Thursday 27th August 1992   Morning surgery 10:50

“Are you suggesting that this pain is due to stress, Dr Lewis?”
“I think it is, Mrs Owen. Stress related symptoms are very common.”
“It can’t be! It’s so severe. I can hardly move my shoulder. My arm is aching all the time. It feels like a dead weight.”
“Psychological symptoms are often worse than those caused by real illness.”
“That doesn’t make sense to me. How can they be worse?”
“I think it does make sense but it is difficult to understand. Apart from your shoulder, what is your biggest worry at the moment, Mrs Owen?”
“Well, it’s Dewi’s job, of course.”
“Has he heard anything?”
“Nothing definite but it does look as if he is going to almost certainly be made redundant. There are about 30 of them losing their jobs.”
“What will you do?”
“I don’t know. He doesn’t think he will be able to get another job. He is 58 years old. There’s nothing here in Portmere.”
“Will he get any redundancy pay?”
“Not really. He’s not worked there for long. I think we’ll have to sell the house.”
“I’m sorry. You have put so much time and effort into it.”
“It’s all we’ve done for the last 5 years, Dr Lewis. It has been our pride and joy. It was going to be our pension. Listen, do you mind if we don’t discuss this. To be truthful, I can’t even bear to think about it.”
“Have you been worrying about it a lot.”
“I haven’t, really. I have managed to put it out of my mind completely. I am hoping something will happen but it seems unlikely.”
“You are in a very difficult position, Barbara.”
“Yes, I am.”
“Do you think it is possible that you could have turned this situation into a painful arm?”
“Why would I do that, Dr Lewis?”
“Well, in some ways, it’s easier. You can take painkillers. You can even get someone else to deal with it: your doctor or the physiotherapist.”
“No, this shoulder is something separate,”
“Have you talked to Dewi about the house?”
“No, he is worse than me. He doesn’t say much at the best of times.”
“Well, I think you both need to sit down and discuss it. Perhaps there are alternatives. Maybe selling the house doesn’t need to be as bad as you think.”

A painful arm.