endless effort? On the other hand, does dealing with some smarter people require navigating Jekyll and Hyde?

I really haven't come across many doctors if any (excepting sisters of course) who are both really smart and really caring. There may be some luck involved there. I still have to share the story of the Stanford pre-med who tried to put out a fire with a paper towel. That's also the story of how I saved the Chem building from burning down, hehe. Next time you go to see a doctor, even a Stanford or Harvard educated one, consider the fact that even with that stamp, they might try to put out fires with paper towels. Scary.

Today is a record day for comments from new commenters. I was especially amused that I got an answer to my chemistry question. Yay!


Adit said...

Good question - dumb and nice doctor or smart and not so nice. Tough one. The answer is -> neither! Look for a hot date. Unlike in the case of either of the doctors, I'll believe everything she says AND feel better (-: