Diagnostic tests in the 1960s: Normal results = a psychosomatic diagnosis for the patient

From: Helen Dynda (olddad66@runestone.net)
Sat Jun 26 12:30:45 1999

As a long-term chronic pain person, I was a "doubting Thomas" in regard to the various medications which had been prescribed for me. As a result of my experience with meds such as Darvon (for pain) , Valium (a tranquillizer) and a host of other muscle relaxants, pain pills, and tranquillizers - medications which were of NO help to me - I found it very difficult to reach out for help! Can you relate to this? Yes, I am sure you can.

What had been my prior experience with prescription medications? It just occurred to me that I have told you about my experience with prescription medicine - but I have not mentioned the chronic, daily, ever-increasing pain which had taken over my life prior to my first abdominal surgey (laparotomy) in February 1970. Actually I can pinpoint the month and year when chronic pain entered my life for the very first time - which eventually led to my 1970 surgery.

I had been given, what seemed to be, every every prescription medication and every diagnostic test available between 1967 and 1969! Nothing helped! On June 1969 I was in so much pain that I just knew there had to be something seriously wrong. When I told my husband that I needed to go to the emergency room, he did not believe me! Unfortunately, when all medical tests have been normal for an extended period of time (2 years in my case), not only the doctors believed me but also eventually my spouse, family, and friends were just as unbelieving.

However, in the middle of the night late in June 1969, I finally convinced my husband that the pain I was having *was real* - that it was so severe that I needed to go to the emergency room at the hospital..

At the emergency room I was thoroughly examined by the doctor-on-call. When he had completed his examination, he told me that he could NOT find anything wrong - but suggested that I leave a urine sample. The urine sample proved that something was definitely causing the enormous pain I was having. There was blood in my urine.

FINALLY , I was able to prove that I was telling the truth - that my pain was real and NOT "all in my head" - that I was not psychosomatically ill - which was a very common diagnosis in the 1960s. So instead of sending me home, he decided that I needed to be hospitalized so that I could get pain relief and have tests done during the day.


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