Yesterday's July 4th celebrations saw your intrepid blogger trapped in a party he didn't wish to attend with a guest list that included six -- that's one more than five, one less than seven -- gay men, all more-or-less in a "committed relationship", which to judge from the openly frank exchange of sexual innuendo would seem to indicate that "committed" means something to gay men that it doesn't mean to the rest of us.
But that is not the point of this little screed, so I shall leave the unsavory details for another post later today.
Anyways, apparently all the rage in Gay Circles these days is to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
And I should probably point out, for the 32,000,000th time on this blog, that I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut if anyone is gay -- I have my own problems, thank you very much -- and no, I don't hate you. Anyways...
For those of you who do not know what fibromyalgia is, I'll try to explain in layman's terms. I should make it absolutely clear before I begin that I am NOT a doctor, nor have I had any medical training, whatsoever. I do, however, have certain experiences (to be described later on in this nonsense) that have given me a basis for an opinion on the subject.
Fibromyalgia is, basically, a medical term that relates to a constant and often-severe pain that does not have an obvious, identifiable medical source. That is to say, there is no physical injury to point to as a source of this pain; there is also usually an absence of a viral, bacterial or other biotic agent. In the Olden Days, before the practice of medicine became a game to see who could push the most pills and score the most medicare patients with padded bills in a day, doctors often referred to conditions like this as "Phantom pains", or "Psychosomatic conditions".
It was noted that this complaint of "Phantom Pain" was most often observed in amputees, who could swear they could feel pain in their now-gone limbs and extremities, often years after the fact. I'm not saying fibromyalgia is the new "Phantom Pain", but it sounds very much like it could be
Typically, fibromyalgia "victims" have three things in common:
1. They've all suffered some serious traumatic injury that has involved broken bones/fractures/head injuries and possibly multiple surgeries. Additionally, these injuries may include severe psychological trauma which has either been undiagnosed, or left untreated.
2. They were all prescribed massive doses of painkillers, most notably opiates and opiate-derivatives.
3. Continued medical examination consistently reveals that whatever past injury may have existed, it has healed, and logically, the pain that is associated with the original trauma should be long gone.
In other words, fibromyalgia is a fancy term for a condition that your doctor, with all his/her years of expensive training, with all the miracle machines available for diagnosis, with all the knowledge of genetics we're gaining, cannot identify. He's simply stumped, and rather than look like idiots with a diploma the medical profession has simply coined a fancy name for it.
There is one school of medical theory that holds that fibromyalgia is a neurological/nervous system disorder or some type, but we're talking about the human brain -- the single organ about which medical science knows absolute jack shit about. If medical science ever unlocks the secrets and function of the human brain then we're pretty much done as a species, as the Master Race of thinking, feeling, robots we'll create with that knowledge will eventually figure out that we're just bags of protoplasm and so easy to kill.
Anyway, three of my poo-stabbing, party-going compatriots were happy to announce, to anyone who would listen, that they have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Now, 50% of six homos is a rather small sampling, I'll admit, but you have to wonder. That sort of "infection" rate would make fibromyalgia more virulent than Malaria, Yellow Fever or Ebola, and more prevalent than Multiple Sclerosis or Cancer.
I'll bet the only other medical condition more prevalent among Gay Men is inflamed hemorrhoids, but I digress...
Back to fibromyalgia. I don't want anyone to get the mistaken impression that only Gay Men get it -- or rather, claim to have it -- because I have also known three straight people (two women, one man) who have also claimed the mantle of this condition. if you take a cursory look at their medical histories, you will find the following:
Woman #1 had been involved in four -- count 'em -- automobile accidents. Two of those accidents involved minor injuries, but two others resulted in serious injury requiring orthopedic surgery to a knee, her lower back, and a shoulder. Woman #1 was given large doses of opiate painkillers, even after her injuries and trauma healed, and for years afterwards continued to see her physician on a regular basis for renewals. After nearly five years on painkillers, another doctor (seeing her for a totally different issue) recommended she be put on methadone in order to treat her obviously-undiagnosed prescription pill addiction. One year-plus of methadone treatment and psychotherapy fixed her behind right up. She no longer feels the pain, and is able to lead a normal, active life. She's still driving, so be careful out there!
Woman #2 was also involved in a car accident, and has a surgically-repaired back with a metal rod stuck in it. Woman #2, after recovery, held down a job as a trauma center nurse, and when busy would hardly remember that she had a rod in her spine. However, whenever she was bored, felt depressed, had some sort of emotional issue that she couldn't deal with, the pain in her back would suddenly become unbearable, and it was off to the doctor's office for a prescription for her drug of choice, Percocet. Having dated this woman, I can tell you that her medicine cabinet was a veritable supermarket: Percocet, Halcion, Xanax, Codeine, Oxycontin, prescribed by doctors, psychiatrists and even her freakin' dentist. Once Woman #2 --don't ask me how, I wasn't there anymore by that time -- "found God", she suddenly wouldn't touch a pill with a 10' pole.
Man #1 in this example suffered a severe head injury when he was accidentally whacked with a falling (from about 10 stories) 10-pound sledgehammer on a construction site (I shit you not). Despite (or perhaps because of) his hard hat, he still (only) suffered a severe skull fracture, and you guessed it, was prescribed an awful lot of painkillers during recovery. Long after his fracture had healed, he would suffer from severe headaches, and his hands would tremble. PET Scans, CAT scans, dog scans, whatever, failed to reveal a physical problem, but his doctors kept churning out prescriptions for painkillers. Needless to say, this man was, unfortunately, killed when -- after his doctor wisely decided to cut him off and tried to find him other help -- he got into an argument with a drug dealer over the price and quality of his new drug of choice, heroin. A subsequent autopsy revealed no obvious brain damage or abnormality.
Now, back to my three Butt-Pirate fibromyalgia partiers.
Mr. Butt-Cowboy suffered a leg broken in two places while skiing three years ago. His surgically-repaired leg, held together with pins and plates, is as good as new, he's happy to tell you. He'll also be quite happy to tell you about all the wonderful, psychedelic experiences he has had whilst sampling the full menu on the medicinal smorgasbord. He still takes prescription painkillers for a pain that manifests nowhere near his repaired leg, and after consulting another doctor who would "do something besides give me pills", he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after but two visits and a minimum of testing...and given new pills to take.
Mr. Ass-Spelunker had broken his hand and wrist seven years ago, and still takes painkillers. He's tried several different types of painkillers, too, and despite the fact that no one can explain the cause of the pain to him, neither has anyone done anything except give him more pills... and he just happily takes them. He recently went to the same doctor as Butt Cowboy (see above), and got the same diagnosis: fibromyalgia.
Mr. Rump Wrangler suffered a minor neck injury in a collision. Although it did not require surgery, and for many years did not bother him at all, a doctor gave him a prescription for a painkiller which he has had refilled at intervals over the last two years. Last year, he began to notice that his pain became more severe, and so the doctor upped the dosage on his meds. Now, he can hardly get through the day with at least three of what he refers to as "The Magic Pills", and wouldn't you know it?, a completely different doctor gave him a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, too!
By the way, another thing these three men have in common besides sexual partners, shared bodily fluids and the same doctor?
All three are currently receiving, or in the process of getting, disability benefits based upon a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
And why not? It's not as if anyone can actually prove it does or doesn't exist. It's not something visible and obvious, like a missing limb (then again, a missing limb wouldn't be visible as it's not really there, is it?), or something that can be inferred or tested, like blindness or diabetes. How do you prove that someone has a condition that medical science can't even agree exists in a physical sense, and which is often masked or complicated by other factors, such as emotional issues or drug addiction?
Your guess is as good as mine.
So, either fibromyalgia is a psychosomatic condition, the result of a human being being unable to mentally get past the trauma(s) that initially gave them so much grief, a mental disorder that involves believing in something that isn't there (you know, like religion), or it's the result of doctors handing out opiate drugs like they were fucking Good n' Plenty, and then having to find a convenient medically-sounding explanation to avoid being sued for creating drug addicts that were supposed to be under their care and supervision.
Whatever the real reason, it seems as if it's about to become the all-time favorite of personal injury and disability attorneys for years to come. Someone with better qualifications than I should seriously start looking at what's plainly before them before they start inventing new diseases and disorders out of thin air, because it looks set to cost the taxpayer -- and the healthcare system -- a shitload of money.