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Torn between my professional self and my personal feelings regarding DP's health

(14 Posts)
MuckyRedSheet Mon 24-Sep-12 09:04:24

DP lost his father to cancer last year. Since, DP has convinced himself that he too will die of cancer. I totally understand this as the paranoia hit me when my own father died. So, he's been backwards and forwards to the doctors for blood tests, scans etc and they're trying to reassure him that he's fine.

DP however still not convinced so the doctor has decided to send him for a lumber puncture. I'm a nurse and I know how horrific these procedures are. I HATE the thought of him going through that if it's not needed.

So what do I do?? convince him not to have it done and risk them missing something that actually IS a problem or simply support him through the procedure? He said to me "I won't feel it, they told me" and I had flashbacks to trying to calm down a 6ft 3in rugby player who was crying in agony whilst having his done sad. I feel like I'm lying to him by agreeing that he'll be fine but I can't exactly sit there and tell him how awful it is can I!?

StrangeGlue Mon 24-Sep-12 09:10:05

Oh how horribly difficult. Could you say that you've seen these procedures and if he wants you to tell him about what you've seen you will?

My dad and best friend have had these and said they were v painful too :s

Are you certain its pointless though? Seems odd to send someone for this procedure if they definitely don't need it? Is his doctor just very cautious or do you think your DH might have been telling him symptoms to get the referral he wants.

Poor you!

Ragwort Mon 24-Sep-12 09:11:56

I would tell him the truth, that it will be very, very uncomfortable and painful. However why has the doctor recommended one? Perhaps it is a test that needs doing as he surely wouldn't be referred for one otherwise?

My DH also lost his father and two other close relatives to cancer (sadly they were all at exactly the same age) - he then became obsessed that he would die at exactly the same age, although he didn't bother to get tests etc. Fortunately once he passed the age (10 years ago) he gave up stressing about it.

SonnySpain Mon 24-Sep-12 09:14:14

I had a lumber puncture and whilst it wasn't pleasant, it wasn't actually painful as such. It is a weird sensation and a little frightening but not really much worse than a spinal (had 2 of those). The worst thing about it was the low pressure headache that I had afterwards, I was in agony. Get him to stay horizontal for a good while afterwards.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 24-Sep-12 09:19:51

Support him through the procedure. If you weren't a nurse, that's what you'd be doing.

Iamjezabel Mon 24-Sep-12 09:25:11

I had a lumber puncture at 17. It was awful. But he is an adult.
Are you prepared to live with the consequences if something is wrong.
If there isn't, perhaps counselling is worth a thought?

Lueji Mon 24-Sep-12 11:18:25

Your DP is not a baby.

I'd still recommend the approach I have with DS.
Tell him that it may hurt, but don't scare him, and let him decide.

Women know how horrific child birth can be and they still get pregnant. wink

I'm sure he'll do the right thing for him.

gasman Mon 24-Sep-12 18:04:50

I find it concerning that as a nurse you would use such emotional language to describe a procedure that for many patients might be essential. Do you use such language to your patients?

How would you cope if your husband does turn out to have a malignancy down the line and because of your emotional intervention diagnosis was delayed. In addition, the benefits of reassurance from a normal test result may be immense.

I have seen many lumber punctures be done. I'm sure for the patients they aren't all that pleasant but to describe them as horrific is a bit OTT. The decision to proceed with this test belongs to your husband. I think you should be supporting him in whatever decision he makes.

Haemadoots Mon 24-Sep-12 18:17:50

I think you should support your dh through this, as others have said he is an adult and will be well aware of what he is going to go through, if it were me and I have suffered health anxiety in the past I would be just wanting to get the test over with and hopefully have the relief of knowing it had been checked.

HellonHeels Mon 24-Sep-12 19:18:09

I find it really hard to believe that your DH would be referred for an invasive and presumably costly procedure if his doctor and presumably a specialist did not think it was necessary.

You seem very certain that his symptoms relate only to his feelings around the loss of his dad. Isn't your DH's doctor the best person to decide this?

SminkoPinko Mon 24-Sep-12 19:27:52

You may find it hard to believe but it happens all the time, HellonHeels. Health anxiety costs the NHS a fortune. It is very difficult to treat and doctors cannot just ignore the symptoms presented to them, in case they are indeed indicative of the feared illness or of something else. I hope your husband gets some reassurance somehow, MRS.

Lueji Mon 24-Sep-12 20:37:33

How much experience do you actually have of lumbar punctions?

Surely they are not all that bad.

Try not to pass your own anxiety to him.

sookiesookie Mon 24-Sep-12 20:41:52

Lumbar punctures, on the whole, are terrible. They are putting needles into the spine.
And yes lots of tests are done based on anxiety.

WongaDotMom Mon 24-Sep-12 22:55:27

Does he have a tattoo? Having a lumbar puncture is less painful than having a tattoo.

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