I am in pain..

Unfortunately there exists a bias against women in the treatment of pain in the healthcare setting. It has been noted across the spectrum of both acute and chronic pain conditions that pain in women is often under-treated, and especially so in women of color. The reasons behind this are multifactorial including deep-seated beliefs that women should have a higher tolerance for pain and the popular perception of the histrionic woman who is overstating her pain. This poem is an attempt to give voice to a (woman) patient in excruciating pain after surgery trying to get some relief. I work in the healthcare system and I am definitely not endorsing indiscriminate use of opioids, but pain needs to be treated regardless of gender and ethnicity.

Do I have any prior history

Of using pain medication, do you see

My drug testing that I was made to do

At admission, was negative too

I am in pain excruciating

And I have been patiently waiting

For you to eventually in my room appear

So I may ask for pain medication, though I fear

I am going to get a measly acetaminophen

That, I believe, is not really meant

For pain as severe as I feel now

If it was not bad, I would not have allowed

Myself to take pain-killers of any kind

Right now the pain is making me lose my mind


I understand many pain medications are addictive, I do

I’ve had surgery, my pain makes mobilization difficult too

I grimace, say my pain is at a number ten

But I feel like my reply does not register even

I am not questioning the expertise of my medical team

But my pain is trivialized, it does seem

It broke my heart yesterday

When I overheard someone say

That I was a “pain-medication-seeking” patient

That is certainly not my intent

If there is any way to relieve my pain

With medication or otherwise, I would take that again

You know I am not progressing as I should be

Because I am in severe pain constantly


Exhaustion is taking over me, and I hope I find

Some relief in sleep, uninterrupted, if fate is kind..

Published by iheart11

A 30-something year old woman, physician by profession, fiercely passionate about work, family, travel and fashion..

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