the story begins where it begins and so it begins here, nearly three months after my eleven-year old daughter became unwell.
unwell? – here i am, one sentence in, and already tripped up by a word i thought i knew and understood. certainly, we thought she was unwell when we drove her to hospital with suspected appendicitis. then her blood and urine tests came back clear, an ultrasound scan was also okay and she was diagnosed with functional abdominal pain. my daughter was discharged into the care of a clinical psychologist who asked her if she is happy at school. yes, happy at school. no follow-up appointment given. paracetamol for pain relief. home again. cope.
unwell, poorly – these are words i have to learn to strike out, because she is neither.
she is in pain – so much pain that she has been unable to return to school since January. she can’t stand up unaided, nor dress herself, nor sleep without crying out – oddly, these things do not mean she is unwell. that she is in pain, a great deal of pain and declining, seems secondary.
we must be reassured by the diagnosis of functional abdominal pain. i am told that parents who are not reassured make things worse. questioning the diagnosis makes worse things worse.
this diagnosis turns a very great deal of what i had thought to be true about care and caring on its head.