Patient Expert Course Creator
A few years ago, I suddenly collapsed from physical illness that left me in constant, moaning, groaning, agonising, sleep-destroying, concentration-killing, furious, pitiless, relentless pain. The orthopaedic doctors who should have known better ignored the intensity of my pain from avascular necrosis, the death of bone tissue, and discharged me ahead of schedule, leaving me with tissue damage that would never heal and pain that would only get worse. Other doctors prescribed painkillers. Apart from referring me to a pain clinic, that was the limit of their expertise in pain science. Eventually, the medications failed to control my pain and made me feel sick. I decided to become project manager of my own pain therapy. After two years of waiting, I finally entered one of the U.K.’s best pain clinics.
Success in managing my own pain is one of my qualifications for creating this course. My second qualification is as a “patient expert.” Medical philosophers and increasingly, doctors recognise the role of patient narratives in understanding and treating illness and pain. Patient experts are patients who acquire technical knowledge about their medical conditions. By that definition, I qualify. Having absorbed as much as possible from pain management therapy, I continue to read medical research journals and books about pain, network with patients and experts, write about my pain experience in an upcoming memoir, and look to other disciplines such as medical philosophy to understand pain.
My third qualification is my decades of work as a journalist. Researching and understanding complicated issues and explaining them in simple language to non-specialists is what I have done all my life. Illness and pain are subjects I know intimately.