Storying Sheffield

Maria’s Story

“They just kept looking straight through me.”

This story is part of the Storying Health Inequalities project. You can listen to an audio version of Maria’s story here. Photos by Andy Brown.

When I got the fibromyalgia oh that just through spanner in the works [laughs] really, because I was getting pain, started off with some like funny pain I thought I’ve never had this pain before and I didn’t know what it was and it kept going on and I thought well this is just not going and it was…I couldn’t put it down to anything, it wasn’t when it was cold or, it was – I just had it all the time, sunny, frosty, snowing, raining, I just didn’t know what it was so I went to the GP and I said ‘well I’m suffering from pain’ and, I don’t know I just got a reaction ‘oh dear’ like you know right and…they just – I don’t know they just prescribed some pain killers and it didn’t particularly do anything and then I went back and they said ‘well erm it could be arthritis then or rheumatism or something’ I said ‘well it’s certainly something’ so they checked my blood and it wasn’t anything like that and they didn’t really – they just sort of looked at me much as to say you know I was maybe imagining it or something and I don’t know, it was a bit strange really so I just said look you know I just can’t cope with this.

I am worried about it, it’s really…getting to me because I don’t want it to be anything more serious because it is certainly there, so I ended up referring myself back to the thyroid department and saying I’ve got this pain, I’ve had tests and it’s not arthritis or rheumatism but I’d like to know what it is, I mean I didn’t cry or anything but I just said look I’m getting a bit distraught because there’s something not right with my body I know I shouldn’t be having this sort of pain, but just not getting anywhere with it. I’d like to just know or if you can tell me or try and do something to test or something to ease my mind and just see exactly what’s going on in my body and he diagnosed me as having fibromyalgia, which was…you know a relief really because I just thought you know I want to know what it is and he just said ‘it is quite a common thing with thyroid people but anybody can get it’…and I explained – because I was never asked what sort of pain is it blah blah blah and I said it was like this burning sensation and this and that and he told me and it was really nice and I really appreciated his help with it you know because I was just weren’t getting anywhere.

I was complaining about pain and just was given pain killers which wasn’t what I – the answer what I wanted just to be given pain killers, I’m not one for taking tablets and, I just said look I just can’t understand this and it just didn’t seem to register with them it just didn’t seem to sink in. They just didn’t seem to understand you know because I’d never – you know on my record I’d never suffered from anything, never ever like shall we say cost them money and cost them time in the past and so I weren’t a person that went all the time just for something or nothing, you know and I said that to them at the time I said’ look I’ve never been – I’ve never suffered with anything and now I am suffering and I know I’m suffering.

What can it be? There is certainly something not right’ and you know you do stress oh if there’s anything that’s a problem? I said but I’m just not getting any help, and they just still kept like looking straight through me and…And not doing anything.